MP proposes new policy on releasing land for agriculture

Madaveli MP Hussain Firushaan. A policy on how land can be released for agriculture through councils was submitted to the Economic Committee of the Parliament on April 8, 2020 by MP Firushaan. (Photo/Parliament)

A policy on how land can be released for agriculture through councils has been submitted to the Economic Committee of the Parliament.

The Maldives is working to alleviate the economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the country, and agriculture is one of the main areas the government is focusing on diversifying the economy towards.

The proposed policy was submitted by Madaveli MP Hussain Firushaan yesterday. The policy stated that employees in the country were being dismissed as the sources of income into the country dry up. He made three proposals to address this issue.

The three proposals by the MP are:

  • Arrangements to be made so that councils can release land for agriculture in islands abundant in land under a policy to the residents of the island, and convenient arrangements for STO to purchase the crops.
  • Monitoring whether the islands uninhabited islands released for agricultural purposes are utilized and ensuring that the workers involved in the projects are locals.
  • Opening up the lagoons under the jurisdiction of islands for sea cucumber farming and fishing purposes.

Speaking with “Sun” Firushaan stated that the purpose of the proposals was to reduce the challenges faced in some islands over releasing land at a time when the government was working to develop the sector in the country.

“I want to utilize the land in islands for every citizen, especially this who have lost their source of income, to obtain income from the agricultural lands,” said MP Firushaan.

State Trading Organization (STO) has announced that it will be purchasing the products grown by local farmers and Firushaan stated that he wanted to ensure that the public can obtain the full advantages of the opportunity extended by STO.

He added that the councils should release land, even if temporarily, at this time. The Economic Committee of the Parliament would hold discussions over the matter and advise the councils and the government on the issue.

He also accused that some of the islands released for agricultural purposes were not being used for the purpose.

A similar proposal has been made to the Decentralization Committee of the parliament as well. The main opposition party PPM’s deputy leader and MP for Naifaru Ahmed Shiyam have proposed to amend how land is released from islands. He proposed to allow more than one party to conduct agricultural projects in islands. The Committee has not yet decided on the proposal.

The Maldivian economy is heavily dependent on tourism. The industry has suffered unprecedented setbacks since the government halted the arrival of tourists into the country as a preventive measure against the Covuid-19 virus.