Minister: Obstructions faced by farmers being resolved; small-scale farmers can now get loans

Farmland in AA. Thoddoo. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Underscoring the biggest obstruction to local farmers as lack of financial assistance required to thrive – Fisheries and Agriculture Minister Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan, on Sunday, has remarked the issue has now been resolved.

Speaking to Sun on the occasion of National Farmers Day, Minister Hassan said small-scale farmers can now withdraw unsecured loans up to MVR 100,000 without any collateral.

“Loan can be received by filing applications with the agricultural SME bank,” he added.

Minister Hassan also noted that farmers who wished to withdraw higher amounts of loans can do so, at an interest rate of just six percent.

He also said a market has been ensured for farmers’ products as of present, with most farmers selling their products through AgroNat.

Farmland in AA. Thoddoo. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

“The best market in the Maldives is the tourism sector. They wish to purchase when high-end products are farmed. But the catch is, there needs to be an uninterrupted supply if it is for them,” he said.

Minister Hassan said some local farmers have been making a profit by catering to the tourism sector.

Speaking further, the Minister, underscoring difficulties were also faced in light of limited land availability in the Maldives, emphasized the need to utilize technology when farming with limited land.

“Even in islands where land is available, the councils have to lease the land for at least 10 years. It is very difficult for councils to lease the land at a modest price. Therewith, in the future, farming needs to be facilitated in uninhabited islands in addition to residential islands,” he said.

In this trajectory, he underscored the amendment made to the law to pave the way for farmers to rent land in uninhabited islands as an important step towards boosting the agricultural sector.