Published July 9th, 2009
Marcal Mendonca is taking a chance on coffee. As he stands proudly in front of his new nursery in Aileu district, Timor-Leste, he says raising seedlings is a first for him, but he’s optimistic that it will be worth the time and effort. “I’m doing this partly to get money, but also to help other farmers and to rehabilitate my own farm,” said Mendonca, 46, who has six children.
Mendonca is in charge of producing 15,000 coffee seedlings, with support from the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA) and Cooperativa Cafe Timor (CCT), a 21,000-member organic coffee co-operative.
A short drive away, 28-year-old Alberto de Jesus is growing 10,000 coffee tree seedlings and 5,000 shade tree seedlings, which will provide vital shade for crops. “I’m doing this for my family, my friends and also to make a bit of money,” he said.