Development of hydroponics as an alternative source of income to the fisher families in Ukulhas

Ukulhas Island's waste management system

Ukulhas Island's waste management system, Ukulhas, Alif Alif Atoll, Maldives © MFF-UNDP, 2015


Increase the household income for fisher families through hydroponics farming as an alternative source of income for women.


Ukulhas is a community that relies on fishing as an economic activity. Fishing yield varies due to seasonal changes and other factors that affect fishing harvest. There is inadequate income for the families of Ukulhas. The UNEP GEO 5 report (2012) identifies hydroponics as one of the elements that can lead to changes in behavior and consumption patterns, reduced pollution and depletion of non-renewable resources and shared sources, and improved water productivity, can contribute to the Millenium Development Goals (MDGs). 

Ukulhas has a population of 945, and is 20 hectares in size. Like most islands in the Maldives, ground water in Ukulhas has also started to become polluted due to impact of septic tanks and salinity due to ground water depletion. The community of Ukulhas has been proactive in environmental management and as such has demonstrated one of the best examples of waste management initiatives currently in the country. The MFF project is proposed to develop hydroponics system in the island as an alternative source for the women of the island and through this improve the income of the families. The range of income earning opportunities for women is less, and thus the project is expected to increase the well-being of the women and families holistically. 

Main economic activities undertaken in the island is fishing and there is an emerging sector on establishing guest houses. There are two guesthouses in operation, and more are being constructed. The island has seven shops operating as small retail business entities. Although agriculture was undertaken historically on the island, due to limited land space, it becomes a constraint in the island. As such, agricultural activities are undertaken in home gardens; popular crops include chili and Chinese cabbage.

The island school conducts classes until Grade 12, and students from different parts of the Maldives are currently in Ukulhas. This is because Ukulhas provides assistance to students from other islands to study locally. Hence, accommodation, meals and a small allowance are provided to selected students from outside the island. The Ukulhas community believes that by doing so, it will improve economies of scale in education in the island, which is needed to run classes up to "A" level, which can result in enriching the level of students' school knowledge in the community.

Target beneficiaries

Residents of Ukulhas island (945 people)

Contributions to cross-cutting themes

Gender equality

Project Facts



Ukulhas, Alif Alif Atoll, Maldives



25th Mar 2015 to 24th Feb 2017

MFF Grant Amount

MVR 849 420

Implementing Partner

Ukulhas Women's Development Committee, in association with Ukulhas Island Council, and Fishermen's Cooperative.

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