Improving livelihoods

Photo: Anna Mosley

Timor-Leste remains one of the poorest nations in the South-East Asia region. Approximately half of the population, mostly rural households which are dependent on subsistence agriculture, live under the national poverty line.

The nation is growing in population and production levels for staple foods, such as cassava, rice and maize, are grossly insufficient to feed everybody. Many farmers are growing marketable products, like coffee and mung beans, but face hurdles trying to access viable markets. A lack of knowledge and expertise, poor roads and unpredictable rains due to climate change are holding farmers back from augmenting their income.

Oxfam and partners are supporting a project - IMPACT - which works to improve rural farmers’ access to domestic and export markets, establish and increase their production of marketable crops, and provide wrap-around services and support to ensure farmers get the best return.

Your support will:

  • Provide farmers with expert advice on what to grow, where to sell and how to maximise yields.
  • Help farmers establish 'relay cropping' of mung and red beans to fully utilise their land.
  • Ensure the right processing and storage of products so sellers can get the most for their money.
  • Increase the life-span and nutritional value of their products.
  • Connect farmers with farming and marketing co-operatives to share ideas and knowledge.
  • Place women on business management courses and in management positions, so they have a say in the direction of farming co-operatives.
  • Improve farmers' understanding of finance.
  • Create neighbourhood savings and loan groups, so that people - especialy women - have a place to put their money and withdraw it when they need it.

The IMPACT project also helps improve nutrition by:

  • Providing agricultural techniques that can be used to grow crops in a less stable climate - irregular and uncertain rainfall is a major challenge in Timor-Leste.
  • Providing basic food storage technology - post-harvest losses are high in Timor-Leste and affect both the quantity and the quality of food available to farming families. Simple techniques such as airtight containers can be used to ensure beans and other foods are safe from rodents and insects, and to maintain higher nutritional value.
  • Increasing the diversity of crops, and therefore the diversity of nutrients consumed.
  • Lifting incomes through marketing of agricultural products, so that families are able to purchase more/a greater variety of food.

Our local partners:

Fini Ensperansa (Seeds of Hope)

Oxfam began partnering with Fini Esperansa in 2012. Their vision is to increase the quality and quantity of agricultural production to improve livelihood security for families in Covalima.

Centro Communidade Covalima (CCC)

CCC is a relatively new partner of Oxfam’s, beginning in 2015. Their vision is for all people within communities in Covalima to access opportunities to develop their capacity to contribute to social and economic development.

Kdadalek Sulimutuk Institute (KSI)

Oxfam has been partnering with KSI since 2012. Their vision is for a society that is just, where all people are treated equally, there is solidarity and people have sustainable economic resources.

Youth in Action Towards Sustainability (Y-ACTS)

Oxfam began partnering with Y-ACTS in 2009. Their vision is for supportive, productive and sustainable livelihoods for communities. They work in Oecusse.

Binibi Faef Nome (BIFANO)

Oxfam began partnering with BIFANO in 2010. Their vision is for communities and young people in Oecusse to have sustainable development that responds to their needs and priorities, and that communities have capacity to support their agriculture activities and to establish cooperatives.

Permakultura Timor-Lorosa’e (PERMATIL)

Oxfam has been partnering with PERMATIL since 2011. Their vision is that communities understand and use sustainable agriculture systems that respect culture, and to improve community management of local resources, allowing communities to solve their own problems. They work in both Covalima and Oecusse.

Cooperativa Comercio Agricola De Timor (C-CAT)

C-CAT is an umbrella cooperative focusing on marketing coffee and other agricultural products. It works with coffee groups in Ermera, Ainaro and Dili, and is working toward Fair Trade certification. C-CAT provides a valuable link for farmer groups and cooperatives to market to traders who want to buy high volumes.