16 August 2010

Namibia: New Hake Factory for Walvis

Walvis Bay — Omankete Seafood, a joint venture between Omankete Investments (Pty) Ltd and Seawork Fish Processors (Pty) Ltd, is constructing a new value-addition factory for hake at Walvis Bay.

Oscar Shigwana, the Managing Director of Omankete Investments (Pty) Ltd, over the weekend said they are in the process of building a new factory valued at N$30 million next to Seawork Fishing Company.

"The new factory is a state-of-the-art establishment. Once it is complete, it will be one of the top factories to have Individual Quick Freezer facilities in Namibia," he explained.

The factory will process high value IQF (Individual Quick Freezer) products said Shigwana, who revealed that 60 percent of the building is complete.

Omankete Investments is a consortium of nine black economic empowerment (BEE) shareholder companies.

The company was established in 1999 and since its inception, Omankete has been trying to obtain and work with a serious and motivated partner in the fishing industry, but if has been difficult due to "the fact that there has been resentment from some of the existing companies to work with a BEE company", according to him.

Four years ago Omankete started working with Seawork Fishing Company and the relationship went well and grew to a point that today they have formed a company called Omankete Seafood Processors.

Currently, Omankete has 622 permanent employees working on the Omankete quota at Seawork factory.

Seawork has no fishing rights - it is not allocated quotas by Government, hence the joint venture. In addition to the permanent workers, he said they have 120 casual workers.

The construction of the factory is expected to be complete by end of October 2010.

He also said once complete, 50 more people will be employed. The factory is expected to open in February 2011.

"With the quota we have been allocated to date, we have employed 622 workers with an additional 120 casual workers. We always fulfill our social obligations and our levy payments and other tax obligations to the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and we are investing in the fishing industry," he said.

He said, "This is a BEE company. It's fully owned by Namibians and was started in 2002. We have been experiencing challenges such as finance and expatriate skills in running a full fresh fish facility, because of competition in catching, marketing and processing fish. But for the last six years we worked very hard and now we are a fully running company."

With the Total Allowable Catch (TAC) cut this year, Shigwana maintained that Omankete Investments had tightened its belt to still commit its financial resources to fully invest in the fishing industry. Omankete Seafood has established two fish distribution shops, one at the factory in Walvis Bay and the other in Windhoek, Southern Industrial area.

Seawork management said they are proud of the new factory, as it is empowerment.

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