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USAID's Avansa Agrikultura Project

Language: English | Tetun

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Purpose:

The Avansa Agrikultura activity is a central component of USAID’s strategy to strengthen institutional and human capacity in Timor-Leste. 

 

Location: 

Municipalities of Aileu, Ainaro, Bobonaro, Dili, Liquica and Ermera

Key Counterparts:

Ministries of Agriculture and Fisheries; Tourism, Commerce and Industry; and Health. Private Sector Organizations

Duration:

April 2015 — January 2021

Contract:

$19.2 million

Partner Contact:

Cardno Emerging Markets USA Ltd.

Paul Mason

Chief of Party

Email: info@avansaag.com   

USAID Contact:

David Howlett

Agriculture Officer

Email: usaid-timor-leste-info@usaid.gov

Summary 

The final year of USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura activity implementation saw many successes in moving farmers from subsistence to active participation in the high value horticultural crop market.  Building on a successful model that strengthened market systems, Avansa created and grew market connections between producers and retailers, banks and agricultural supply companies.  These profit-driven connections now continue without financial support from USAID.  Avansa has also demonstrated that investing in high value crops like strawberries, tomatoes, and peppers, among other crops, can make a significant impact on the lives of farmers.  With increased incomes, farming households are spending more on education for family members, better housing, nutritious food and investing back into their own businesses.  Avansa, more than any agricultural development program in the country, has demonstrated how to connect producers to markets, a clear path to self-reliance for Timorese farmers.

USAID Avansa
California Frigo strawberry plants were distributed in Aileu, Ainaro, and Ermera. Some of the farmer groups’ incomes have increased by nearly 320 percent from $1,200 to $5,000 since the activity began.

Major Achievements:

  • Increased Income and Enterprise Creation: Farmer income increased over 1,100 percent from 2015 to 2020, from $235 to $2,661 per year as new crop varieties were introduced and modern agriculture techniques became widely practiced where the project worked.  The introduction of strawberries from California helped drive significant farmer income increases.  Avansa Agrikultura provided over 6,200 enterprises with business support services. Forty percent of total beneficiaries and 23 percent of business owners were women. 
  • Greater Market Participation: Where Avansa worked, annual sales of produce increased from $4 million in 2018 to $11.5 million in 2020.  With USAID assistance, sales of agriculture supplies grew from $200,000 in 2015 to $2.5 million in 2020, supporting modern sustainable farming practices.  The project leveraged almost $8.5 million in private sector commitments to support food security and nutrition. 
  • Savings and Resilience Enhanced: Savings increased almost 300 percent as greater incomes translated to increased savings, particularly among women’s saving and loan groups. Women-only savings groups were so successful that men sought entry; the project had to hire four new savings and loan specialists in Fiscal Year 2019 to accommodate increased demand. 
  • Nutrition Improved: Where Avansa Agrikultura worked, hunger decreased from 15 to 0.9 percent; women and children benefitted as households consumed 28 percent of the nutritious produce and women were found to be eating five or more food groups per day in 2020. 

Last updated: June 17, 2021

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