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Title: Environmental impact assessment for the proposed agriculture development project at Lh. Lhohi
Authors: Water Solutions
Keywords: Agricultural development projects
Legislative and administrative framework
Existing environment
Existing marine environment
Existing terrestrial environment
Environmental impacts
Socio-economic impacts
Mitigation measures
Environmental management and monitoring
Environmental impact assessments
Issue Date: Aug-2016
Citation: Water solutions. (2016). Environmental impact assessment for the proposed agriculture development project at Lh. Lhohi. Male': Maldives
Abstract: This report discusses the findings of a social and environmental impact study undertaken by Water Solutions Pvt. Ltd. at the request of Frozen Lemons Pvt Ltd. This EIA report covers agriculture development project at Lhohi, Lhaviyani Atoll. Lhohi is located on the southern side of Lhaviyani Atoll. This island is leased to Frozen Lemons Pvt Ltd by Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture. Frozen Lemons is the proponent of this project. Frozen Lemons had acquired substantial knowledge and information about commercial agriculture and officials of the company had travelled to neighbouring countries and visited different agriculture projects to gain more experience and information on different agriculture businesses which could be development in islands of Maldives. The project is proposed in Lh. Lhohi. The vision is to establish agriculture in Lhohi which ensure commercial and environmental sustainability. The main aim of this agricultural project is to lessen import of agriculture products to meet the local demand. Work is planned for sustainable agrofarming ensuring the use of environment friendly technology. Under this project, fertilizers will be made using the waste on the island itself and different types of fruits and vegetables will be grown. Agriculture on the island will be done in three main ways. It will be done directly on land, in greenhouses and using hydroponic technology. Water for the crops will be of two sources: harvesting rainwater and desalination using seawater. The Drip Irrigation System will be used for water conservation and will be the main system for watering the plants. The project will develop the necessary infrastructure in the area of power, water, sewage and wastewater to make the proposed agriculture project sustainable. The project also involves developing accommodation and living areas for the researchers and famers on the island. The EIA was undertaken to assess the environmental and social impacts of this project. Based on the assessment, it has been identified that the major impacts of the project will be felt on the terrestrial environment. Lhohi is not a large island that has been included in the EPA’s Environmental Sensitive Areas list due to the small mangrove ecosystem found on a small area of the island. The development on the island would be carried out by leaving a buffer from the mangroves areas. This would significant reduce the impacts on the mangroves found the island due to the proposed agriculture development on the island. Moreover, there will be impacts on marine environment from jetty constructions. During the operational stage, environmental concerns are much less and are associated with energy, water, and waste and wastewater management. The mitigation measures are provided in the report with alternatives. It is vital to conduct the activities, during both construction and operational stage, in line with mitigation measures emphasized in the report. Socio-economic impacts of the proposed project will be creation of job opportunities in the atoll and development of the agricultural industry in the country. This project will create enormous economic opportunities both in the construction and operational stage through creation of both short-term and permanent jobs and business opportunities especially for the locals at Kurendhoo. This project will introduce and promote the development of agriculture production systems on commercial scale enabling Maldives to provide additional avenue for employment and income generation. Towards the end of the report, a monitoring programme has been suggested which covers components of terrestrial, coastal and marine environment. It is important to follow this monitoring programme not only to comply with the regulation but also to ensure that the impacts are measures in realistic terms.
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