The Tree Planting Initiative Reducing Poverty in Timor-Leste

The Tree Planting Initiative Reducing Poverty in Timor-Leste

By now you may know that for every kilo of coffee roasted we plant and nurture a tree, but you might have wondered how we get from coffee to trees and why it’s so important. Introducing WithOneSeed, a tree planting program with two objectives: reducing poverty and fighting climate change.


Across the world, forest loss is linked to growing poverty rates. With forests in Timor-Leste having declined every year since 1975, this has (and will continue to have) alarming repercussions for its population. When forests are destroyed, local people often lose access to food, fuel, water and other goods they rely on. Additionally, deforestation contributes to climate change which impacts the development of poor countries. Already 41% of Timorese people live below the poverty line and sadly these are the same people likely to be further disadvantaged by this continuous deforestation and climate change. 


Given many subsistence farmers in Timor-Leste  live off less than $1 a day, crops that generate income have always been a priority. Understandably so, given this is often their entire livelihood and means to feed their families. However, over the last 11 years WithOneSeed has worked with farmers to turn trees into income. Through the WithOneSeed program, tree nurseries are set up in remote villages and local subsistence farmers are paid an annual fee to plant and maintain these seedlings on their land. By paying farmers to plant and maintain trees as well as their own crops, WithOneSeed is helping to mitigate climate change and break the cycle between tree loss and poverty. 


To date, over 980 small landholders have planted more than 200,000 trees, sequestering 80,000 tonnes of CO2. This has given villages 45,000 carbon credits to sell on to the global market, bringing in over $500,000 to the local economy. With over 5% of Baguia farmers now directly involved in planting and managing trees, this flows on to just under 30% of the population financially benefiting from WithOneSeed. 

But the good news doesn’t stop there! More trees not only equals more money in farmers’ pockets, it means better soil conditions for their existing crops to grow in, which in turn generates them even more income. When there’s more money in communities, more children finish school and more families have food security. It’s a win-win-win. 


You already contribute to this incredible program with every cup or bag of coffee you buy from us, so keep drinking the coffee that plants trees and we’ll keep supporting programs like these that actually make a difference. To show even more support to the planet and Timorese subsistence communities you can also buy WithOneSeed tree packs from our shop. 

To learn more about the program, head over to our friends at WithOneSeed.