Special Report 2021 FAO Crop and Food Supply Assessment Mission (CFSAM) to the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, 16 June 2021 – Timor-Leste

  • Production of maize, rice and tubers (in grain equivalent) in 2021 is estimated at around 136,400 tonnes, almost 8 percent above the average for the past five years. An early start to the rainy season, followed by abundant and well-distributed rains throughout the season, resulted in above-average planted area and yields, offsetting losses from flooding and fall armyworm. (FAW).

  • Maize production in 2021 is estimated at 80,100 tonnes, about 9 percent above the previous five-year average, while rice production is estimated at 39,950 tonnes, 13 percent above the five-year average. last years.

  • About 2,660 hectares of rice were affected by the floods, or 12 percent of the area planted. FAW severely affected around 2,880 hectares of maize, or 9 percent of the cultivated area, with a significant reduction in yields, especially for the late sown crops.

  • Concerns exist for the next main crop year 2021/22, which will be planted from next December, due to damage to irrigation infrastructure from flooding and expanding damage from the Fall Armyworm. Without rehabilitation interventions, the mission estimates that about 2,800 hectares of rice may not be fully or partially irrigated, while CLA could affect up to 20 percent of total maize production in a year with average or below average precipitation.

  • Since its outbreak in 2019, African swine fever (ASF) has killed more than 129,000 animals, or about 28 percent of the total pig population. Over the past two years, the poultry industry has been hit by a new wave of Newcastle disease virus (NDV), especially when vaccination campaigns have been delayed.

  • Heavy rains and good grazing conditions benefited both large and small livestock. The population of buffalo, Bali cows, horses, sheep and goats is generally healthy and has increased in number in 2021.

  • Prices for imported rice, the most consumed staple food in the country, were at high levels in May 2021, on average 15% higher than a year earlier, mainly reflecting strong local demand and disruptions in the market. supply related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prices for local rice, which is a small proportion of market supply, are twice as high as prices for imported rice, but they have come down and, in May 2021, were 23% below their levels. one year earlier. This is due to the decrease in purchasing power, following the loss of income and the increase in unemployment due to the implementation of COVID-19 restrictions.

  • With an estimated use of 270,100 tonnes of maize, rice and tubers (in grain equivalent), there is an expected import need for the 2021/22 marketing year (April / March) of around 113,700 tonnes. , which will be fully covered by commercial and government purchases.

  • An emergency response to support farmers affected by the floods is needed to restore income and productive capacity. Irrigation systems damaged by flooding must be repaired. Interventions should include paid labor and the mobilization of heavy equipment to remove sediment from irrigation canals, repair of water intakes and protection of irrigated land from future river erosion. Providing vegetable seeds and agricultural equipment to farmers can also help mitigate the impact on affected communities.

  • The Mission recommends strengthening the national biosecurity capacity and supporting rapid farm-level interventions against FAW and ASF, through the repopulation of pigs in biosecurity fences and extensive vaccination campaigns. The mission identified an opportunity for long-term institutionalization of local purchases, initiated through the government program Cesta Basica, to feed the national school feeding program (merenda escolar).

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