Promising agriculturist from Timor-Leste is SEARCA’s Emerging Leader in Transition Economies awardee

  • 3 November 2016

Mr. Agustinho Ximenes

Despite being a young nation, Timor-Leste's growth and development are boosted by the country's young leaders and intellectuals with their passion and dedication to service. Mr. Agustinho Ximenes is one of these emerging intellectuals who cultivated a love for the land and plants.

Mr. Ximenes earned his Master's degree in Agronomy in 2010 from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB), which he completed through the SEARCA scholarship program. Motivated by his desire to impart more knowledge to his country’s future leaders and help find solutions to the growing food insecurity in Timor-Leste, he dove headfirst into development work by managing projects on livelihood for non-governmental organizations and international donor agencies, including the Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

As the National Food Security Officer of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO) in Timor-Leste, he helped improve the government’s capacity to collect, analyze, and disseminate information from the National Information and Early Warning System on Food Security. In turn, this enabled the stakeholders to make informed decisions in response to challenges on food security and nutrition in vulnerable communities. As a direct result of his efforts, the National Food and Nutrition Security Policy, the Zero Hunger National Action Plan, and the policy on the proper management of rice imports in Timor-Leste were developed.

His involvement in the Agricultural Science Institute of Timor-Leste, a youth-related organization that promotes knowledge and learning through research and evidence-based interventions, is just one of the many ways he pays it forward. Wanting to curb food insecurity and malnutrition in his country, he continues to contribute to the scientific research on maize to increase food crop productivity and diversification. Spoken like a true leader, he takes it as his responsibility to get his younger counterparts interested in farming and agriculture.

With his continuous contributions toward nation-building, policy formulation, and program delivery, Mr. Ximenes is one of SEARCA's Emerging Leaders in Transition Economies (ELITE) awardees. The award recognizes the graduate scholarship alumni who are actively contributing to the rebuilding of their nations through their transformative leadership. This is the first time since its establishment that SEARCA will be giving such prestigious recognition to its alumni, who it considers as ambassadors for agriculture and rural development in the region. Together with the 11 Outstanding SEARCA Scholarship Alumni laureates, the ELITE awardees will be honored during SEARCA’s golden anniversary celebration on 25 November 2016. (Eriza C. Asilo)