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Ministry of Agriculture, European Union and German Cooperation celebrate the planting of the final “Ai ba Futuru” tree

Tree Planting in Laclubar, Manatuto, Timor-Leste

12th of May 2022, Manatuto, Timor-Leste: Today, “Ai ba Futuru” Project- Partnership for Sustainable Agroforestry (PSAF), co-financed by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and implemented in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), celebrated tthe end of its planting activities by planting its final tree in Suco Orlalan, Manatuto.
For the past four years, Ai ba Futuru Project has been distributing tree seedlings to rural farm households in 40 Sucos in the municipalities of Baucau, Lautem, Manatuto and Viqueque. During the course of the project, which will end in November 2022, more than 3.7 million trees have been distributed, promoting agroforestry as a sustainable land-use strategy that increases food security as well as employment opportunities and incomes.
Farmers received a wide range of tree seedlings, including Sandalwood, Mahogany, Rambutan, Orange, Moringa, Teak, Coconut, Casuarina, Australian Red Cedar and many more. In the future, these will provide wood, food and animal feed. Tree seedlings were produced by community nurseries, Quinta Portugal, private nurseries and MAF nurseries.

The celebration of the finalisation of the tree seedling distribution was attended by H.E. the Vice Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), Abílio Xavier de Araújo, H.E. the Ambassador of the European Union, Andrew Jacobs, H.E. the Portuguese Ambassador to Timor-Leste Maria Manuela Freitas Bairos and the Country Coordinator of GIZ Timor-Leste, Rainer Schellhaas, together with representatives from regional and local MAF and administration.

The vice minister of MAF said "Agroforestry is very important to sustain and create a productive landscape for Timor-Leste in the future. Agroforestry is a key to enhance the income of our farmers, in addition to its contribution for our economic development. We want to thank Ai ba Futuru to support us on our way to a prosperous future by donating the seedlings for our farmers in 4 municipalities, Baucau, Manatuto, Viqueque and Lautém.”

“The European Union remains committed to supporting the rural communities in Timor-Leste and to the development of agro-forestry.  We know that agroforestry, is a viable and key response for economic development. Around 35,000 hectares of suitable land that is not currently forested, protected or cultivated is available in Timor-Leste, which could be used for the largescale implementation of agroforestry practices, which in turn would generate significant employment opportunities to 70% of its young population. We are currently preparing our new programme of EU-Timor-Leste cooperation for the next seven years, and a principal focus is green and sustainable economic development and poverty reduction. In this context it will be important for the European Union, the Government of Timor-Leste, and civil society to continue to work together in the framework of agroforestry”, said Andrew Jacobs, the European Union Ambassador to Timor-Leste.

“Since 2017 Ai ba Futuru project is being implemented in the four eastern municipalities of Timor-Leste, namely Baucau, Lautem, Manatuto and Viqueque. Due to the good partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and due to the good cooperation with the financing partners, it was possible to support more than 6,000 households in 40 selected sucos and to plant over 3.8 million trees. In this last planting season since November 2021 alone, 1.3 million seedlings have been delivered.”, said Rainer Schellhaas, GIZ country coordinator.

About Ai ba Futuru
The Ai ba Futuru Project is being implemented in the four eastern municipalities of Timor-Leste (Baucau, Lautem, Manatuto and Viqueque), working with more than 5,800 marginalised households in 40 selected Sucos. It will increase the area under agroforestry in Timor-Leste by 6,000 ha, planting a total of three million trees. Targeted participants benefit from increases in production, better employment opportunities and improved market access, thus generating higher income.