Timor-Leste

Food Security Bulletin - Edition no. 26: January - March 2022

Attachments

Highlights

  • Rice production estimates done by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, point to an 18 percent increase compared to 2021 season and a further 66 percent more than the five-year average. Now estimated at 85, 465 metric tonnes:
    However, only accounts for 55 percent of the annual national rice requirement.

  • Rice imports hit 60,000 metric tonnes in the first quarter of 2022, nearly three times more than the previous period.

  • Rice prices remain elevated, however, local rice prices likely to ease on the prospect of incoming fresh harvests on the local market in the second quarter.

  • Policy-wise, Government has proposed to launch a further relief package, Cesta Basica programme ‘Food basket and essential non-food items’ to targeted population with a broad aim to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19 pandemic.

Background and Context

As COVID-19 continues to present unprecedented challenges to health, food systems and the general economy, the Government of Timor-Leste has proposed to launch a further relief package, Cesta Básica 2.0 (food basket) worth US$80mn, with the broad aim to mitigate the immediate impacts of the pandemic. Specifically, Cesta Básica 2.0 aims to support vulnerable households to meet food and other basic needs and stimulate the local economy through supporting the activities of producers and other economic operators as part of the economic recovery plan.

The Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs (MCAE) will be the overall lead for the programme which will be implemented by the Ministry of Tourism, Commerce, and Industry (MTCI) as well as Secretary of State for Cooperatives (SECoop).

Based on the decree law, the program has set a maximum value of US$ 50 for each member of the beneficiary households to be delivered through in-kind transfers. Unlike its precursor which was universal, Cesta Básica 2.0 will target households whose head earn a monthly income of less than US$ 500.

Looking ahead, based on the agricultural seasonal calendar, the second quarter is mainly for rice and maize harvesting. Hence, relatively staple nominal rice price trends are expected as incoming fresh produce will increase availability on the local market, and farming households will start to consume from own production.