The government of Maldives has announced its decision to allocate agricultural lands for free, in an effort to ensure food security amidst the Covid-19 pandemic.
Announcing the decision, Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture of the Maldives, Zaha Waheed mentioned that the lands would be allocated to interested parties for a period of three years from islands where land is available, in coordination with the respective local councils.
She further mentioned that the lands would be allocated based on a guideline set by the ministry and that the receiving party would have to disclose what would be grown in the lands and would have to sign an agreement with the local council.
“We want this work to be done with results, not just to allocate some lands. To produce at least 25% of food required, to ensure our food security and self-sufficiency.” Minister Zaha said.
Minister Zaha also stated that the lands would be checked to make sure agricultural activities are in fact taking place in the islands.
Speaking in the same press conference, Economic Minister, Fayyaz Ismail stated that 17 species of food have been identified as those possible to be grown in the Maldives and that the goal is to decrease the import of these 17 types by 50% in the future.
He further explained that this is to be achieved by allocating a quota of the 17 types to the 44 main agricultural islands of the country.
The government of Maldives has been encouraging citizens to start agricultural activity as much as possible to overcome the economic crisis of and to ensure food security of the country. State Trading Organization (STO) has also announced that it will be buying the local agricultural produce at a good price.