The ‘Project for Developing Sustainable Agricultural Economy’ (PDSAE) was signed yesterday. Complementing the existing ‘Sustainable Economic Empowerment and Development for SMEs’ (SEEDS) project, this new initiative aims to further strengthen local productivity of agricultural produce in the Maldives.
The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives, will partner with the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture and the Ministry of Economic Development on this initiative, backed by the generous support of the Government of Japan committing a grant amount to the tune of USD 2.7 million (approximately 302 million Japanese Yen, equivalent to 41.7 million Maldivian Rufiyaa).
The ceremony saw a contribution agreement signed between Japan and UNDP by Her Excellency Keiko Yanai, Ambassador of Japan to the Maldives and Mr. Enrico Gaveglia, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives. A project document was also signed by the ministers of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture and Economic Development together with the UNDP Resident Representative to seal the implementation plan which will last up to October 2024.
“This fund will allow the Maldives to increase its capacity to develop and diversify the agriculture sector at this very crucial time. It marks the beginning of a very historical journey towards food security of the Maldives and will make a huge positive impact on the lives of the people of Maldives working in the agriculture sector,” said Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan, speaking at the signing ceremony held in Hulhumalé yesterday morning.
The ‘Project for Developing Sustainable Agricultural Economy’ (PDSAE) will focus on enhancing food security in Maldives, and enable more entrepreneurs interested in the agricultural businesses to enter the sector, and facilitate secondary and tertiary production of related commodities, including foodstuff and textiles.
In relation to yesterday’s signing, Minister of Economic Development, Uz. Fayyaz Ismail indicated that an important emphasis of the recovery initiatives is to create greater resiliency within the economy, and that the initiative would be an important step forward to re-energize the economy towards a more sustainable future; focusing on crucial elements such as food security, economic diversification and ensuring the continuity of MSMEs.
The PDSAE project will be centered around:
- Strengthening assistance to increase local farmer expertise in agriculture;
- Enhancing agricultural capacities and opportunities to ensure food security; and
- Enhancing support industries and value-added services to augment agro-businesses.
The Government of Japan has been actively contributing to global efforts to overcome COVID 19 impacts. Since the outbreak of the pandemic, Japan has committed grants in the total value of approximately USD 8.5 million to the Maldives. This has included support to improve health services in atolls and regional hospitals across the Maldives, support to Small and Medium sized Enterprises in agri-businesses affected by the pandemic and assisting the country in building a sustainable immunization supply chain system. In addition to these grants, Japan extended USD 47.5 million to the Government of Maldives as ‘The COVID-19 Crisis Response Emergency Support Loan’, while 112,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine manufactured in Japan was donated to the country through the COVAX facility as part of Japan’s “Last One Mile Support”.
“The timing of this project is very opportune, given the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed the risks, fragilities and inequalities characterizing the global agri-food systems. And especially for the Maldives, where the pandemic has also heightened the importance of resilience, self-sufficiency and diversification, and the need to integrate sustainability in economic, social and environmental dimensions throughout our agro-food systems,” Ambassador of Japan to the Maldives, Keiko Yanai said, indicating hopes for the continuation of efforts towards building long-term strategic partnerships between all the stakeholders to enhance food security in the Maldives.
“Today’s signing is a concrete signal of our joint commitment to Build Forward Better. The seeds have been sown through phase I. Yet, COVID-19 is not a stand-alone event, it is a protracted crisis and calls for a sustained new formula of support. The new project ensures the doors remain wide open for those interested in the business to enter the agricultural sector and keep the wheels of opportunity in motion. So that more people can benefit. So that economic diversification can kick-in to complement known roads for economic recovery. UNDP remains committed to work with our partners and the people of Maldives to enrich the ecosystem of development in a way that it is multisectoral by design, with stronger value chains, and with ultimate gains on the last mile – accelerating progress on the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Enrico Gaveglia, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives.
Together with UNDP, and the Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, the ‘Project for Developing Sustainable Agricultural Economy’ (PDSAE) will be implemented in partnership with Agro National Corporation (AgroNat), Maldives Fund Management Corporation (MFMC), the Business Center Corporation (BCC) and Housing Development Corporation (HDC).