Land O’Lakes also provided a simplified model business plan for agricultural enterprises and offered advice to students interested in applying. Ten applications were received, representing 85 aspiring farmers in production groups or individual entrepreneurs.
Three agricultural enterprises were chosen to receive $500 as start-up capital based on evaluation of their formal business plans. The funding was provided from resources contributed by Prosperity Worldwide (http://www.prosperityworldwide.org/). The winning business ideas included fresh vegetable production and marketing, local chicken production and marketing, and agricultural production and input services. Following is a brief summary of the three winning enterprises.
Loron Aban Hahu Ohin (LAHO) Production Group (“The Future Starts Today”) is a group young of farmers based in Oe’cusse (an isolated district of Timor-Leste surrounded by Indonesia and only accessible by sea ferry or by a long and arduous trip requiring multiple entries in and out of Indonesian territory). LAHO currently has 16 members, half of whom attended BACET at Maliana Eskola Teknika Agrikola in 2009. LAHO plans to grow and market fresh vegetables for local consumers as well as larger-scale production in soybeans, green beans, and chili peppers. The start-up funds will be used to purchase seed and other inputs as well as to respond to a short-term market opportunity for betel nut sales. The group has successfully negotiated with the Oe’cusse government administration to sell fresh produce and to access a tractor for land preparation. Land O’Lakes BACET has provided technical production, financial and marketing advice.
Haburas Manu Lokal (HAMALO) Production Group (“Make Productive Local Chickens”) enterprise is run by six graduates of the 2008 BACET program in Fuiloro and Natarbora. The group plans to raise the local variety of chickens and sell them in the local Maliana and Bobanaro markets. The market for chicken is strong, but it is routinely met by imported products because of a lack of local production and market constraints. The group’s land is located very near to the Indonesian border, in the village of Saburai, creating potential for cross-border trade.
Land O’Lakes BACET offered advice on livestock marketing and farm planning to create chicken housing and expand the production area. HAMALO will use the start-up funds to prepare a permanent coop to house chickens, increase the number of birds, and improve feeding and care of the flock.
TANE Agricultura is an agricultural enterprise founded by a 2009 graduate of BACET Natarbora. TANE will offer marketing services and inputs for farmers and farming production groups in the Viqueque area. Viqueque currently does not have an agriculture supply store, and farmers have limited access to seeds, fertilizer and pesticides. TANE is cooperating with 20 production groups with the objective to deliver agricultural inputs and market the group’s production. TANE also plans to produce green beans on two hectares of land and has potential to sell betel nut to other areas in the country. The $500 award will be used as working capital to purchase inputs and initiate the agricultural service activities.