President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Sunday stated that the administration has increased the amount of the agricultural loan offered to farmers to MVR 2 Million to address their concerns and grievances. He made this remark while speaking at the official ceremony held in Kaashidhoo Island in Kaafu Atoll to commemorate National Farmer's Day and World Food Day 2022.
The President said that the biggest obstacles to agricultural development are space constraints and the lack of financing available for farmers. He highlighted that the amendments to the Decentralisation Act had empowered local councils, giving them jurisdiction over allocating land plots on their respective islands. The President called on local councils to facilitate long-term agricultural investments in the islands by allotting land for farmers.
President Solih emphasised the Economic Ministry's role in agricultural development and noted the MVR 2 Million loans made available to farmers. He also stated that the administration would continue to encourage private agrarian investments.
Speaking about the initiatives to ensure food security in the Maldives, the President said that efforts were underway to produce crops that are easily grown locally. He said that 17 crops have been identified so far and that the Agro National Corporation (AgroNat) will oversee the purchasing process and ensure that the produce reaches the markets. The President noted that import duties on produce that is easily grown in the Maldives should be raised.
In his speech, the President underscored the possibility that unhealthy food consumption contributes to the prevalence of non-communicable diseases in society, and he stated that both developed and developing countries intend to transition to organic farming. He elaborated on the importance of transitioning to organic farming, stating that local farmers must consider the benefits of organic farming, even if it cannot be accomplished overnight. He then discussed the impact on Sri Lankan farmers as a result of the sudden shift to organic farming.
Speaking at the official ceremony to commemorate National Farmer's Day and World Food Day 2022, the President stated that despite its long farming history, Kaashidhoo Island had never had the opportunity to celebrate such an occasion on a national scale. He also discussed the difficulties and concerns of the island's farmers.
At tonight’s ceremony, the President presented commemorative plaques to the nine recipients who had provided outstanding services to the agricultural field. Following the event, President Solih attended a special banquet hosted to mark National Farmer's Day and World Food Day.