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Agriculture is a critical sector for Timor-Leste. Over 70% of the population relies on agriculture as their main source of income. Coffee is Timor-Leste’s primary non-oil export. Investors in Timor-Leste agriculture sector can target the domestic and import substitution markets or focus on exports of high-value cash crops.

Government actions in the agriculture sector are aiming to improve productivity, increase farmer incomes and ensure food security. Government aims to promote food in the domestic market as well as diversify and improve production for export. Major initiatives from government include the creation of a Coffee Sector Development Plan; rehabilitation of coffee growing areas; Forestry Sector Development Plan; planting of high-value hardwood species; and the opening up of new agricultural land through the construction of irrigation infrastructure.

Agricultural products with potential for investment in Timor-Leste include:

Coffee, Sandalwood, Cashew, Cocoa, Candlenut, Nutmeg, Coconut, Vanilla, Clove, Cinnamon, Cassava, Corn, Mangoes, Horticulture (Fruits, Vegetable, Tomatoes, Potatoes, etc), Fisheries, Aquaculture, Livestock and Agro forestry.

Government is actively promoting aquaculture through the National Aquaculture Strategy. This strategy supports investment in fishponds to grow tilapia as well as seaweed, shrimp and crab. Government is also investing in the physical and regulatory infrastructure to support commercial marine fisheries. Government issued new commercial fishing licenses in 2017 to sustainably harvest Timor-Leste’s fisheries stocks.