11 students and 4 civil servants from Timor-Leste have been awarded scholarships to study Agro-forestry sciences at Institute Pertanian Bogor (IPB) Agriculture University, in Bogor, West Java, Indonesia, under the EU-German Cooperation Programme: “Ai ba Futuru – Trees for the Future”.
15 Timorese scholarship holders will leave for West Java, in Indonesia, to attend Masters Courses at the prestigious IPB University. The full scholarships have been granted under “Ai ba Futuru” – Partnership for Sustainable for Agro-Forestry (PSAF) Project, financed by the European Union with a contribution of 14.5 million dollars and co-funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development with 4 million dollars. The programme is implemented by GIZ.
With these scholarships students will pursue Masters Degrees in Tropical Forestry, Forestry Management, Tropical Biodiversity Conservation, Eco-tourism and Environmental services, Science and Technology of Forestry Production and Agri-Business for a period of 2 years. Their studies will cover different majors including: Intro to GIS, Silviculture, Timber Harvesting, Forest Land Management, Fire Studies and Wildfires, Sustainable Wood Products.
Out of 100 candidates who applied for the scholarships, 15 students passed the acceptance exams successfully. Four of the scholars are currently civil servants of the Ministry of Agriculture - General Directorate of Forestry, Coffee and Industrial Plant.
During a ceremony at the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, the Ambassador of the European Union Andrew Jacobs, together with the Representative of the Embassy of Indonesia, the Coordinator of German Cooperation Rainer Schellhaas, the Director General of Forestry Raimundo Mau and other dignitaries bid farewell to the departing students.
“We can only be happy today to celebrate the departure of students toward a well-known and prestigious Indonesian school. The training of new professionals will help to develop the important Agro-Forestry sector and “Ai ba Futuru” project, it will improve wood processing efficiency, and encourage the Timorese private sector to invest and become actively involved in establishing, harvesting and processing domestically-grown forest trees for local use and for export. This will provide both a major boost for economic diversification and make a huge different to farmers livelihoods”, said Andrew Jacobs, European Union Ambassador to Timor-Leste.
The “Ai ba Futuru” project is implemented in 4 Municipalities: Baucau, Lautem, Manatuto and Viqueque and 40 villages, targeting 4,000 households. So far, the project has planted 218,000 trees, some fruit and some commercial forest trees. Furthermore, Ai ba Futuru is also supporting intercropping with cassava and corn and other annual species that can be grown along with trees. The project is supporting 23 community nurseries and 1,835 farmers are benefiting from increases in production, better employment opportunities and improved market access, generating higher income.