RAEBIA Timor-Leste program director Mateus Maia (centre) addresses students
The next generation of Timorese farmers have arrived at RAEBIA Timor-Leste’s resource centre in Metiaut to commence a two-week agricultural internship supported by US AID. Sixty students from the faculty of agriculture at Dili’s Universidade da Paz will have the opportunity to perform hands-on work, learning techniques of conservation agriculture and slope farming to complement their academic study.
In welcoming the students to the resource centre, which sits in the steep mountains behind Dili’s Cristo Rei statue, RAEBIA’s program director Mateus Maia noted that equally as important as the students’ learning in the centre is the attitude they take with them when they leave. “Learn now, to use for the future,” he told the students.
RAEBIA focuses on sustainability in its work, and invests in young farmers and the relationship they have with the land to ensure its continued protection.
The resource centre, which was opened in 2015 with support from US AID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project, provides students with the opportunity to practise a variety of farming techniques, including techniques to mitigate the environmental challenges associated with Timor-Leste’s mountainous topography.
Students will build and maintain graduated terraces, which are commonly used to reduce erosion and surface runoff in conservation agriculture; produce compost; maintain a nursery and collect seeds; and engage with the farming community in the mountains near the resource centre, to showcase the impact of the slope farming activities.
Sophie Raynor | RAEBIA Timor-Leste