More than two thirds of Timor-Leste’s people live in rural areas and depend on agriculture for a living. Most of these households are engaged in subsistence agriculture, producing and selling very little over what is needed to survive.
Despite being identified as a key growth sector in the country’s Strategic Development Plan, agriculture in Timor-Leste continues to face deep challenges including high production costs, low labour and land productivity and very thin agricultural markets.
Additionally, over the past few years, farming communities have faced a wide range of agricultural shocks including livestock disease, crop pest and disease, erratic and torrential rainfall, as well as disrupted markets due to the COVID-19 pandemic. There is an ongoing need to strengthen service provision to help farmers respond to and recover from these threats, including (but not limited to) interventions in: water management, soil fertility, climate-smart agriculture, and animal health services.
TOMAK (To’os ba Moris Di’ak or Farming for Prosperity) is a 10-year agriculture livelihoods program funded by the Australian Government in Timor-Leste. TOMAK is working closely with government, NGO and private sector partners to improve agricultural livelihoods, food security and dietary diversity in targeted rural areas.
Building on lessons learned from six years of implementation, TOMAK Phase 2 is delivering an integrated suite of activities to help rural families build resilient agriculture-based livelihoods, maintain year-round access to nutritious food, and improve household dietary practices.
For rural development to truly benefit the people of Timor-Leste, it must be sustainable. That’s why TOMAK is working through government, NGO and private sector partners to help farmers grow more and better food, and increase their market engagement.
Working together to improve the systems which support farmers to grow and sell their produce has the potential to enhance livelihoods and bring about long-term change.