Baucau, August 6, 2020

Food baskets have begun arriving to vulnerable households in Baucau Municipality. The food baskets – sourced directly from local farmers and via the government-supported Loja dos Agricultores syndicate – will also support incomes for farmers across Timor Leste. Following circular economy principles, the project aims to multiply its economic stimulus impact by sourcing all necessary components domestically.

Funding for the project is comprised of US$1 million from the Government of Japan under the Asia Pacific Disaster Response Fund of the Asian Development Bank, and US$105,000 from the UNDP. This will help the government reach 25,000 people in the most vulnerable areas of Dili, Baucau, Bobonaro, Covalima and Oecusse. The initiative also represents closer cooperation and new relationships between the UNDP, ADB and Government of Timor Leste.  

Around 500 people in 100 households in 11 Sucos in Baucau Municipality will receive the first round of food baskets this week.

Each basket contains 15kg of rice, 5kg of ground maize, 5kg of assorted legumes, four types of long-shelf-life vegetables, fruits and salt. The rice, maize and beans are being sourced from the Loja dos Agricultores – which manages more than 100 local farmers – while the fruits and vegetables are being sourced directly from local farmers.

The baskets containing many of the goods have been sourced from local weavers using 100% sustainable plant materials.

The recipients were identified in coordination with the President of Baucau Municipality and include people suffering from chronic food insecurity, people without permanent housing, the elderly, single parents, orphans, people with disabilities and survivors of gender-based violence. Distribution in other municipalities will commence later in August 2020 with a target of 5000 individuals per municipality.  

At the distribution ceremony at Baucau Municipal headquarters Ms. Munkhtuya Altangerel, UNDP Resident Representative in Timor-Leste said “as well as responding to Covid-19, this initiative represents our broader commitment to support the Government’s in developing the agro-business sector in Timor-Leste.”

“The project will help prevent childhood stunting, ensure food and nutrition security for Timor-Leste’s most vulnerable households, and boost their immune systems. It will also provide an economic boost to local producers and agriculture micro and small-sized enterprises to recover from the impact of COVID-19,” said Asian Development Bank Senior Project Officer Jose Perreira. 

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