World Education is dedicated to improving the lives of the poor through education, and economic and social development programs.

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Developing Agricultural Communities/Desenvolve Agricultura Comunitária (DAC)

Dates: 2013-2014

Country: Timor-Leste

Client(s): DAI

Services: Capacity Building, Technical Assistance

Expertise: Sustainable Agriculture/Food Security


In Timor-Leste, nearly 80% of the population relies on agricultural activities for their livelihoods. Difficult terrain, poor agricultural practices, and the lack of market linkages for products has led to low yields, limited income, and inadequate nutrition among Timorese.

In 2013 and 2014, World Education provided technical assistance for the USAID-funded Desenvolve Agricultura Comunitaria (DAC) project in Timor-Leste to improve agricultural practices and establish farmer groups and market linkages. World Education implemented farmer field schools (FFS) and conducted a series of training of trainers (TOT) in the farmer field school approach for project staff and local farmers. Season-long FFS training was provided to 22 DAC staff and 288 farmers in four districts (Bobonaro, Ermera, Liquisa and Aileu).

The FFS training focused on more efficient production of commercial vegetables that are in demand in the Dili supermarkets. As most of Timor-Leste’s farmers are oriented toward subsistence production, World Education supported the DAC program to equip farmers with entrepreneurial skills and helped project beneficiaries build business partnerships with supermarkets in Dili. The FFS training also supported capacity building for community-based farming management, including the ability to organize and interact with local government and the private sector.

Post-test results indicate that farmers’ knowledge increased during FFS implementation. Participants showed gains in all categories, including nutrient management, integrated crop management, and integrated pest management. Farmers learned important composting techniques, gained confidence to produce and apply organic fertilizer, and carried out good land preparation.