Enhancing urban agriculture in the Maldives through engagement and innovation

Enhancing urban agriculture in the Maldives through engagement and innovation

This project aims to enable increased domestic food production and increase food resiliency in the Maldives. Through protected farming systems, hydroponic systems and regenerative farming systems, and with a particular focus on increasing the participation of women and youth, the project will support nutritious food supply at home, community and commercial levels.
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In February 2024, enCity associate Kimberly Lum visited the island nation of Maldives as part of the project with ADB on agri-food system transformation. This is an exciting new project undertaken in collaboration with Agritecture, a leading consultant in urban and controlled environment agriculture based in the USA, and with support from enCity’s agriculture experts Ibrahim Shabau and Adam Adheel in Maldives.

This project aims to enable increased domestic food production and increase food resiliency in the Maldives. Through protected farming systems, hydroponic systems and regenerative farming systems, and with a particular focus on increasing the participation of women and youth, the project will support nutritious food supply at home, community and commercial levels.

The site visit was packed with meetings with stakeholders, including the Ministry of Environment, the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, city councils and island councils of the study locations, and representatives from the national agriculture initiatives AgroNat and Maldives Agriculture Project (MAP). The team studied the existing situation, examined past projects to support local production, and explored new concepts ranging from a hybrid farm-and-café model to high-tech agribusiness incubators.

The team also met with local farmers in Haa Dhaalu Atoll working with AgroNat, the state-owned enterprise created to develop the agriculture sector, and visited home gardens with the Women’s Development Council of Kulhudhuffushi island. Local farmers shared their typical practices, business goals and resource needs.

The islands of Haa Dhaalu Atoll (Source: Google Earth)

Understanding the geographical challenges of this island nation and the very real livelihood concerns of the farmers offers some crucial lessons for project success:

Firstly, solutions must be low-cost and implementable while offering a stable source of income.

Secondly, proposed solutions have to engage other players in the supply chain so that producers are connected to the market.

Thirdly, allocation and supporting infrastructure are essential to promoting agriculture as an economic sector.

In the coming months, enCity will continue working with our partners to develop innovative yet context-specific solutions that build capacity of local producers and create long-lasting impact for these communities.

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Understanding the geographical challenges of this island nation and the very real livelihood concerns of the farmers offers some crucial lessons for project success.

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