Project Everest


[Problem]: FarmEd Timor-Leste

Lean Problem: Problem

Aim: The aim of this post is to identify problems faced by smallholder farmers in Timor-Leste who are unable to adequately identify pests and diseases leading to 

The focus is on the prevention, identification, and treatment of pests and diseases within the agricultural system in Timor-Leste. Agricultural knowledge in Timor-Leste is passed down from generation to generation within the family or community. This limits developments in agricultural knowledge resulting in inefficient farming practices and an unreliable food system. Food security in Timor-Leste is a major problem as the majority of Timorese people depend on Timorese-produced food. Improved access to educational resources in the field of agriculture will allow greater use of advanced equipment and pest/disease treatment and a greater harnessing of seasonal variations. Food in Timor sometimes lacks nutrition due to the premature harvest of crops, excessive use of pesticides and lack of pest and disease management. This problem could be addressed with an increase of education in the agricultural field. Lastly, farming in Timor is often done independently by farmers with inconsistent and limited communication between farmers and distributors. Farmers both at a subsistence and commercial level are directly affected by these problems, these have knock-on effects impacting on businesses and the wider community of Timor-Leste. 

Big picture:

The UNSDGs that FarmEd focuses on achieving are: 

1. No poverty: end poverty in all forms everywhere

2. Zero hunger: create secure and sustainable food sources while increasing nutrition

The research conducted by FarmEd has primarily provided evidence of a lack of education in the agricultural sector.

In developing countries, businesses and the wider community rely on smallholder farmers for the majority of their fresh produce. There is limited access to agricultural information, which impacts farmer’s livelihood, the nutrition of their produce and the amount of produce sold through businesses to the wider community.

In Timor-Leste farming knowledge regarding pests and diseases is currently in this state:

Subsistence farmers experience stress and hopelessness when pests and diseases damage their crops as the quantity and quality of their crops are affected resulting in an impact to their income and ability to supply the wider community with food.

Farmers in Timor-Leste commonly experience pest and disease problems that result in the decreased quality and quantity of their crops. There is a lack of knowledge on how to treat and prevent this from occurring because agricultural education is generally passed down from generation to generation through families or neighbouring farmers. This reduction in yield and yield quality impacts their source of income and consequently their emotional well being. 

The target customers are located within and close to Dili, where the majority of the agricultural sector consists of smallholder farmers due to the limited resources of funding and land. 

Smallholder farmers rely on the quality and quantity of their produce to obtain a sufficient income. When their crops are affected by pests and diseases farmers feel stressed, sad and/or hopeless that their resources have been wasted. When farmers do not have an effective solution for treating pests and diseases affecting their crops, the quality of the produce is decreased and thus, the nutritional and economic value is diminished. Businesses and the wider community rely on the crops grown by local farmers as their main source of fresh produce. 

The lack of education in the agricultural sector results in inconsistent food security and poverty where pests and diseases are the major areas that lack educational resources for farmers. 86 farmers were surveyed in Dili and surrounding areas of which 71.43% of farmers currently use pesticides and 2.60% use herbicides. However, 59.62% of these farmers found the pesticide to be ineffective and 25.97% did not currently use any pest treatments. This shows that there is a lack of effective agricultural knowledge regarding the prevention and treatment of pests.

Next Moves

Additional problems that Timorese farmers experience:

  • Lack of minerals and quality of the soil that can be mistaken for disease. 

  • Lack of agricultural techniques and seasonal dependence are additional problems that can be covered in future surveys.

  • Financial stability: the advice provided to the farmers may not be able to be implemented if they cannot afford it at the time. Due to the recurrence of pest and disease problems, farmers are unable to achieve a sustainable income.



edited on 22nd July 2019, 07:07 by Jacqueline Horton

Lucy Preiss 10 months ago

Status label added: Problem

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