GIEWS Country Brief: Maldives 23-January-2013
The entire land area of the country is only 300 sq km of which some 9 000 hectares are covered with permanent crops dominated by coconuts and only 3 990 hectares are considered arable. Practically no cereals are produced, therefore the population, estimated at 324 000 (FAOSTAT, 2012), is heavily dependent on imported food. Cereal import requirements in 2013 marketing year (January/December) are forecast at normal level of about 48 500 tonnes, consisting mainly of wheat and rice. The Maldives has, however, very productive fisheries sector which provides a good source of food locally and income by supplying to the tourism industry which caters for almost 1 million tourists annually. The main issue in the Maldives within the agriculture sector is to develop better linkages to the tourism industry for the marketing of local agriculture produce in order to enhance the livelihoods of the farmers and better ensure their food security. The largest danger facing farmers is depletion of the freshwater aquifers used for irrigation as well as drinking purposes. Overall food security is satisfactory.