UNDP in collaboration with the Regional Secretary for Agriculture organized a Farmers Field Day on 9th of June 2021 in Toip-Ana, to celebrate the harvesting of rice grown using the Jajar Legowo 2:1 System (JLS).
The event was honoured with the participation of H.E. the President of Authority of RAEOA, Mr. Arsenio Paixão Bano, the Regional Secretary for Agriculture, Mr. Jose Eta, the Regional Secretary for Industry and Commerce, Mr. Pedro da Cunha, the Regional Secretary for Education and Social Solidarity, Ms Abelina da Costa, the Regional Secretary for Finance, Ms. Elisa Maniquin, the Regional Secretary for Land and Properties, Ms. Antonio da Costa, the Commanders of PNTL, FFDTL, Chief of Suco, the UNDP SAR and ZEESM Program Manager, Patricia Porras, local NGOs and around 150 farmers.
In her opening remarks Ms. Porras welcomed H.E the President of Authority and his cabinet and explained about the expansion of the JLS system. “It started with 2 farmers in 2018 with 0.26 ha, and has since expanded through 6 seasons, now reaching 245 farmers with 85.75 ha during the current season,” she explained. “The System has been accepted by the farmers as it gives higher yields compared to the conventional farming, averaging 6 tons/ha compared to 3-4 tons/ha by usual methods.” She further stated that in the initial stages of the programme the farmers were supported by being issued fertilizer, something that the government authorities will be taking over through private companies in the future. “There is also the necessity for establishing a system for seed distribution of Membramo rice to maintain the quality of rice and to keep up the yield, as well as establishing a cooperative society for the farmers. This would service the farmers in marketing and input supply and is also a necessity for the sustainability and strengthening the value chain,” she concluded.
The Secretary of Agriculture Mr. Jose Eta while addressing the farmers expressed that at present only 10 % of the farmers have adopted the JLS system and he would like to see most of the farmers adopting this system to support the food security of the region.
For his part, the President of Authority was highly impressed with the demonstration of the results of the JLS system and initiated the harvesting of the rice fields with his Secretaries and Commanders. He insisted that the farmers should contribute to the food security of the enclave and should play a major role in self-sustaining, as well as exporting to the mainland without depending on imports from other countries. “In the future more attention will be given by the government on developing water resources and access roads for the benefits of the farmers. With the coordination of the legal office, a special regulation will be created to regularise the JLS system as a priority system in Oé-Cusse,” he further stated. In concluding his remarks, he announced that a regional logistic center would be established, to improve productivity and control dependency on products from the mainland, and a database would be created to control the transaction of products in and out of the enclave.
The farmers conveyed their confidence in the JLS system and requested improvements be made to the irrigation systems, fertilizer supply, fencing and organic pesticide supply. The event concluded with the inspection of display of local products by the H.E. Arsenio Paixão Bano.