Timor-Leste: Spanish Government expands support for FAO Baucau project

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Dili, 18 December 2009- The successful UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Food Security and Livelihoods Project in the District of Baucau in Timor-Leste received fresh additional funding worth 600.000 EUR from the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) in November 2009. This will allow FAO to expand support to food security in Baucau until 2011.

The aim of this project is to increase the variety, quality and quantity of food produced by the communities living around the Seiçal River basin in Baucau District. The Project builds on the farmers' capacity with the aim of promoting progressive transition from subsistence farming to a more market-oriented approach to production.

The project focuses on integrating production of staple crops (cereals and tubers), legumes and vegetables and small livestock, by supplying farming inputs (seeds, tools and animals) along with training and new adapted technologies. At present over 2,000 families from 15 Sucos (villages) are benefiting in this Project.

Timorese women have a fundamental role in agriculture, such as house gardens and small livestock activities. Improvement in vegetable production provides food diversification for households and creates surpluses which can then be sold at local markets. Phase II of the Project will continue and expand ongoing food security, livelihoods and human nutrition activities, with a special emphasis on children and women, the most vulnerable groups in the community. The project will promote best practice such as using animal manure for fertilizer as well as using farm by-products as an alternative source of animal feed.

School gardens will be established in each of the communities with the aim of improving nutrition for the students during school time by promoting the consumption of vegetables in the daily diet and to teach children how to produce vegetables at home. These activities will be implemented in synergy with the recently approved joint UN Food Security and Nutrition Programme funded by the Spain-sponsored Millennium Development Goals (MDG) Achievement Fund.

Mr Fabrizio Cesaretti, Emergency and Rehabilitation Coordinator in Timor-Leste and Mr Francisco de Asís López Sanz, Director of the Spanish Cooperation in Timor Leste said today "Thanks to these additional contributions, and AECID's strong commitment with FAO, Spain has become the main donor of FAO activities in Timor Leste. Consequently this joint programme is now able to expand and strengthen the programme of assistance to Timorese farming and fishing communities."

For further information, contact:

Fabrizio Cesaretti - Emergency and Rehabilitation Coordinator - Emergency and Rehabilitation Unit - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, FAO Office Number: +670 331 2960 Mobile: +670 737 6389; E-mail: