With the strong demand for quality agricultural produce in the tourism sector and a general trend towards healthy consumption, agribusiness has great potential for growth in the Maldives.
The agriculture sector’s contribution from a livelihood and employment perspective is significant and it is vital to the economy in terms of its economic and social welfare value. Hence expansion and development of the sector is a priority of the government.
The government’s strategy to develop the agriculture sector includes strengthening agricultural value chains and productive capacity of farmers, increasing the role of agriculture in achieving food safety and food security, mainstreaming sustainable agricultural practices, strengthening institutional coordination, policy and regulatory framework of the sector and strengthening research in alternative agricultural technologies.
While most of the agricultural produce from the islands is used for local consumption in the islands and atolls, a large part of the harvest is sent to Male’, where it is sold for local consumption or by tourist resorts and other tourist facilities. Several commercial agricultural islands are being operated successfully, catering mainly to the tourism sector.
The objective of the government is to establish medium scale production facilities and identify crops and animals for value addition, development of urban agricultural models for edible crops and aesthetic plants (flowering, medicinal, and aromatic plants), increasing production of traditional crops to ensure nutrition safety of communities and increasing production of selected crops to achieve self-sufficiency and reduction of imports.
Opportunities for investment
Value addition through post-harvest technologies
A wide range of local produce is harvested in farming islands which has potential for investments to preserve and add value through post-harvest technologies for processing, packaging and branding, which offers scalability and supply to new markets at premium rates.
Climate smart and precision farming technologies
Opportunities are open for partnerships, which can bring in technologies to improve harvests, and introduce new and adoptive post-harvest technologies to process local fruits and vegetables such as mango, coconut, papaya, and chili.
Infrastructure development investment in agriculture
Opportunities for investment in the development of market infrastructure such as modern storage facilities which would address issues of food safety and hygiene, reduce wastage and improve profitability along the agricultural value chain.
The geography of Maldives demands a complex transportation mechanism to develop and sustain agriculture as a feasible economic activity. Opportunities exist for investment in the establishment of a mobile marketing and haulage ferry service “Agri-Boat” to link producers to markets with purpose-built transportation vessels.
Commercial poultry and animal farming
Opportunities are open for investors to develop commercial poultry and animal farming in selected islands, to cater to the lucrative tourism sector and the rapidly growing domestic market, currently catered to by imports.