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Balibo, Timor-Leste
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Highlands rice paddies Balibo  Timor-Leste

Highlands rice paddies

While rice is grown in Timor-Leste, it is not grown well. The country still suffers from annual "hungry seasons," where crops fail and villagers literally starve for several months. Malnutrition remains pervasive, and Timor-Leste is one of the top three countries in the world for child malnutrition and stunting with estimates that 54% of children are chronically malnourished. In this area, along the western border, the problem is particuarly acute with around 75% of children stunted. Programs to improve rice yield and quality have been run by a range of donors, but progress remains slow in the face of a rapidly growing population.