Access to technology in Timor-Leste is limited which makes yielding productivity to be difficult. Timor-Leste, also known as East Timor is a young country, recently gaining their independence in 2002. Coming after gaining their independence, Timor-Leste was hit with a crisis to which left the country with the poverty line hitting almost fifty-one percent(reference). Although having agriculture as one of the biggest sources of income for Timor-Leste, farming productivity remains low with the reasons of being drought sensitive as well as not having the proper facility to store seeds after harvest season. Climate and not having proper storage place, the yield harvested either end up decomposing or infested therefore not providing help for Timor-Leste. The implementation of community-led seed banks will change their agricultural problems.
1.2 Impacts of Technology on current situation:
As stated from above, having access to agricultural technologies would likely increase the yielding productivity as well as alleviate the food security of Timor-Leste. New technologies could provide better hybrid of crops as well as introducing new crops. Not only does having access to better agricultural technologies be beneficial for yielding purposes but also for animal husbandry.
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Although having access to technology for agriculture has advantages, it comes with its own disadvantages. One being the adoption of technologies would require farmers to go through with education and information. Gaining their independence in 2002, Timor-Leste suffered for decades therefore causing more than a third of the adult population to miss out on basic education resulting in being illiterate (The World Bank, 2018). In addition to education being a factor of influencing the adoption of new technologies, access to capital markets as well as labour plays a part. With the above reasonings, developing countries’ willingness to adopt to technologies lessens as there are more risks presented. Nonetheless, with or without technologies, the Seeds of Life program were still able to increase the yielding percentage as well as introduce new varieties of crops with the help of MAF-SoL and Aciar.
“Nakroma is good seed. The yield is high and it’s not crushed or broken when milled. I will continue to plant it.”- Jose Ximenes
2.0 Stakeholder- Seeds of Life
Seeds of Life is one of the many stakeholders involved in sustaining the seed banks in Timor-Leste. As a non-governmental organisation, Sol started as a program which is funded by both Australian Aid, Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research along with Timor-Leste’s government with the main focus on the improvements of the primary crops’ – maize, sweet potato, cassava, rice and peanuts – distribution (Australian National University , 2017). As one of SoL’s goals is “to improve the yields of key staple food crops”, Seeds of Life will have reasons to show interests towards this project as it aims to “increase farming productivity and diversify available crops”(Engineers Without Borders Australia , 2019). Seeds of Life Timor-Leste benefited over sixty thousand farming families with the three projects they introduced with research done overseas while trials were done in Timor-Leste from the year 2000 to 2016. With SoL’s interest in increasing the yielding of Timor-Leste, Seeds of Life will have a common interest with the design project by Holarua community members, the LBF staff and volunteers. According to Shrestha, Vernooy, & Chaudhary 2013, NGO’s played a big role in implementing community seed banks in Nepal. It was shown in their report which countries NGO’s were able to help with the implementation of the seed banks. The report states that with the help of non-governement organizations, community seed banks have helped in many ways such as with maintainance, restoration and the increasement of genetic diversity.
(UWA Science Global, 2014)
3.0 Influencing Factor- Technology
One of the influencing factors for this project is the access to agricultural technologies in Timor-Leste. According to Jensen, et al. 2014, improvement for food production and poverty mitigation through economic growth and higher yielding are a few things which new technologies can offer. Agricultural technologies could provide a better and higher yielding productivity percentage by controlling the growth of the crops therefore, reducing risks as well as spreading the harvests throughout the year instead of being seasonal. In addition, Sjöholm & Lundahl 2013 also states that low production in agriculture caused poverty in the farming population as agricultural productivity in Timor-Leste is lower than their neighbouring country in 2010, only producing 1.4 tons per hectare of rice and 1.3 tons per hectare of maize. However, with new technologies for agriculture, better and higher quality crops can be produced by controlling the external forces which affects the yielding as staple crops of Timor-Leste are drought sensitive with drought occurring around every fourth year.
In particular, the adoption of technologies to increase food production is a key priority in many developing countries because such technologies, in addition, can alleviate the effects of population growth, climate change, and environmental degradation (Thornton 2012; Ivanic and Martin 2010; Cromwell et al. 1992).”
With the lack of accessible technologies in Timor-Leste, more so in Honaloura, implementation of community seed banks will be difficult. According to a report from an event in 2017, there are different technical aspects in the community seed banks – one being the methods of storing seeds which ranges from traditional to modern technologies. The technical aspects of the seed banks also include the involvement in crop management as well as plant breeding. Thus, technologies in seed banks is required in order to make maintaining an eye on the capacity development. Technologies would provide ease for the community as it developing seed banks with self-financing will reduce the dependence of the community seed banks on external funding sources.
- Australian National University . (2017, 07 7). Seeds Of Life in Timor Leste . Retrieved from School of Culture, History & Language : http://chl.anu.edu.au/research/research-projects/details/326/seeds-life-timor-leste
- Engineers Without Borders Australia . (2019). Climate Resilience. Retrieved from WaterAid Timor-Leste: https://ewbchallenge.org/5-climate-resilience
- Jensen , L. P., Picozzi, K., da Costa Moneiro de Almeida, O., da Costa, M. d., Spyckerelle, L., & Erskine, W. (2014, June). Social relationships impact adoption of agricultural technologies: The Case of Food Crop Varieties in Timor-Leste. Food Security, 6(3), 397-409.
- Shrestha, P., Vernooy, R., & Chaudhary, P. (2013). Community Seed Banks In Nepal. Pokhara: Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD).
- Sjöholm, F., & Lundahl, M. (2013). Improving the Lot of the Farmer: Development Challenges in Timor-Leste during the Second Decade of Independence. Asian Economic Papers, 12(2), 71-96. doi:10.1162/asep_a_00211
- The World Bank. (2018). A Second Chance at Education in Timor-Leste. Retrieved from The World Bank : https://www.worldbank.org/en/results/2018/08/23/a-second-chance-at-education-in-timor-leste
- UWA Science Global. (2014). Seeds of LIfe, Timor Leste. Retrieved from UWA Science Global : http://scienceglobal.uwa.edu.au/projects/seeds-life-timor-leste/