The planting season is almost here in Timor Leste. Farmers have been working hard to prepare their land for the rains and they are finally starting to come. Farmers rely on these wet season rains to come every year so they can grow their corn and rice to feed their families for the rest of the year. Some of the corn seed from the Los Palos project has come to Dili and will be taken to the island of Atauro. This will be the first season that the islanders will get to grow the improved variety of corn researched by Seeds of Life. We are also distributing drums donated by Mission Aviation Fellowship to the farmers to store the corn. Farmers will pay $10 per drum and $5 for a 5kg bag of seed. This payment could also be made to the skipper via a catch of fish. Hence, we have the scene on our beach of sacks of corn seed, 44 gallon drums and an old fridge in our boat. Tobias, the skipper puts ice in the fridge so he can bring fish back to Dili to sell. This is a market driven approach to development work where the farmer, the transporter, the ice maker, the skipper, the fish monger and many others all play a role in lifting the economy of the country. The bloke like me works to make all the connections and to inspire them that it can actually happen. It has to be financially supported to some extent initially but we hope in time that they will find the way to make it happen themselves.
I hope the corn grows well this year.