THE chief executive officer of the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia, Mike Nghipunya says plans to set up an onshore horse mackerel processing plant at Walvis Bay are progressing well.
The company acquired the Etale Fishing Property at the town in December 2016 at a cost of N$160 million, and is now renovating the old building to suit the new project.
"We needed the services of an expert to remove the asbestos which has been done successfully. Most roofs, all the equipment as well as materials in the factory and building have been removed. The boundary walls and the administration block have already been repainted. We have successfully revamped the administration building by extending some offices," said Nghipunya
The company will operate two refrigerated sea vessels, one of which has already been acquired and will be delivered as soon as the factory is ready. The two vessels will be used for supplying to the factory on a continuous basis, so that work can go on without stoppages, once operations start.
"A total of 700 people will be employed, 70% of which will be women, and the recruitment process will start once the factory is complete. Foreign experts will also be engaged at the factory to transfer technology and know-how and operate the facility. Focus will be put on training locals, mainly on running the onshore processing and refrigeration plants," he said.
The new factory will be called Seaflower Pelagic Processing (Pty) Ltd.
"That is the company which will be operating the processing facility and doing the branding, so that we keep the Seaflower brand flying high both in the hake business and the horse mackerel sector," he said.
The entire project is expected to be ready in the last part of 2018.
At the signing ceremony last year, fisheries minister Bernard Esau commended the company's board and management for its courageous decision to invest in an onshore horse mackerel processing project, saying it would provide much-needed jobs and development in horse mackerel fishing and the port of Walvis Bay.
He described it as a benchmark for other companies in the fishing industry to emulate.
Fishcor was created to exploit fish and marine resources, including aquatic plants, salt and guano, as well as facilitating, promoting and assisting in the financing of new business undertakings in the fisheries sector.
The entire project, that is expected to be the flagship of the Namibian and southern African horse mackerel sector, will be worth N$500 million on completion.