Just cut the Cabbage.
I once had an extremely competent colleague in New York who loved to refer to office nonsense as “cabbage”.
“Oh they were just talking alot of cabbage”, he used to say.
“Lets cut the cabbage”, was another expression he liked to use.
However, some time ago I was driving through the central region of Timor-Leste and came across a mountainside of cabbage. The real thing. It was near Atara in the Atsabe area, Ermera District. This is one of the more isolated parts of the country as it sits at almost the very top of the mountain chain that runs more or less east-west along the middle of the country.
This cabbage presented itself to me in what seemed like a wave of terraces. It was really quite impressive. I thought to myself that few people outside of Timor-Leste realise the extent to which there is some small but considerable potential for agribusiness in the Timorese hinterland. What strikes me is that quality issues, supply chains and all that stuff aside that there is a massive demand in Indonesia for stuff – be it cattle, mungbeans, soybeans etc. I suppose harnessing that demand in order to create systems whereby that stuff can end up on Indonesian plates is the way to go.
Anyway, what about “Timorese Cabbage Soup” on Jl. Thamrin in Jakarta one day? With a population 225 times the size of Timor-Leste, Indonesia is jam packed with “demand” for potential Timorese “supply”.
Here is an idea. What about the notion of reparations for damage and destruction for the 1975-1999 period via redressing the trade imbalance between the two countries? Perhaps the Indonesian Government could grant Timor-Leste a range of advantages? Dropping trade barriers? Direct investment? Training of business people and farmers? Certainly there are very major obstacles to increasing the trade of cattle to Indonesia.
If you want to buy these cabbages, or anything else for that matter, contact the Peace Dividend Marketplace Timor-Leste project via firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you get in touch with the growers.
Anyway have fun looking at the now famous “Cabbage Terraces of Atsabe“.