Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

22 February 2013

Namibia: Growing Fish in the Kalahari

At least 100 unemployed people of the town of Leonardville on the fringes of the Kalahari desert are expected to be employed at the new aquaculture project currently under constructioin in the area.

The project, a first of its kind in the remote area, situated 133 kilometres from Gobabis in the Omaheke Region, is seen as a blessing for the many unemployed inhabitants of Leonardville. The project aims to address food security by establishing the fish farming as a source of protein production. It also hope to improve fish consumption at the village.

Construction of the project started in June 2012 and is expected to be completed in September this year. The project is estimated to cost N$ 20 million upon completion. Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister, Bernard Esau, visited the site of the project earlier this month to acquaint himself with the activities of the project. Esau said although a few delays where experienced in implementing the project, his ministry has dedicated itself this year to deliver and manage the project hands-on.

According to project architect, Bob Mould, construction of the aquaculture project was initiated in 2008 by the late Minister of Education, Abraham Iyambo, during his tenure as Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources.

The fish farm consists of six ponds, three mitigating dams to prevent flooding in case of a storm, office blocks, processing facilities, fencing and drilling of two bore holes. However, according to Mould, depending on the demand, an in-door system could be constructed rather than ponds, but it is too costly.

Production output is expected to be 10 tons of fish, harvested one or twice a year. Apart from the Leonardville project, two other aquaculture projects have been implemented in the Hardap and Ohangwena regions respectively. The Hardap Aquaculture project will provide the fingerlings to Leonardville to start operations which, according to Esau, will include tapping expertise of foreign partners from Vietnam and Cuba.

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