Fourth Rural Development Project - Project Purpose I: Strengthening Agricultural Extension

Fourth Rural Development Project - Project Purpose I: Strengthening Agricultural Extension

Maize Good Agricultural Practices

The implementation of Maize demonstration plots with the support of the extension services has proven to the farmers the benefits of applying Good Agriculture Practices (GAP). When compared with traditional techniques, an average increase of 64% was reported when using the GAP

Yusufo Pereira de Menezes, the Camões I.P.\RDPIV Program Manager, Agriculture Engineer with several years of experience working in Timor-Leste and other developing countries

CONTEXT

More than 70% of the population of Timor-Leste live in rural areas, but the contribution of the agricultural sector to non-oil GDP remains around 30%, showing a low level of productivity. Food insecurity and malnutrition is still wide-spread, with 72% of the rural population suffering at least one month of low food consumption. Development of the agricultural sector is important to the overall development of the country given that the majority of the population derive their livelihoods directly or indirectly from agricultural activities.

OBJECTIVES

  • By the end of 2015 RDPIV is expected to achieve the following indicators\objectives:
  • 100 000 farmers gaining access to agricultural extension information
  • 45 000 farmers having adopted at least one improved technology/ technique, with corresponding increases in yields
  • The proportion of the rural population suffering at least one month of low food consumption is significantly reduced from 79% (2007) to less than 65%
  • Diversification of crops has been promoted by training of Agricultural Extensionists (AE) and farmers on six commodities and organizing six extension campaigns and training manuals all of which include sustainable farming system approaches
  • One third of graduates from agricultural schools find employment within the agricultural sector

RESULTS

  • The maize campaign extension packages based on agreed conditions (information, training, media, and agriculture inputs) and defined standards for contents, methodologies, etc has been delivered
  • 6 083 farmers on maize GAP trainings and all farmers implementing the activities have received inputs according to the extension packages
  • A Beneficiary Impact Assessment was carried in 2014 and an adoption rate of 53% was verified for maize GAP’s among farmer groups involved in the RDPIV campaigns
  • A mean increase of 64% in productivity was verified using GAP when compared with traditional practices

FACTS AND FIGURES

  • The Project was implemented in 12 Municipalities in Timor-Leste (except the Urban Centre - Díli)
  • Beneficiaries: Around 21 000 farmers (2196 farmer groups with 10 farmers on average) have been assisted in the implementation of GAP Demonstrations
  • A total attendance of over 47,000 farmers was reported in RDPIV GAP trainings until December 2015

TESTIMONY

Filomeno Madeira, 50, with a family of 10, is the Ai-Hatatu maize farmers Group leader

"Now I produce more maize, which I use for my family’s meals and to sell in the market. I can buy animals, clothing, shoes and books for my children and still keep seed for next year. " Filomeno Madeira

The Agricultural Extensionist Maria Marques provides technical support to farmers in this area, and working closely with the community she managed to get the farmers’ group to implement the improved techniques.

These techniques have enabled the farmer group to obtain higher yields and financial returns, as part of the maize is used to feed the family and the surplus is sold in the local market.