Local farmers in the rural district of Alieu are transitioning away from subsistence farming, and establishing market-oriented businesses, thanks to an initiative from USAID to revitalise farming communities. In 2010, the Bayu-Undan joint venture partnered with USAID to finance the construction of greenhouses in two communities in the district.

Part of a larger USAID horticultural value chain program, this greenhouse project in the Sarin Special Horticultural Area began in late 2010 as little more than a rural vegetable patch. Through the program, farmers were trained in modern farming techniques, while greenhouses and irrigation systems were built in the communities of Suco Sarin and Suco Liurai. The resulting harvests have delivered increased incomes for farmers, improved standards of living and revitalised the communities.

The Bayu-Undan joint venture has partnered with USAID to expand the reach of its horticulture project. The project aims to support rural social and economic development by working with local farmers and communities. It provides farmers with skills development in the areas of fruit and vegetable production, as well as in sales and marketing to enable them to sell their produce to local buyers.

Previously, much produce in Timor-Leste was imported due to the unreliability of supply and the low quality of goods from the local market. Now, produce is grown year round and a local distributor, Kmanek, proudly showcases local produce sourced from the project.

The project has reached more than 350 farmers and contributed to sustainable community development outcomes. Farmers have improved the quality of their farms and homes, increased their incomes, and now contribute to community activities that benefit the whole village.

In 2012 the Bayu-Undan joint venture renewed its partnership with USAID, expanding the activity to involve a further 150 farmers. With the introduction of this second program, the Bayu-Undan joint venture has now contributed around $850,000 towards building a sustainable agricultural industry in Timor-Leste.

SPIRITNOW - Horticulture project continues to bear fruit for farmers in Timor-Leste

More than 500 farmers in the Alieu district of Timor-Leste are continuing to benefit from a Bayu-Undan Joint Venture supported USAID horticulture project, two years after the official program has ended.