Planting has started as part of the TOMAK program in Timor-Leste. Following the rice harvest, farmers in Bobonaro municipality have begun planting mung beans in demonstration plots supported by TOMAK. Demonstration plots allow farmers to learn how best to plant and harvest specific crops, and also serve as a testing ground for new technologies and crop varieties.
TOMAK demonstration plots are established on farmers’ own land, and bring producers together with international experts, TOMAK field staff, and locally based extension officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries. In between demonstrations, farmers receive weekly visits from agricultural extension officers, and Farmer Field Days are held at key points in the cropping season to allow nearby farmers to learn from each other and resolve common issues.
In Bobonaro, the end of the rice harvest is the time to plant mung beans, as they can be grown and harvested in the same fields, using only residual water. Mung beans are a nutritious food commonly eaten in Timor-Leste, but production is generally low and farmers can experience large post-harvest losses from pests and inadequate storage.
Now with support from TOMAK, farmers in Bobonaro and Viqueque will endeavour to increase their production of mung beans, and explore opportunities to participate in domestic and international markets. Women farmers are active in the production, trade and consumption of mung beans in Timor-Leste, which means these legumes have the added potential to increase women’s economic participation and empowerment.
TOMAK (To’os ba Moris Di’ak, or Farming for Prosperity) is an agricultural livelihoods program supported by the Australian Government in Timor-Leste.