Vegetable Variety for Better Wellbeing and Stronger Livelihoods in West Timor

CWS Indonesia | August 1, 2017

Marselina and her child in her garden. Photo: CWS

Marselina Toa Uran and Paulus Baifeto are farmers in Noemuke in West Timor. Like countless villages across the region, Noemuke is prone to drought and, as a result, high has levels of food insecurity – meaning extended time periods when the family does not have enough food, never mind nutritious food, to eat. This is particularly worrisome for Marselina and Paulus because they have a daughter, Sisilia, who is a toddler who needs plentiful, nutritious food to be healthy and grow strong.

Marselina used to grow just a few vegetables, and mostly pumpkin and cassava. Both require a lot of water to flourish and both have long growing seasons. “We had our vegetable garden near the river so we could use that water; but, even in the rainy season, the vegetables we harvested were not even enough for our small family so we didn’t have any to sell in the market and earn money for other nutritious food for Sisilia. In the dry season, the river decreases to almost no water, and so we seldom had even enough vegetables for many months,” Marselina remembers as she talks about her good luck to now be part of the Timor Zero Hunger (T0H) initiative that CWS supports in their village.

In joining the T0H effort, Marselina is now able to grow a variety of nutritious vegetables: green mustard, spinach, eggplant, tomatoes and water spinach. “I know now how to grow vegetables that need less water and that can be harvested more quickly. I have also made a fence around our vegetable plot to protect our crop from animals. Thank God, since March we have harvested five times! Now we can sell some vegetables at the market and, with the money earned so far, I bought some other necessities such as rice, sugar and milk for my baby. I even managed to save around Rupiah 250,000 (≈ $19)”, Marselina says, adding joyfully, “I am happy to be able to plant more varieties of vegetables so I can feed my family well and, of course, I am also very happy that I can save some money”!

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