ADRA Timor Leste supports farmers by establishing links to buyers
ADRA Timor Leste is supporting farmers in the southeast municipality of Viqueque in Timor Leste to access the market for their products such as ginger, coconut, candlenut, and elephant foot yam. ADRA has been supporting farmers to increase the quantity and quality of production through the Farmers to Market (FarMar) project, in cooperation with the government of New Zealand. In addition, ADRA has provided training modules on finance and business as a foundation for the commercialization of farming activities. After three years of supporting farmers, ADRA established twelve cooperatives. Ongoing mentoring support provided by the FarMar project is also assured by ADRA. The mentoring support includes the training of Local Market Facilitators (LMF) of each cooperative to make them adept at establishing links with buyers.
Training sessions from the Secretary of State of Cooperatives with assistance from ADRA empower these groups to do collective marketing. One of the main barriers to agricultural development in the region has been the lack of access to markets. The cooperatives are expected to assist farmers in attracting buyers by ensuring an adequate supply of good quality produce. ADRA will continue to mentor these cooperatives over the coming five years. Presently two of the cooperatives have already signed a supply contract with two buyers for ginger and coconuts.
Value Chain and Marketing Manager for ADRA, Agostinho Belo, said that these contracts demonstrate the increasing trust of buyers in cooperatives. Farmers hope that the increased sales will help, among other things, provide a good education for their children. “ADRA has helped us to get contracts with buyers in Baucau and Dili. Now we are accessing the market more freely” said Antonio (a FarMar project farmer).
FarMar project is supported by the government of New Zealand (MFAT New Zealand) in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries of Timor Leste. FarMar project will run until 2026 and will work with 1,500 farming families in 15 villages in the municipality of Viqueque. So far, farmers have sold over 20 tonnes of ginger, 7 tonnes of candlenut, and 19 tonnes of coconut. Future activities to support the cooperatives will include the purchase and installation of simple processing machines to elevate the value of their products.
The project aims “to spur economic growth in Viqueque and to improve family well-being through agrarian enterprises, and to improve food security in Timor-Leste.” The project links the farmers to markets, mentors them to increase production, guides them in processing products, and helps in accumulating deeper financial reserves. Women farmers are being encouraged in all groups, with 45% of field school participants being women, and over 59% of savings and loan groups being that of women. Even women with disabilities are included, some are even leaders of their groups. The project promotes organic farming. The project is also addressing climate change issues, especially the changing weather patterns that affect crop production. It distributed tree seedlings and disseminated sustainable agricultural techniques in the production of candlenut, coconut, ginger, and elephant foot yam.
To know more about FarMar and other ADRA Timor Leste projects and on how to collaborate, please email the ADRA Office firstname.lastname@example.org.
Virginia Pyrcroft, ADRA Timor Leste Country Director
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