Innovative approaches to food insecurity in Timor-Leste

Innovative approaches to food insecurity in Timor-Leste

Improving Food Security through Diversification of Crops at Household Level Timor-Leste

By combining the production of suitable food crops with the planting of cocoa, family labor can be used more efficiently. Once the cocoa plants are bearing fruits, farmers are able to sell their cocoa beans as well to obtain cash for their livelihood. By using the local crop varieties such as banana and yams for intercropping with cocoa, it can contribute to maintain the existing biodiversity.

Mrs. Cipriana Soares, GIZ, National Project Coordinator


The Zero Hunger Campaign of the Timor-Leste Government addresses Food Security through a number of approaches. By improving labour productivity in the agriculture sector and utilizing land available for cash crop production, farmers are supported to shift from subsistence farming to a cash economy without sacrificing their traditional crops nor food security


  • Stakeholder and target group in the region confirm that food security, nutrition and income from agricultural activities are enhanced.
  • Old and new food security challenges are addressed through innovative, locally owned and sustainable solution which can be scaled up and mainstreamed.


  • The national extension service and a local NGO provide the technical support to farmers.
  • 500 small holder farmers apply good agriculture practices as proposed by the cocoa project.
  • 7 village nurseries produced up to now 120.000 cocoa seedlings.


  • 750 households in rural areas (Districts of Viqueque, Manatutu and nearby areas relevant for cocoa production) with more than 150ha of cocoa planted


By intercropping of cocoa, food crops and vegetable, farmers can sustain their income and improve food security

We planted cocoa last year and are not yet able to get a harvest from the cocoa. But because we integrated the plants into our farming pattern, we are able to harvest our maize as well as vegetable for the local market. We do not spent extra time for looking after the cocoa to grow. In two years we will be able to have an extra cash income from the cocoa as well in order to pay for the need of our family. "Maria and Isabel" from Luka, Viqueque