Farmers from Soibada and Laclubar have spent two days learning about conservation farming and seed saving techniques. They didn’t have to travel very far as farmers from the sucos of Batara and Orlalan in Laclubar have been practicing techniques for several years under the guidance of the NGO, RAEBIA (Resilient Agriculture and Economy through Biodiversity in Action). There were 25 participants in total, 15 from Laclubar and 10 from Soibada including 8 female participants.
Farmers learnt how to terrace land to grow crops and avoid erosion. Host farmers demonstrated how they use compost and mulch to nurture food crops such as sweet potato, cassava, beans and other vegetables. Several varieties of sweet potato are being grown including traditional varieties from Timor Leste to preserve agro-biodiversity.
Farmers also learnt how to save seeds and develop a community seed-bank to ensure food security from year to year. Selection of high performing crops, good quality seed and dry storage were emphasised. After the field visits, farmers had group discussions to plan what they could do back in their villages. The project will continue to support farmers to practice conservation farming to complement their tree planting activities.