Domingo, Abril 21, 2024
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The Director General of Cooperation and Institutional Development, in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), César José da Cruz, said the government has signed an agreement for the extension of cooperation with the Government of Australia to continue the second phase of implementation of the To’os ba Moris Di’ak (TOMAK) program, focussing on increased food production in 55 sukus across the municipalities of Baucau, Bobonaro and Viqueque.

The Director General of Cooperation and Institutional Development, in the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), César José da Cruz, said the government has signed an agreement for the extension of cooperation with the Government of Australia to continue the second phase of implementation of the To’os ba Moris Di’ak (TOMAK) program.

He added the TOMAK program began in 2016, with Phase 1 covering 66 suku in the above-mentioned target municipalities, with promising results including a 60% increase in agricultural production and better incomes for farming communities.

“We are talking about the farmers’ incomes, increased production, and better access to markets. Crops included rice, vegetables, animal products, and other items with higher protein and carbohydrate value,” said DG da Cruz during the signing of the extension agreement for TOMAK, in Comoro, Díli.

He also mentioned training activities for extension workers and farmers’ groups, mentoring and monitoring implementation in the field, training on soil management, savings and loans for farmers to ensure sustainability, and behaviour change education on agricultural practices and better nutrition.

He acknowledged youth involvement in agriculture in Timor-Leste is very low, and that he is searching for initiatives that will encourage youth to get involved in farming the municipalities.

Meanwhile, Bobonaro’s Director of Agricultural Services, Alberto Gomes Lopes, said TOMAK’s Phase 1 implementation only covered 13 of 50 sukus in total, but in Phase 2, and over the next four years, the program will cover all 30 sucos in Lolotoe, Bobonaro, no Maliana.

“They produce high quality shallots that are sold in supermarkets. MAF and TOMAK’s also support access to national and international markets. We work together to deliver results to farmers and they are appreciative,” said Director Lopes.

The Coordinator for Agricultural Development at the Embassy of Australia, Joaquim Soriano Viana, said the Government of Australia made a commitment to invest in the TOMAK program, 50 million Australian dollars over a ten-year period to improve household livelihoods.

“In total the Australian government allocated 50 million Australian dollars over 10 years. Each year, 5 million Australian dollars. We started in 2016 and will now enter Phase 2 [of the program] from 2022 – 2026,” he said.

He added the TOMAK program aims to improve household income generation, ensure food security of farming families, and increase production productivity to respond to national food security needs.