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)
Country: Timor-Leste
Lead executing agency: Ministeriu Agrikultura no Peskas (MAP)/Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF)
Overall term: 2017 to 2022

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Context

The economy of Timor-Leste is dependent on the country’s natural resources. A high population growth rate of 3.2 per cent, unequal access to income and employment opportunities and high rates of poverty – particularly in rural areas, which are home to more than 70 per cent of the population – present social and economic challenges. The outlook is particularly bleak for marginalised groups such as women, young people and segments of the rural population.

In the short to medium term, improved income generating and employment opportunities in rural areas lie primarily in agriculture and its associated value chains. Frequently, however, traditional farming methods and low levels of crop diversification, combined with the impact of increasingly extreme weather events, result in poor yields and regular food shortages. The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MAF), through various projects, promotes 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 in particular have not yet benefited from improved employment opportunities in the agroforestry systems in Timor-Leste.

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Objective

Marginalised groups benefit from improved employment opportunities along selected agroforestry value chains.

Approach

The project objectives are to be achieved through four related fields of action:

  • Increasing production and productivity in agroforestry systems;
  • Building capacities of relevant actors, especially those from marginalised groups, along selected 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. Key steps in implementing the project are the participatory selection of target communities and value chains and participatory land use planning. The project supports farmers’ groups in developing agroforestry systems using improved agricultural practices. At the same time, it strengthens capacities in peaceful conflict resolution, such as in relation to land disputes, in rural areas.

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In addition to production in agroforestry systems, the project also addresses training and education along the entire agroforestry value chain. In cooperation with the agricultural schools in the country, curricula are being developed and the vocational training in the forestry sector – from production to wood processing – is being improved. Furthermore, factors, such as the often difficult market access and the lack of capacities in product processing, are being addressed through training measures. Cooperation with the private sector is envisaged.

Moreover, the project will support the political partner in formulating relevant guidelines and legislation.

In line with the decentralisation process introduced by the government, the project is implemented through a project office located in Baucau.

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

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