Agriculture is the most important economic sector in Timor-Leste. The sector provides subsistence to about 80% of the country’s population, and it generates an average of 90% of the exports. Most farmers practice subsistence farming, planting and harvesting what they need for their own consumption, collecting wild foods and traditional medicines, and animals are left free to grow and reproduce. There are almost no large-scale farms. The principal staple crops are rice and maize, with estimated production areas of 38,000 ha for rice and 120.000 ha for maize. Most common commercial crops are Arabica coffee, chimeri (candlenut tree), vanilla and coconut. Coffee is grown largely at high elevations in the districts of Liquica, Ermera, Ainaro, Bobonaro and Aileu. However, land suitable for rice production is limited and maize is more widely grown in the uplands, including hillsides. Irrigation water in many of the irrigated rice areas is available only when the river water level has increased to the level of the intake of the irrigation systems. Cropping systems vary depending on topography, elevation, and rainfall pattern. One or two crops of rice dominate the cropping system in the irrigated or rainfed areas of the northern lowlands.
This section provides a summary of key natural hazards and their associated socioeconomic impacts in a given country. It allows for a quick assessment of most vulnerable areas through the spatial comparison of natural hazard data with development data, thereby identifying exposed livelihoods and natural systems.