Stories of Change
"Now we harvest white mustards, cabbage, kale, green beans, bitter melons, tomatoes, chilies, zucchinis, cucumbers and papayas," Dominggus says.
Poor Farming Families Change Their Lives in West Timor, Indonesia
“In the past, each family was only able to plant Chinese cabbage, tomatoes, and chili on about 100 square meters (2% of an acre) of land per family,” says Dominggus Liunokas. Dominggus is the leader of the Tosilo Toselo farmers group in Oe Ekam village in West Timor, Indonesia.
“We could not eat vegetables year-round since there wasn’t enough water during the dry season. We could only plant vegetables during the short annual rainy season from December to March. During the dry season water was hard to come by, since water sources were located far from the village,” Dominggus says. “The vegetables that we managed to harvest we used to feed our families. Those who were able to generate a small surplus and sell it in the local market only earned about $3.50 – $7.00 each time they sold their produce.”
CWS has been working with Dominggus and his community since 2018. Through the Timor Zero Hunger program, residents of Oe Ekam have formed five farmers groups, including Tosilo Toselo with its 16 members.
The members of Tosilo Toselo have been actively participating in various learning activities. They have joined training on how to make organic liquid fertilizer and how to ward off pests and plant diseases. With support from CWS,the group member also built a cistern and installed a pipe that is over half a mile long to bring more water from a spring directly to their group’s land. Group members also learned about the benefits of drip irrigation and have built a drip irrigation system for themselves.
“The Timor Zero Hunger program has been a life changing experience for members,” says Dominggus. “We were able to expand our farmland to about 2.5 acres. We were also able to diversify: now we harvest white mustards, cabbage, kale, green beans, bitter melons, tomatoes, chilies, zucchinis, cucumbers and papayas. Over the past two years we have been able to harvest much more and eat vegetables every day. Once or twice in a week we sell our crops in the local market in the district capital. On average our members make $17.50 – $52.50 for each harvest. Now we can harvest 3 to 4 times in a year,” he added.
“Thank you, CWS. This program has changed the life of all our members.”