Vinsen – sustainable food for life

To combat the variable weather patterns affecting farmers in Vinsen’s village, a local community program supported by Caritas Australia, is teaching farmers how to terrace land and grow sustainable crops for life, regardless of the changing weather.

Now there is always cassava, banana and taro in the garden. We will not be hungry."

Vinsen is a farmer living in West Timor, Indonesia. While poor soil quality and erosion meant farming was always difficult for Vinsen, at least the weather was predictable. However, in recent years, weather patterns have become increasingly erratic in Vinsen’s region. In 2010 and 2011, Vinsen’s village was hit by heavy rains and strong winds, which destroyed crops and killed livestock. Incomes plummeted and famine spread throughout the area.


Wanting to protect his family’s future, Vinsen enrolled in the Sustainable Agriculture Program– an initiative supported by Caritas Australia and run by local partner Yayasan Mitra Tani Mandiri (YMTM). Respecting the environment and our role as Stewards of Creation, the YMTM Program provides training for farmers and a YMTM representative in each village helps and advises farmers on challenges.

The farmers in Vinsen’s village learnt to terrace their land, helping them to stabilise land against landslide, combat erosion and harness valuable rainfall. They also learnt how to plant long-term crops in addition to short life-span crops like vegetables, which allows them to build a stable livelihood and survive crop fluctuations and unexpected weather changes.

Since the YMTM Program, Vinsen’s income has increased by 25 percent and his family now lives without fear of food insecurity.

“Before the program I was very anxious,” says Vinsen. “But now I do not worry. There is always cassava, banana and taro in the garden. We will not be hungry.”

Vinsen is now passing on his knowledge by training others in his community and encouraging others to take part in the program.

“I have a prosperous life,” says Vinsen. “Thank you so much to the people of Australia who have helped support YMTM.

Thank you so much to the people of Australia.”

This program is supported by Australian aid.