The island nation’s dependence on foreign trade for its food products is dangerously high. Achieving food independence means that the region grows its own food and isn’t dependent on imports for it. By developing agriculture, it also builds resilience and supports the local economy.
In 1994, taking up the initiative offered by the government of Maldives, Seagull Group launched a diversified agriculture and fisheries project on the uninhabited island of Maafahi located at the southern end of Haa Alif Atoll about 8km from the Hanimadhoo International Airport.
Maafahi initially consisted of agricultural activities. The main focus was to determine a bundle of fruits and vegetables that could be grown in the local environment for most parts of the year. In this regard, papaya, banana, passion fruit, chilli (githeyo mirus) all were successfully grown year around. A lot of work was also done in planting coconut, which today is showing significant results.
Very early in the project, it was realized that for the project to be financially viable, more activities were needed. This resulted in setting up a fish processing facility concentrating on Maldive fish, salted reef fish, smoked tuna, frozen tuna and reef fish.
It was felt that a goat farm would further complement the other two activities, helping stabilize the revenue. Today all three activities are being focused on with greater vigour.
Seagull Group being closely associated with Voyages Maldives and its safari program, it also became necessary for the Group to build a boat building and maintenance yard. Maafahi was the obvious location.
This has vastly helped the local community and supporting the communities of surrounding islands is a very high priority of this project. All schools are encouraged to visit the island where experiences are shared to enhance their knowledge.
The company also assists in the transport of local produce and people in the neighbouring islands to Male’. Further, great support is given to local growers with planting material and know-how.
Check out Maafahi Organic & Agriculture Products here.