|Abstract: ||The purpose of this document is to fulfil the requirements to get necessary environmental
clearance from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to carry out the proposed
agricultural development project in Maakurandhoo, Noonu Atoll. The proponent of this project
is Beyond Hospitality Pvt Ltd, Maldives.
The main rationale for the project is to expand the agricultural industry in the atoll, in order to
diversify local economy and increase economic and food security. While tourism in the atoll is
limited to two resorts at present, eight new resort development projects are underway, and offer
a substantial market for agricultural produce.
The project involves three main components: (1) physical infrastructure development, (2)
agricultural activities, (3) hydroponics training. Key infrastructure include two jetties and a
harbour basin for access, administrative and staff facilities, training facilities, utilities and roads,
agricultural houses and irrigation system are among the physical infrastructure to be developed.
Agricultural activities include establishment of a nursery, agricultural fields, shade houses and
greenhouses, and hydroponics systems. The initial development will have 3 fields of about 0.33
Ha each, for cultivation of papayas, bananas and one field for mixed crops. The hydroponics
training centre will train residents from nearby islands in well-equipped classrooms, and a
dedicated ferry for transfer of trainees will be arranged.
All project activities will be in conformance to the laws and regulations of the Maldives, and
relevant international conventions that Maldives is party to. The key laws and regulations
applicable to this project are Environmental Protection and Preservation Act 1993 and
Environmental Impact Assessment Regulation 2012.
Relatively high live coral cover was observed in the island reef system. Turtle nesting sites were
observed on the south-western side of the island. Special attention will be given to avoiding
disturbance to turtle nesting sites during construction and operation.
Significant adverse impacts of this project during construction phase of the project are
anticipated to be the potential impact of vegetation clearing on terrestrial biodiversity, impact of
sedimentation on the marine water quality and consequent marine life, and the health and safety
risks to construction workers. Agricultural activities during the operational phase, particularly
use pesticide and artificial fertilisers, can also have significant negative impacts on the
environment. These include soil erosion and loss of soil fertility, and groundwater and marine
water contamination. All these impacts can be minimized with proper mitigation measures
recommended in the report. The main mitigation measures during construction include revegetation after construction,
carrying out construction activities during low tide hours and calm weather, construction of
bunds where appropriate to reduce sediment dispersal and avoid adverse sedimentation impacts,
and employee training and proper supervision of all activities by qualified personnel. During the
operational phase, sustainable agricultural practices, including drip irrigation, crop rotations and
composting will be adopted to minimise the impacts associated with intensive agriculture.
The alternatives evaluated for the project are dredging methods, sediment control methods,
dredge waste disposal sites, alternative jetty locations, alternative irrigation techniques and
alternative crops. The “No Project” option has also been explored and this option is not deemed
The monitoring plan is designed to assess any changes to the coral reef environment of the
island, coastal changes as well the groundwater and marine water quality as these are the key
areas that may be impacted from this project in the long term. Use of pesticides and artificial
fertilisers, and irrigation water will also be monitored.
The management plan for this project is designed to produce a framework for anticipated
impacts, including practicable and achievable performance requirements and systems for
monitoring, reporting and implementing corrective actions. In addition it will provide evidence
of compliance to legislation, policies, guidelines and requirements of relevant authorities.
In conclusion, this project has been designed in conformance to the relevant laws and regulations
of Maldives. The most significant impacts are expected to be short-term impacts on the
terrestrial environment due to vegetation clearing and marine water quality and marine
biodiversity due to construction activities, as well as the potential long-term impacts of intensive
agriculture on soil, groundwater and marine environment. However, mitigation measures have
been proposed to minimise these impacts.|