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Sustainable Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP)

$21 million to increase the productivity and marketed production of smallholder agriculture.


In Timor Leste, the agriculture sector sustains the livelihoods of 64% of the country’s labor force, but contributes to only around 10% of the economy. The unemployment rate is around 70%, with more than half of the population under 25 years old. Malnutrition and food insecurity are particularly pervasive in remote rural areas, which in many cases are only accessible by horse or foot, and nearly all households exhaust their home-grown food supplies within nine months. These areas typically have rain-fed crop land used for unsustainable small-scale subsistence farming, and large areas on steep slopes with infertile soils. They are also particularly vulnerable to weather shocks like floods and off-season rains.


The objective of Sustainable Agriculture Productivity Improvement Project (SAPIP) is to improve incomes as well as food security and
nutrition in select areas of Timor-Leste by improving country-led public sector investments to increase smallholder agricultural productivity, by empowering farmers and linking them to markets, by strengthening adaptive research and extension institutions, by
reducing risk and vulnerability, by improving nonfarm rural livelihoods, and by strategically deploying technical assistance. SAPIP supports municipal and watershed agriculture development planning, farm development initiatives, small-scale infrastructure and
farm equipment, and the Ministry of Agriculture’s planning, financing, monitoring, and coordination functions. It focuses on improved watershed management to enhance livelihoods and to reduce climate-related vulnerability by improving water management and
supporting agro/social forestry and commercial forestry for environmental rehabilitation. Activities also include developing and strengthening farmer groups, associations, and cooperatives, which will engage women and young people as well.

Project Status






Focus area

  • Fragility

Supervising entity

World Bank


After an initial delay due to the national election, the project has begun implementation on the ground. Two non-governmental organizations, Oxfam and Hivos, have been contracted to to support the implementation of project activities in watershed management planning. FAO is also supporting the Government in strengthening the its monitoring and evaluation functions. 


Jan Joost Nijhoff
Senior Agriculture Economist & Task Team Leader, +62-21-5299-30392

Work with Us

The Global Agriculture & Food Security Program (GAFSP) is dedicated to fighting hunger, malnutrition, and poverty in low-income countries by supporting resilient and sustainable agricultural systems that benefit and empower poor and vulnerable smallholder farmers. Since its inception in 2010, GAFSP has received contributions totaling $1.7 billion from Australia, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Canada, Germany, Ireland, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, South Korea, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States, with funds going to countries that have strategic, innovative, and credible plans already in place to improve agricultural productivity and food security.

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