Maldives Partners with China to Develop Agricultural Zone in Uthuru Thilafalhu

Photo: MIDFZ Plc

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been inked between the Maldives Industrial Development Free Zone Plc (MIDFZ) and China Harbor Engineering Company Limited, seeking to establish an Agricultural Economic Zone (AEZ) in Uthuru Thilafalhu.

The MoU was signed today by State Trading Organization (STO) Managing Director (MD) and CEO Shimad Ibrahim, with Country Manager Mao Bao representing China Harbor Engineering Company Limited. 

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According to a statement released by MIDFZ today, the agreement marks a critical juncture in Maldives’ journey towards bolstering the agricultural sector and reducing dependency on food imports. With approximately 90% of food consumed in the Maldives being sourced from overseas, the agreement signals a concerted effort to diversify the economy and mitigate the vulnerabilities associated with heavy reliance on imported goods.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Shimad highlighted the importance of the project, noting that despite the State Trading Organization’s responsibility to facilitate fresh produce, the Maldives, being heavily reliant on imports, has never embarked on such a large-scale initiative before. He highlighted the project’s potential to modernize farming practices, create employment opportunities for Maldivians, and drive advancements in mariculture and aquaculture.

The project, which commenced following an agreement signed during President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu’s official visit to China, will see the development of agricultural zones in Uthuru Thilafalhu, chosen to meet the demand in the Male’ region.

Key components of the agreement include land reclamation, infrastructure development, an agricultural industrial park, and construction of passenger and freight terminals, among other essential facilities.

MIDFZ emphasized that the project would serve as a catalyst to attract significant investment in the Maldivian agricultural sector. By enhancing domestic production and reducing reliance on imports, the initiative aims to diversify and expand the range of food products available in the market, thereby contributing to economic revitalization and reducing foreign currency outflow.

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