Livestock Systems

Evaluating the opportunities for smallholder livestock keepers in Timor-Leste

Project code
AUD 172,355
Research program manager
Dr Anna Okello
Project leader
Dr Dominic Smith, University of Queensland
Commissioned organisation
The University of Queensland
MAY 2019
DEC 2020
Project status
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This project aimed to further develop a vision and direction for ACIAR to support sustainable development of the smallholder livestock sector in Timor-Leste over the next 5-10 years.

Livestock are kept by the majority (87.2%) of households in Timor-Leste.  Pigs are kept by a total of around 146,000 households with a national herd estimated at almost 420,000. There is a good case for analyzing interventions around smallholder pig production that could have potentially positive impacts on livelihoods. These include support to improve sow/piglet nutrition and management utilising locally available feedstuffs. There is a relatively strong demand for piglets for households to raise for their own ceremonial purposes or for sale to other households for ceremonial purposes. The scale and sustainability of this demand for piglets will be what determines the business case for any project supporting improved sow and piglet nutrition and management for smallholders.

The governments of Timor-Leste and Indonesia are committed to greater cross-border cooperation and increased trade, which supports the Timor-Leste Strategic Development Plan and the aspiration of the country to achieve membership of ASEAN. Asian Development Bank (ADB) is also prioritizing support for the two countries to develop collaboration in the form of trade, investment, and cooperative production as a means of addressing national inequality, diversifying economic growth, and importantly, reducing poverty in the border areas between the two countries.

Project outcomes

  • Evaluating the business case for ACIAR support to smallholder pig production, taking into account markets and broader social, economic and cultural factors.
  • Evaluating key constraints and influencing factors relating to formalizing cross-border trade in livestock between Timor-Leste and Nussa Tengara Timur (NTT -Indonesia)
  • Conducting a comparative analysis of key smallholder livestock sectors in TL in the context of a visioning process around the best use of ACIAR resources.
Key partners
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF), Timor-Leste