A. Dh. Maamingili Council has announced the decision to release more land from the island for farming.
The council said in its announcement that it wished to increase its agricultural produce in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and had therefore made the decision to issue land for farming based on land availability.
It has announced that 80 plots of land which are currently vacant will be issued to farmers for a six-month duration, rent free.
The plots of land range from 4,000 square feet to 6,000 square feet in size.
At the same time, the council will also not take rent from farmers who won fields through bidding in the month of April and May.
The new fields will be issued following a draw among households which had not won any fields through bidding. Those who had won fields through bidding will need to relinquish their right to the fields if they wish to enter the draw for the new fields.
Those who wish to enter the draw have been instructed to submit the application form by April 15. Applications must be limited to one per household.
The council has also urged that farming be conducted in more than 400 houses which lay vacant.
Maldives, which is highly dependent on imports, has been hit hard by the new coronavirus pandemic. Following the disruption in global transport due to the pandemic, the Maldivian government is urging an increase in investments towards the local agricultural industry.
State Trading Organization (STO) has announced it will open an AgriCenter in May, and has pledged to purchase all locally grown produce at better prices than market prices.
Several councils have now begun issuing land for farming without any rent.