Same Old Vegetables. Great New Ways to Grow Them.
Farmers in this new program want to learn all they can to improve the quality of their farm produce for their children’s health, and bring in additional household income.
While they’ve always grown maize, tubers and leafy vegetables along with their rice, most harvest only once a year due to lack of water for irrigation, and half the population suffers from severe food insecurity. In general, households only give plain rice porridge to their children, so anything that augments the quantity, nutritional diversity and quality of what they grow will go far toward resolving this central issue for the families.
An agricultural extension officer from the Liquica Agriculture Service conducted initial training in each of the three participating villages. They covered such topics as seed selection, how and why to make and use organic fertilizer, incorporating home vegetable gardening in the families’ production plans, and ways to access the market. The participants were tested both before and after as to their knowledge of vegetable production. All were familiar with the basics beforehand, and all showed they understood and were eager to try the concepts covered afterward.
Though the farmers had grown many of the vegetables discussed – spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage, celery, tomato, chili, and eggplant, to name a few – the purpose of the training was to demonstrate how to improve yields and increase sale value. As Mr. Jose said, “We’ve never used any of these techniques before. We’ve only planted, harvested and sold vegetables ‘as they are,’ as we’ve always done. This instruction helps us to think ahead so that what we grow can produce more benefits.”
Mr. Rosalino added, “I feel very lucky to be able to take part in this training. It helps increase the community’s knowledge, and is a great way to support people in need.”
In all three sessions, those present were excited to participate and ask questions based on their daily farm challenges. The program provided seeds as a follow-up to the instruction, and everyone will receive technical assistance throughout the planting, growing, and harvesting seasons.
Timor-Leste Liquica Program
Led by Church World Service