Indonesia to help Timor-Leste develop agriculture

27 August 2015

Timor-Leste (East Timor) will count assistance from Indonesia to help develop agriculture and diversify production with a view to improving the economy and fighting malnutrition, the half-island country’s minister for Agriculture and Fisheries said on Wednesday.

Estanislau da Silva made his comments in Jakarta on the same day that Timor-Leste and Indonesia signed two memorandums of understanding for agricultural cooperation and for technical cooperation in the forestry sector, in the scope of the first official visit abroad by Prime Minister Rui Maria de Araújo.

Although the two countries maintain previous agreements in the agriculture area, the minister hopes that from now on the bases have been established to “obtain knowledge and technology” and for “more enhanced development of research.”

Besides sending technical personnel from Timor-Leste to train in Indonesia, taking advantage of language abilities, Indonesian experience and the similar products cultivated, such as rice, da Silva also admitted the possibility of “recruiting Indonesian personnel to work in Timor-Leste.”

Da Silva is also the Economic Affairs coordinator in the government that took office on 16 February. He said that despite the recent distribution of tractors, agricultural sector productivity “is still not growing effectively and has even declined,” whereby more training is needed.

Timor-Leste’s non-oil economy is fundamentally grounded in agriculture, with 70 percent of its citizens depending on that sector, although production is mainly subsistence-based and rudimentary, da Silva explained, cited by Lusa news agency. (Macauhub/TL)