Commercial production of fruit and vegetable is challenging in Timor-Leste. There is limited knowledge on production techniques so quality suffers and there is a lack of product variety that contributes to an inconsistent supply. Producers and aggregators are also limited in terms of scale and expansion capacity.
Despite growth in the horticulture sector over recent years, the current supply is far from meeting the demand for produce from Dili alone. Many supermarkets can only get 30% of their required supply in certain products.
Marga is a semi-commercial farm that was established on September 2016 by Mario da Silva Alves, who has over thirty years’ experience working in commercial horticulture farms in Mozambique. This technical knowledge and commercial understanding sets Marga apart from other local businesses and with the shortfall in supply, there is significant opportunity for the team to fill the gap.
Marga is planning to set up a learning environment in Loes that will serve as a place to demonstrate proper farming practices where communities can visit and learn how to improve. For farmers interested in becoming suppliers, Marga will provide them with technical assistance.
The location of the farm is known for its high-quality soil and good access to water. Additionally, its proximity to the capital means that transportation is easier than in other supply regions. The Marga farm will create a new vegetable production hub and the investment has the potential to encourage other investors.
MDF will support Marga with setting up the farm and making it operational throughout the year, and will provide training support to strengthen the performance of the farm staff. The intervention will facilitate improved access to information on cultivation techniques, input use and good post-harvest handling, and improved access to yield increasing inputs and equipment. Through this partnership, it is hoped that Marga will play a crucial role in boosting supply of local vegetables and influencing production practices in the area.