Project Case Study
Farming for Prosperity
Increasing Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) and Improved Dietary Practices in Timor-Leste.
The To’os Ba Moris Di’ak (TOMAK) is a 10-year agricultural livelihoods program funded by the Australian Government in Timor-Leste. Its goal is to ensure rural households live more prosperous and sustainable lives.
Tomak has supported NGO partners working at the community level to promote nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA) and improved dietary practices at the household level. This has been achieved through the establishment of a range of community groups including village savings and loans groups (to increase household resilience and purchasing power), farmer groups (to increase production of diverse, nutritious foods), and nutrition groups (predominantly targeting mothers of children under 2).
Throughout TOMAK’s first phase 1 (2016-2021), over 900 farming households have been supported to expand commercial production of key value chain crops (red rice, peanuts, mung bean and shallots/onions) with over 2,100 neighbouring farmers exposed to improved practices through farmer field school activities. Extension officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) have significantly improved service delivery to these farmers, with 74% of extension officers demonstrating improved skills, 91% of farmers being visited by their extension officer, and 83% believing that their extension officer provided good advice on a range of topics including technical practices, nutrition, and agricultural inputs. This has resulted in increased cultivation of all four target crops, with the majority of farmers selling their produce to market (mung bean 87%; peanut 91%; red rice 74%; shallot/onion 95% with market access).
What the project achieved:
Over 7,800 beneficiaries were reached through NSA activities, which resulted in more households producing nutritious foods (91% of households, up from 50% at baseline) and also using income from surplus production to buy nutritious foods for the family (38% of households, up from 25% at baseline). These households also had improved food security (25.9% experienced food insecurity, down from 60% at baseline) and improved food consumption scores (86% of respondents, up from 63% at baseline).
TOMAK’s Phase 1 results show the importance of implementing integrated interventions with rural communities in order to improve food security and nutrition outcomes, while also addressing the critical need for enhanced agricultural livelihoods with increased potential for income generation.
Food Security and Nutrition
Monitoring data from Phase 1 shows:
- 7,800 beneficiaries reached (58% women) through NSA activities
- 7,500 reached through nutrition groups
- TOMAK beneficiaries now have more income sources, more access to savings and credit (sustainable group model)
- Dietary diversity scores for WRA and household food consumption scores are significantly higher
- There is significant change across child nutrition indicators from baseline to midline
- The proportion of respondents experiencing severe food security is now low
- There is continued and relatively stable Newcastle Disease vaccination (despite COVID-19 restrictions).
Market Systems Development (MSD)
TOMAK monitoring data shows:
- An increased application of good agricultural practices (GAP) and improved agribusiness practices
- Increased access to agricultural inputs – 81% of farmers report being able reliably access the inputs they need
- Entrepreneurial farmers clustered close to each other are transforming into farmer groups (plus ‘copy farmers’ crowding in/production nodes)
- There are stronger, direct relationships between farmers, collectors, and buyers.