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UNDP, Japan, Maldives signs pact for increased food security

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United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Government of Japan, and the Government of Maldives has signed an agreement to develop agriculture in the Maldives to further increase food security.

The agreement was signed on Tuesday.

This is an initiative under the Project for Developing Sustainable Agricultural Economy (PDSAE). Under the agreement, the Government of Japan had pledged US$ 2.7 million (MVR 41.7 million) of grant aid. The agreements were signed by Her Excellency Keiko Yanai, Ambassador of Japan to the Maldives, Enrico Gaveglia, UNDP Resident Representative in the Maldives, Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan, and Minister of Economic Development, Uz. Fayyaz Ismail on behalf of their respective agencies.

A project document was also signed by the ministers of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture and Economic Development together with the UNDP Resident Representative to seal the implementation plan which will last up to October 2024.

Speaking in the ceremony, Dr. Hussain Rasheed stressed on the importance of this project to the Maldives.

“This fund will allow the Maldives to increase its capacity to develop and diversify the agriculture sector at this very crucial time. It marks the beginning of a very historical journey towards food security of the Maldives and will make a huge positive impact on the lives of the people of Maldives working in the agriculture sector,” he said.

PDSAE will focus on enhancing food security in Maldives, and enable more entrepreneurs interested in the agricultural businesses to enter the sector, and facilitate secondary and tertiary production of related commodities, including foodstuff and textiles.

“The timing of this project is very opportune, given the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed the risks, fragilities and inequalities characterizing the global agri-food systems. And especially for the Maldives, where the pandemic has also heightened the importance of resilience, self-sufficiency and diversification, and the need to integrate sustainability in economic, social and environmental dimensions throughout our agro-food systems,” said the Ambassador.

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MPS still under Home Minister: PO

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President’s Office on Tuesday stated that though Maldives Police Service (MPS) is now operating as an independent entity, the Home Minister is still the responsible figure for the agency.

Following the ratification and implementing of MPS Act, MPS would function as an independent entity, with various internal governing bodies. The Home Minister will be responsible for overseeing the body but will have no control over day to day operations.

Confusion reigned supreme following a letter sent by President’s Office to the Home Affairs, stating that MPS would function as an independent entity effective from March 27, 2021. The letter also stated the Ministry’s functions and roles following this decision.

Clause 242 of the Constitution mandates that all government and government associated agencies be overseen by a Minister.

The statement issued by President’s Office said that Home Minister Sheikh Imran would still oversee the agency.

In response to the change, Minister Imran tweeted that ‘challenges’ were natural and expected. He added that success was in perseverance.

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Tourism Ministry sets three-year period for resorts to open

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Minister of Tourism Dr Abdullah Mausoom has revealed that the Ministry intends to automatically revoke the islands leased for resort development, if the developers fail to open the property within a three-year period.

Speaking to local newspaper, Mihaaru, the Minister revealed that this was already in the plans and a new agreement will be signed based on this principle.

Statistics by Tourism Ministry in 2020, show that over 50 resorts were still under development, with parties filing to extend the permits for 21 islands. Some of the leased islands have been listed as under development for over 10 years.

This, he said, was being implemented to urge developers to finish developing the property and begin operations. Minister Mausoom noted that most citizens living close to islands under development had raised their concerns over delays.

The Minister had previously said that Tourism sustained severe losses due to the pandemic. While the sector aims to bring in 1.3 million tourists, there are several challenges including a new mutation of the delta strain detected in the UK and limitations of the airport to cater for arrivals.

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U23 national team departs for Bahrain

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The under 23 national football team has departed to Bahrain for training ahead of AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.

The qualifiers will be held in Uzbekistan from the 27th to the 31st of this month.

The team is accompanied by Assistant Coaches Sabah Mohamed and Mohamed Shahid. They will play two practice matches in Bahrain before heading to straight to qualifiers in Uzbekistan. The team had also carried out successful training camps in the atolls.

Maldives will face off against Iraq on 27th October, against Bahrain on 29th October, and Afghanistan on 31st October.

Competing nations are divided into 11 groups. First place winners will go into the Asian Cup. Additionally, four top-performing teams from the second placed nations will proceed to the Cup.

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