During the State of Emergency, “Ai ba Futuru” - Trees for the Future - the initiative financed by the European Union and Germany, sends a signal of hope for the future: the project is helping to ensure that farmers can provide livelihoods for their families.
“Ai ba Futuru” - Partnership for Sustainable Agroforestry (PSAF), a project co-funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), has planted its millionth tree on Kaikoli Mountain, Venilale. In front of beneficiaries of Ai ba Futuru, Mana Teresa from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) planted a Rosewood tree, a species native to Timor-Leste which produces high-quality wood.
“The millionth tree”, a rosewood, marks a milestone towards the goal of “Ai ba Futuru”: to have planted three million healthy trees in Timor-Leste by 2022.
The ceremony took place in full compliance with the recommendations issued by the Government to maintain social distancing to protect communities from the possible spread of the corona virus.
“I feel proud and happy to plant the 1 millionth tree together with Ai ba Futuru and the Kaikoli farmer group. In all the areas, where tree seedlings have been planted with the support of Ai ba Futuru, farmers will benefit from an increase in the food production and income. This is especially true in this area, where the reforestation activities can save water, prevent soil erosion and promote windbreaks”, said Teresa da Costa Almeida, Chief of the Department of Program and Extension of MAF Baucau. ”
The trees planted on Kaikoli Mountain will not only help prevent soil erosion and landslides but will also increase food production and income from agroforestry systems in the short-, medium- and long-term.
The European Union is committed to support Timor-Leste’s agroforestry sector to ensure that farmers and business owners can provide livelihoods for their families during this critical time. “Ai ba Futuru” is also helping to diversify the economy so that it is less reliant on its fossil fuel resources”, said Andrew Jacobs, Ambassador of the European Union to Timor-Leste.
“Ai ba Futuru has planted one million trees! This is an enormous achievement by the project and all its partners. Through the distribution of tree seedlings combined with many supporting activities, together with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and many local stakeholders, we are establishing and improving agroforestry plots. With the support of BMZ this work will go on and we will plant two million more trees to improve the livelihoods of farmers in Timor-Leste”, said Rainer Schellhaas, country coordinator of GIZ Timor-Leste.
The Ai ba Futuru Project is implemented in the four eastern municipalities of Timor-Leste (Baucau, Lautem, Manatuto and Viqueque), targeting 4,000 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 will benefit from increases in production, better employment opportunities and improved market access, thus generating higher income.