Subject: UNOTIL Daily Media Review - 15 AUGUST 2006--INT'L

Please note that due to the holiday today in Timor-Leste there were no national papers published.


Daily Media Review

Compiled by the Public Information Office from national and international sources

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

International Media Reports

East Timor seed program bears fruit

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Jacquie van Santen

ABC Science Online

Looting and security threats during recent civil unrest haven't deterred an initiative that's helping East Timorese farmers increase their crop yield. The Australian government-funded Seeds of Life (SoL) program aims to improve crop yield and resistance to pests and disease through the use of improved varieties of five staple crops: maize, cassava, sweet potato, rice and peanuts. Early results have been encouraging, staff say, with a 50% increase in grain yields on research station trials and on farmers' fields. Months earlier, civil unrest in the capital Dili, including the looting of the SoL office by people queuing for rice, threatened to slow the program. "[But] nothing stops the planting of crops," says Alex Dalley, the program's research and extension officer. Dalley says despite a number of Timorese nationals working on the program losing family members in the violence, and other staff members being forced to move from the capital due to threats and lack of security, it is business as usual for the program. "[We're] working full days and farming is carrying on in the districts. Due to the good geographic spread of the program, all the staff have been able to continue their work in areas of the country which they feel comfortable in," Dalley says. Food insecurity is a major issue in East Timor. It affects an estimated 64% of the population, with many rural households experiencing food shortages from November to February. Food insecurity is partly the result of low levels of food production, a consequence of poor land and the generally low levels of technology, combined with high crop losses, both pre- and post-harvest. SoL's work is a mix of research training, trialling with farmers, setting up research stations and applying social/economic research. (ABC)

Government Upgrades Travel Risk To Timor 7:44 am, 15 Aug 2006

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has downgraded its travel warnings for the United Kingdom and the United States, but upgraded a warning for East Timor. The British Home Office has downgraded the terror threat from critical to severe, and has lifted the ban on hand luggage on flights originating in the UK. Despite the downgraded warning, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs says New Zealanders travelling to the UK or USA may still be at risk, and need to be security conscious. It is warning against any non-essential or tourist travel to East Timor. (

These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office

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Donna G. Cusumano Chief, Public Information Office UNOTIL Tel: +670 33 312 210 ext. 5314 +212 963-0099 ext. 5314 Mob: + 670 723 0749

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