200 hectors will be reclaimed from UTF for agriculture economic zone

President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu addresses a campaign rally on March 29, 2024. (Photo/PPM)

200 hectors of land will be reclaimed from the Uthuru Thila Falhu (UTF) to develop an Agriculture Economic Zone (AEZ) for enhanced food security, according to President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

Maldives Industrial Development Freezone (MIDFZ) and China Harbor Engineering Company (CHEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding to spearhead the development of an AEZ on Thursday.

Addressing a campaign event on Friday night, President Muizzu said his administration has initiated efforts to stop the high spending on import of produce that can be grown locally.

“We have initiated efforts to grow all produce that can be grown locally to meet the demand of the Maldivian people and to establish independence in this. Food security will be established fully during this administration,” he said.

He said that 200 hectors of land will be reclaimed from UTF for the AEZ, and that the project would also involve agricultural islands in the atolls.

“Once we end these imports, it will rejuvenate our economy. We don’t plan on stopping there. The second phase, once we establish enough food security to feed the Maldivian people, will be to grow enough food to cater to the tourism industry,” he said.

President Muizzu said that self-reliance is the best measure that can be taken towards the country’s future.

The AEZ marks a pivotal stride towards bolstering food security, economic rejuvenation, and minimizing reliance on imports.

The project’s scope encompasses land acquisition, primary infrastructure development, establishment of agricultural industrial parks, and the creation of passenger and freight terminals. Additionally, plans include setting up a vegetable and fruit manufacturing base, an agricultural resilience training facility, and a logistics hub to streamline distribution.