As part of the Timor Zero Hunger project and with help from local extension workers from their district Department of Agriculture and Food Security, 12 women from Eonfetnai hamlet of Enonabuasa village got together recently to form the Tunas Muda women farmers group. “What motivated us to establish this group was a desire to be more self-reliant, particularly … for vegetable gardening. This not only helps us meet our families’ food needs, it also helps us increase our incomes when we sell vegetables in the market,” explains Antonia Liunokas, Tunas Muda’s treasurer.
With motivation and new knowledge from being part of Timor Zero Hunger, Tunas Muda members grow a variety of vegetables – morning glory, shallots, spinach, tomatoes, and chili – in a 2,500 m2 (two-thirds acre) garden. “We are grateful for the information, new knowledge, mentoring and guidance from CWS staff and our ag extension workers. [We learned] not just about vegetable-growing, but also group management and how to handle our finances,” says Ketura Selan, Tunas Muda’s secretary. “Group members make between $5 and $8 in profit each harvest. We use $2 to buy new seeds and the rest we use to buy rice, salt and cooking oil,” she added. “For the future we will cultivate even more land with corn, beans and nuts. We also are planning a savings group.”