TIMOR-LESTE: More than 200 students learn farming skills
Don Bosco Agricultural College provides farming education to more than 200 students
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries operate Don Bosco Agricultural College in the village of Fuiloro, Timor-Leste. With more than 75 percent of the population deriving its livelihood from farming, Don Bosco Agricultural College plays an important role in promoting better care of livestock and increasing the yield from crops.
In 2020, the college continued to work toward becoming more self-sustainable by increasing farm production of corn, animal feed, horticulture and coconut oil. With an increase in applications, enrollment now exceeds more than 200 students. A new dormitory was completed with new beds, lockers and furniture to accommodate more students living on the college’s campus.
Timor-Leste suffered a drought in the early part of 2020 that impacted parts of the country that rely on subsistence farming for both food and income. Father Trans, a representative of Don Bosco Agricultural College, said, “A long summer with very little rain reduced both feed for the animals and produce for the community, boarders and surrounding villages. Due to the lack of reliable rain, we were unable to sow corn and many of our plantings dried up. This certainly affected our ability to provide food. We have increased the volume of rice purchased, which is very costly.”
Don Bosco Agricultural College offers its students an opportunity to combine theory with practice through its hands-on approach. Students use the skills they learn in the classroom in the fields working on their farming techniques. Providing education to help youth cultivate the land helps make their farms more productive and shows that farming can be a reliable source of income.
Salesian missionaries provide a range of educational and social development services at educational centers and programs in Timor-Leste. Poor youth are able to access education and social programs including health services, nutrition, education and general support services that help them to lead healthy productive lives.
Timor-Leste is home to 1.3 million people and has close to 49 percent of its population living in poverty with over one-third of the population regularly experiencing food shortages. In addition, close to 50 percent of the population is illiterate, according to the World Bank.
Photo courtesy of the Australian Salesian Missions Overseas Annual Report 2018
Australian Salesian Missions Overseas Annual Report 2020
Salesian Missions – Timor-Leste
World Bank – East Timor/Timor-Leste