FARMERS struggling to keep their land in Indonesian occupied East Timor are to be given a helping hand from the Catholic Fund for Overseas Development.
New agricultural developments and skills training will be provided in the remote parish of Suai in the south of the island in an attempt to bolster the extent of the cultivated area. CAFOD hopes that improvements will thwart a takeover of Timorese fields by the Indonesian government. colony of East Timor was invaded by the Indonesian army in 1975. As much as one third of the Catholic Timorese population is believed to have been killed during the 16 years of Indonesian occupation.
"Given that many Timorese are having their land taken away and that their culture is vanishing at an alarming rate, support for communities in Timor is a matter of extreme urgency," said Angelo Simonazzi, CAFOD's regional project officer who has recently returned from East Timor.