Grain production in Timor-Leste increases 14 percent since the end of Indonesian occupation

8 October 2015

Average grain production in Timor-Leste (East Timor) has grown about 14 percent since the end of the Indonesian occupation of the territory in 1999, tripling compared to the amount produced in the last decade of the Portuguese colonial period, according to a new study.

The study was conducted by the “Seeds of Life” (SoL) project ( an initiative supported by the Australian government and involving the Timorese authorities and Timorese farmers.

For the analysis the researchers drew on statistical data on agricultural production collected by the United Nations Agency for Food and Agriculture (FAO).

Thus, in the final period of Portuguese rule, between 1961 and 1975, Timor-Leste had average grain production of 38 kilograms per person per year.

This value increased to an average of 107 kilograms per person per year during the period of Indonesian occupation between 1976 and 1999, increasing to 122 kg per person per year between 2000 and 2014.

The analysis focused in particular on maize and rice crops, comparing the production rates of the three periods.

Abril Fátima Lemos Soares, of the SoL, said the data showed that, despite the improvement, “Timor-Leste grain production capacity only reached 59 percent of the average world production,” which is around 206 kg per person per year.

The data, he said, would help to understand the sector’s production in Timor-Leste and demonstrates “the need to expand the rice and cornfields” and at the same time, the need to strengthen the technical and technological capacity of farmers. (macauhub/TL)