Promoting employment opportunities for marginalised groups in the agroforestry sector

Projekct description

Title: Employment promotion for marginalised groups (Partnership for Sustainable Agroforestry)
Commissioned by: European Union (EU) and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Co-funded by: European Union
Country: Timor-Leste
Lead executing agency: Ministeriu Agrikultura no Peskas (MAP)/Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries
Overall term: 2017 to 2022



Employment opportunities are scarce in rural areas of Timor-Leste. Socially vulnerable groups, such as women, young people and segments of the rural population, often have difficulty earning a living and particularly frequently face a lack of prospects. Traditional farming methods and low levels of crop diversification often result in poor yields leading to regular food shortages. Farming and forestry are among the few income-generating opportunities in rural regions, which is where some 70 per cent of the population live. 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) runs various projects promoting measures aimed at enhancing food security and increasing agricultural production. 

However, awareness of alternative approaches in agriculture – such as improved agroforestry and its value chains – is limited, and these alternatives have received very little support to date. Marginalised groups have not yet benefited from improved employment opportunities in agroforestry, arable farming and forestry in Timor-Leste. 



Agroforestry improves the employment opportunities available to marginalised groups in Timor-Leste.


The project works in four fields of action with the following aims:

  • increasing production and productivity in agroforestry systems;
  • training marginalised groups in agroforestry value chains;
  • improving market access for agroforestry products;
  • strengthening institutional frameworks for the promotion of agroforestry.

The project region includes the municipalities of Manatuto, Baucau, Viqueque and Lautem in the east of the country. The project supports farmers’ groups in developing agroforestry systems using improved agricultural practices. At the same time, it strengthens capacities in peaceful conflict resolution, for example through participatory land-use planning, in rural areas.

In addition to production, the project also addresses training and education along the entire agroforestry value chain. In cooperation with the agricultural schools in Timor-Leste, the project is developing curricula and improving vocational training in the forestry sector – from production to wood processing. The often difficult market access and the lack of capacities in product processing are being addressed through training measures.

The project components are being implemented in close collaboration with the employees of MAF. The European Union (EU) is cofinancing the project. The consulting firm Arge GOPA-AFC is also supporting its implementation.



Since the start of the project, 40 municipalities have established agroforestry systems. By the end of the rainy season 2019/2020, 4,000 farmers had planted around 1.8 million tree seedlings. In the future, these will provide wood, food and animal feed.

The project has trained more than 500 advisors, farmers, tree nursery managers and forest rangers on topics relating to sustainable agroforestry production systems. Thanks to the establishment of four agroforestry demonstration plots, farmers can now learn about agroforestry principles directly in the field. The project also contributes to long-term capacity building. It grants 15 stipends for Master’s degrees in relevant subjects at the agricultural university in Bogor, Indonesia (IPB University). 

The project has supported the establishment of four bamboo processing centres, thus creating jobs and increasing the availability of this resource, which is in great demand. In addition, six municipalities have agreed general rules for land use through a process of participatory land-use planning.

Latest update: October 2020