Comparative Study of Household Economy and Food Security in Timor-Leste: A Case Study of Acumau and Mertuto Villages
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Household economy can be reflected by food security situation of the households. This paper aims to analyze household economy and evaluate food security status at household level between the two villages; Acumau and Mertuto categorized as periurban and rural, respectively. All households in Mertuto practice commercial farming whereas 88% of the households in Acumau engage in it. In both of the villages, some of the households do farming together with non-farm activities. Food self-sufficiency (staple food) level of both Acumau and Mertuto are very low. Nevertheless, their land is not suitable for rice cultivation, they prefer to consume rice as their primary staple food. They can’t achieve food sufficient situation at household level without cash income from farming and non-farm activities. The households from Acumau attain food sufficiency (staple food) rate of 101% with cash income from farming and non-farm activities composed from selling livestock (12%), solidarity payment (27%) and wage (35%), in contrast to the households from Mertuto who are still under the state of food insufficiency although cash income from coffee (27%), business (14%) and wage (36%) contribute to food sufficiency of the households. Thus, it will be helpful to increase preferred staple, maize production as of the way to achieve food sufficiency in both of the villages. In Acumau, strengthening livestock farming will be a sustainable way for the household food sufficiency with the better access to Dili whereas in Mertuto, coffee production should be increased, considering the contribution of coffee farming to households, and sending migrant will enable them to achieve food security for long run.
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