Rice import from Vietnam, on April 28 (Image Tatoli/António Gonçalves)

DILI, 31 July 2020 (TATOLI)-The Representative of the World Food Program (WFP) Dengeng Liu, revealed on Thursday that a report they produced shows that TL is continuing to import 90% of its rice from abroad in the last 20 years because of low quantity of local food.

”it is very important to consume Timor-Leste’s own food. Still, Timor-Leste is very dependent on international rice imports, TL does, however, produce many nutritious foods such as corn, cassava, potatoes and other vegetables,”Dengeng Liu informed the jounalists during the meeting at Timor Plaza.

Representative of World Food Program(WFP),(Image Tatoli/Egas Cristovão)

WFP and it’s partnership with the European Union (EU), Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) and other NGOs conducted a study which showcased a 25% nutritional gap in the nutrition criteria.

The Secretary of Social and Communications TL Mericio Juvinal dos Reis “Akara”, said the Government is proud of the WFP and their work over 20 years in TL.

”We should be proud of them because they are always with us and we should share this information with the community to update and help them to develop their programs better,” he said.

The Government is currently focusing efforts towards the economy for a post-COVID-19 world, and this
economic recovery will have a focus on food for the vulnerable groups in TL.

A report from the Ministry of Agriculture and Fishery (MAF), States that every year TL continues to import a total of 80 tonnes of rice from abroad as Timor-Leste only produces 80 tonnes of rice per year.

The reason Timor-Leste is continuing to import rice from abroad is because of the  recorded population in TL is 1.2 million based on the 2015 census, and according to WFP calculation, a person consumes 250 gram of rice per day, thus for one month they need 90 kilograms. The number is multiplied to the total population in Timor-Leste, every year TL consume 103 tonnes of rice.

Timor-Leste mostly imports rice from Vietnam and Thailand.

Journalist: Felicidade Ximenes

Editor : Agapito dos Santos/Nick Kettle

Translation: Nelia Borges



  1. If a person eats 250g/day, they consume 7.5kg/month, that’s about 90kg per year, not per month (actually 91.25kg)

    You don’t need to base population on data 5 years out of date (T-L’s birth rate is second worst outside sub-Saharan Africa) – you can use https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/timor-leste-population/ which tells us it’s closer to 1.32M than to 1.2M

    When you use a machine translator, it sees the Portuguese number 103.000 (one hundred and three thousand) and ‘translates’ it to one hundred and three, because in English the . is followed by fractions, not thousands/ millions etc. Similarly the reference to 80 tonnes of imported and 40 tonnes of local production are of course wrong. You need to correct this before posting the English version.

    91.25kg x 1.32M is 120,450 tonnes/year – that makes sense because it’s about 80,000 + 40,000

    It would be good it you could post links to your original sources (the WFP report and the MAF study).

    Keep up the good work, and always check your arithmetic.

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