Report on Women in Agriculture in Timor-Leste

State of Emergency and COVID impacts

Women in Agriculture in Timor-Leste
Paper author: 
Li Li Chen
Paper publication date: 
Wednesday, September 23, 2020

This report presents findings on the impact of COVID-19 and the associated State of Emergency from March – June 2020 on women in agriculture in Timor-Leste. The findings were gathered form interviews with 266 vulnerable women in agriculture and agribusiness from six municipalities in Timor-Leste: Ermera, Dili, Liquica, Aileu, Baucau, and Manatuto. Participants included women with disabilities, widowed women and older women.

The assessment’s key findings are that:

• Women’s financial security has been affected by COVID-19: Before the State of Emergency, 66.2% of informants earned less than USD50 a month. During the State of Emergency, this group increased to 97.7%.

• Women experienced limited access to markets during the State of Emergency: 75.2% of informants had difficulty accessing the market, of which 21.4% cited lack of transportation as the main reason.

• Early warning signs of food insecurity were evident. The percentage of informants who con-sumed 3 meals a day dropped by 33.1 during the State of Emergency, while the percentage of informants who consumed only 1 and 2 meals a day increased by 15.8% and 42.5 percent respectively.

This report concludes with four policy recommendations that will enhance COVID-19 prevention and response, and reduce gender inequalities in Timor-Leste:

• Share more and better gender disaggre-gated data.

• Put gender as a central issue for policy preparedness, response, and implemen-tation.

• Target access to information and WASH services to women.

• Build women’s economic resilience in Timor-Leste by investing better in the agriculture sector.