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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Food Security
Title Improving food security through agricultural research and development in Timor-Leste: a country emerging from conflict
Volume 1
Issue 4
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
Page numbers 403-412
URL https://www.researchgate.net/profile/W_Erskine/publication/225333085_Improving_food_security_through​_agricultural_research_and_development_in_Timor-Leste_a_country_emerging_from_conflict/links/00b7d52​afb70928888000000.pdf
Timor-Leste is a small, poor and predominantlyagricultural
nation of less than 1 million people. Most families
suffer from chronic food insecurity practising food rationing
1–6 months of the year. The small size of Timor-Leste, its
recent birth as a nation and conflict history, together with little
previous research on staple crops make it a unique crucible to
test the effect of a major post-conflict initiative of agriculture
research on national food security. Research started in 2000
with the introduction of germplasm of staple crops (maize,
peanut, rice, cassava and sweet potato). Replicated trials
confirmed by extensive evaluation in farmer-managed trials
revealed significant yield advantages over the local cultivar in
maize of 53%, in peanut of 31%, in rice of 23% and in sweet
potato of 80%, accompanied by improvements in size and
eating quality. Cultivars of maize (2), peanut (1), rice (1) and
sweet potato (3) were released in 2007. One year later an early
adoption study of 544 farmers involved in on-farm trials
showed that 73% had re-grown new cultivars. Cultivar
adoption not only increased household food security but often
produced surpluses for sale in the market—sometimes for the
first time. The project is planning to increase seed production
and dissemination to move from a highly positive pilot-scale
impact in six Districts to impact food security nationally.

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