In Timor Leste, Community Dialogue Strengthens Partnership
In FRB’s Timor Leste-Viqueque program, community leaders ensure buy-in by encouraging participants to try new techniques and seed varieties, give feedback, and express their views. Among the program’s focuses are making high-yielding corn seed available, teaching appropriate farming technologies, and coming up with effective grain storage to stop post-harvest losses to rats, insects and mold. For example, rather than hanging cobs from trees in the traditional manner, farmers are encouraged to store their grain and seed in airtight containers of various sizes such as plastic, jug-like “jerry cans,” zip-closed polyethylene “Grain Pro bags,” new or recycled drums, or in silos for water-, pest-, and fungal resistance. No one solution has been perfect: rats have been known to gnaw through the plastic, and they haven’t been able to get the recycled oil drums clean enough even through several washings. But the collective ingenuity of the community is finding solutions to these challenges.