Following UNDP training and support, local farmers in Aileu, Ermera, Ainaro and Manufahi municipalities are now able to apply the Fukuoka system to cultivate open forest land to protect community buildings from natural disasters, as well as adopt the system for farming agricultural crops to promote sustainable land management and enhance crop yield.
Developed in Japan, the Fukuoka system is considered to be a natural farming method that requires no machines or chemicals and very little weeding. Land is generally cultivated using seed balls, will no preparation of soil required and is highly useful for re-vegetation of decertified lands.
As of November 2017 over 203,000 seed balls have been produced across the four municipalities, with a total of 356 beneficiaries participating in training and seed ball production and scattering activities.
“Our community will benefit from this programme in the next 5 or 10 years after the trees have grown,” says Barreto Felix, Chief of Bandudato Village in Aileu Municipality.
“We thank UNDP and Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries for this initiative which will protect our community from landslides and strong wind.”
“Seed balls have great benefits besides direct reforestation such as keeping loose soils together, providing shade, protection against heavy winds, food and medicines,” explains Jonathan Kempeneer, UNDP Consultant.
“These benefits will spread their roots in the existing communities and areas of implementation. With such a quick and easy process, seed balls are time saving and easy to apply to areas which are hard to reach by foot. The surviving seed balls should start benefitting the existing area from 3 years onwards while the existing trees will continue to bear their fruits and spread their seeds.”
Through its Strengthening Community Resilience to Climate-Induced Disasters in the Dili-Ainaro Development Corridor project working in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, UNDP is implementing various sustainable farming methods in vulnerable rural areas within Timor-Leste with the aim of creating active demonstration plots, diverse food forests, living seed banks, and possible local tree distribution stations within existing communities.
In addition, existing fauna and flora is diversified and the knowledge and skills of local farming communities is improved through delivery of training that builds on their existing traditional farming knowledge.