In villages in West Timor, many people rely on farming for their livelihood. However, many of the methods used by these farmers are not effective, and people struggle to earn a living from the land. Most farmers only grow rice, and this can only be harvested once a year during the rainy season. TLM Foundation helps improve this situation by providing farmers with resources and education so that they can start productive market gardens. These gardens grow a range of fruits and vegetables that can be harvested year-round, which provided profits for members of the cooperative as well as better nutrition for people in the village.
Most people in rural East Nusa Tenggara rely on farming to earn a living. However, the rainy season is only 4 months long, and the soil is very dry. In addition, most subsistence farmers only plant corn and rice. Therefore, farmers using traditional techniques in this region must subsist off only one to two harvests per year with relatively short rainy seasons and unstable weather resulting in crop failure and starvation.
In the summer a small percentage of the community uses the land from existing springs to grow vegetables.
Actually there are sources of water that can be used to grow crops in the summer, but due to limited knowledge and resources, people live in poverty. To overcome this problem, people are looking for alternative jobs outside the village as migrant workers. However, this situation is often exploited by irresponsible person that causes the case of human trafficking in NTT.
By looking at these conditions, TLM Foundation created productive garden programs by utilizing unused land and water sources. Productive gardens are gardens managed collectively by the local community by planting crops that have economic value.
In the years of 2015 and 2016 pilot productive gardens were implemented in four (4) areas covering five (5) villages: Kiubaat (TTS), Enonabuasa (TTS), Kolobolon (Rote), Ngaru Kanoru (Sumba Timur) and Roboaba (Sabu). In these five villages 2,446 community members were served during 2015-2016.
Following the results of the pilot project in four areas at the end of 2016, the productive garden program has been expanded to another four villages in two districts of Rote (Lidamanu and Maubesi villages), and Kupang region (Nekmese and Sahraen villages).