Japan has committed a grant of USD 2.7 million (MVR 42.7 million) to the Project for Developing Sustainable Agricultural Economy (PDSAE) - a project which complements the existing Sustainable Economic Empowerment and Development for SMEs (SEEDS) project, and aims to further strengthen local productivity of agricultural produce in Maldives.
The grant agreement for the UNDP-run project was signed by Japanese Ambassador to Maldives, Keiko Yanai and UNDP Resident Representative in Maldives, Enrico Gaveglia on Tuesday.
A project document was also signed by Fisheries Minister Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan and Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail together with the UNDP Resident Representative to seal the implementation plan which will last up to October 2024.
PDSAE builds on the success of the Phase I of the SEEDS project, which was aimed to promote economic diversification through empowered Micro, Small and Medium sized Enterprises (MSMEs), to create a new generation of agri-businesses that are innovative and productive, and to practice environmentally sustainable agriculture.
Phase II of the project - 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.
The PDSAE project will be centered around:
Speaking at the ceremony, Keiko expressed hope of seeing the continuation of joint efforts for building a long-term strategic partnership between all stakeholders to enhance food security in Maldives.
“The timing of this project is very opportune because the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the risks, fragilities and inequalities in the global agri-food systems. And especially for the Maldives, the pandemic has highlighted the importance of resilience, self-sufficiency and diversification, as well as the need to integrate sustainability in economic, social and environmental dimensions throughout our agri-food systems,” she said.
Economic Minister Fayyaz said the emphasis on recovery initiatives is to create greater resiliency within the economy.
He said that the PDSAE will 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.
Fisheries Minister Dr. Hussain described the initiative as a historic journey towards food security in Maldives.
“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,” he said.
UNDP Resident Representative Gaveglia reiterated the organization’s commitment to the development and diversification of the Maldivian economy.
“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,” he said.
Japan has been actively contributing to global efforts to overcome the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the pandemic began, Japan has committed grants in the total value of approximately USD 8.5 million to Maldives. This has included support to improve health services in atolls and regional hospitals across Maldives, support to Small and Medium Enterprises in agri-businesses affected by the pandemic and assisting the country in building a sustainable immunization supply chain system.
Japan also extended USD 47.5 million to Maldives as a 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”.