While Timor Leste has so far avoided a major health crisis from Covid-19, the socio-economic impacts of the response to manage the virus have begun to bite for many of the country’s most vulnerable communities. To mitigate potential food insecurity for tens of thousands, as well as decreased income for the country’s largely agricultural population, the UNDP and Asia Development Bank have joined in support of the Government of Timor Leste’s (GoTL) initiative to distribute food baskets. A US$1 million donation from the ADB and US$105,000 from the UNDP, will allow the government to reach 25,000 people in the most vulnerable areas of Dili, Baucau, Bobonaro, Covalima and Oecusse, with food baskets that support their health and immune systems with a balanced and locally sourced diet. At a signing ceremony to launch the project at the Ministry of Finance on today, Minister of Finance H.E. Mr. Fernando Hanjam, Asian Development Bank Country Director Mr. Sunil Mitra, United Nations Resident Coordinator Roy Trivedy, and UNDP Resident Representative Ms. Munkhtuya Altangerel jointly praised the initiative and the circular economy model it promotes. Ms. Munkhtuya Altangerel, UNDP Resident Representative in Timor-Leste said “this project is timely and contributes to our ongoing work in supporting sustainable livelihoods through horticulture, aquaculture, handicrafts, waste management, community-based tourism, fisheries, livestock, sustainable agribusiness, and natural resource management.” The food will be purchased from local farmers and suppliers, and distributed in nutritionally balanced food baskets. The operations are being conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Minister of Finance H.E. Mr. Fernando Hanjam said “The Government of Timor-Leste greatly appreciates this initiative, following excellent collaboration between ADB, UNDP and the Ministry of Finance, the Timor-Leste Government hopes that this short-term assistance will be a success in helping vulnerable communities." The project was put together in a short timeframe as a part of the GoTL’s emergency response to Covid-19 and was made possible by high quality data collection and analysis by the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries that identified the areas most vulnerable to food insecurity in Timor Leste.
United Nations Development Programme Timor-Leste Contact: Yuichi Ishida, Communications Analyst, UNDP Timor-Leste, +670 77273166 or email@example.com