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Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Food Security
Title Household food insecurity in Timor-Leste
Volume 5
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Page numbers 83-94
URL https://www.infona.pl/resource/bwmeta1.element.springer-a20d04d4-76c8-3264-8ed8-50c589e3f3f6
Timor-Leste is among the world’s youngest and
poorest countries. It suffers from seasonal food insecurity
and has the third-highest stunting rate globally. Previously
inadequately documented, this paper summarises recent
advances in understanding household food security in
Timor-Leste and the multifaceted approaches being used to
overcome it. Information comes from the extensive annual
surveys of the Seeds of Life (SoL) program in Timor-Leste.
The hungry season prior to maize and rice harvests is the key
issue in household food security in Timor-Leste. Farm households
cope with the problem through crop diversification with
tubers playing a lead role as grain stocks dwindle. Foraging
for wild food resources, selling animals and other assets, and
social networks are other coping strategies. To address seasonal
food insecurity, the government has focused on rice
importation and the improvement of agricultural productivity
within a multi-dimensional program. Information on storage
by households of the key staple, maize, indicates an improving
trend in food security at the household level from 2006/
2007 to 2010/2011 through a significant reduction in the
percentage of ‘at risk’ households—those who grow insufficient
maize for storage during the year. The current emphasis
on the widespread dissemination of the new high-yielding
SoL cultivars has the potential to augment these improving
trends. Nevertheless this picture remains vulnerable to weather
shocks—such as drought—which are anticipated to increase
with climate change and it is important to build
further resilience into the agricultural systems of Timor-Leste.

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