Official inauguration of Contract Farming under ‘SEEDs’ project, focused on COVID-19 economic recovery
- Project is a part of UNDP global programme in the amount of US$1,449,360 focused on the Maldives, supported by Government of Japan
- Promotes green farming practices, food security and enables creation of jobs for the most vulnerable to recover from the COVID-19 crisis
June 1, 2021: The official inauguration ceremony of Contract Farming under the ‘Sustainable Economic Empowerment and Development for SMEs’ (SEEDS) project, initiated in selected islands of Laamu Atoll was held today, organized by Agro National Corporation Ltd (AgroNat). Focused in Laamu Atoll, under this farming component of the SEEDs project, over 250 smallholder farmers will be supported to improve food production and will receive vital support in training and other support packages, including a platform for farmers to market and sell their produce through AgroNat. As of today, a total of 112 farmers from seven islands have joined in the new contracting farming model led by the AgroNat, and starter packs including production material, tools, pipelines, pumps and other materials needed are being delivered to the farmers.
The farming component led by Agro National Corporation Ltd, in collaboration with Laamu Atoll and Island Councils, is supported by the Ministry of Economic Development and Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture. SEEDs project is funded by the Japanese Government, with support of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Maldives.
The project will promote economic diversification through empowered MSMEs and create a new generation of agri-businesses that are innovative, productive and practice environment-friendly agriculture. Prioritizing support to households that have been directly affected, the project will focus on those who are not employed and or out of the labour force – this includes unemployed young women and men who are actively seeking employment, persons with disabilities (PWDs) without employment opportunities available for them, and women who are seeking to earn an income but may not be able to do full-time salaried work. Women are often underrepresented in agribusiness, but in the Contract Farming component of the SEEDs project, 46% of participants are women. Greater gender representation on agriculture is important as it has a direct impact of household and national food security, and contributed to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.
“The project is innovative, in the sense that the support to farmers will ultimately be sustainable by linking it to the supply chains of nearby resorts and markets. The project is visionary, because it targets young people and women in the atoll islands, thereby providing opportunities for them to stay in the islands and continue to develop the future of those islands. Local government has been revitalized through increased women’s participation both with the newly elected local councils, with their one-third seats reserved for women, and through the contribution of Women’s Development Committees. UNDP is very hopeful that this project will not only make a meaningful contribution to the islands’ sustainable economic development, but will also accelerate social and economic gender equality.,” said UNDP Resident Representative, Akiko Fujii speaking at the virtual launch event.
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