Farmers’ capacity to protect their livelihoods in challenging environmental conditions will be at the centre of the work of a new innovation network, say the partners behind Timor-Leste’s new initiative for ecological innovation.
Civil society organisations and universities have today inaugurated Prolinnova Timor-Leste – the local branch of global ecological innovation and learning network, Prolinnova.
The Prolinova initiative – its name taken from its vision “Promoting Local Agriculture” – aims to place farmers local to partner countries in decisive roles in agricultural research and development. Bringing diverse local organisations together in partnership, the Prolinova network recognises the value of indigenous knowledge and the need to build farmers’ capacity in order to address challenges relating to food security, sustaining livelihoods, and environmental protection.
Timor-Leste has been experiencing severe drought conditions since the end of 2015 due to the global El Niño phenomenon, with the United Nations Food and Agricultural department (UNFAO) estimating the food security of over 120,000 households have been affected. Rainfall over the wet season, from November to May, has been erratic and insufficient, with farmers turning to livestock for food as harvest yields remain poor. While the government has not yet declared an emergency situation, national and international responses are underway.
With an aim to institutionalising methods that ensure farmers’ resilience to changing climatic conditions, Prolinnova Timor-Leste seeks to address these challenges by building on existing local expertise.
RAEBIA, the organisation steering the partnership, works with local farmers to build resilient agricultural communities through an innovative combination of agroecology and community-led land planning. Its director, Xisto Martins, will attend the global Prolinnova network meeting in Ghana later this month as Prolinnova Timor-Leste’s representative.
Photo: Students from Universidade da Paz in the audience at the Prolinnova Timor-Leste launch in Dili on 28 April 2017
Sophie Raynor | RAEBIA Timor-Leste