17 September 2018

Namibia: N$130m for Value-Addition in Fishing Sector

Fisheries minister Bernhard Esau inaugurated two factories and a jetty valued at about N$130 million at Walvis Bay on Friday.

Apart from being a significant capital investment, the factories also created about 400 new permanent jobs.

The investments include a state-of-the-art wet fish factory valued at N$45 million and a N$25 million ice plant for Seagull Fish Processors; while Tunacor and Corvima with their 12 rights holders invested N$25 million in a squid value-addition plant called Seafresh, and N$35 million in a jetty.

Seagull director Julio Lloves said the wet fish factory will ensure the European markets for Namibian hake get the freshest product in the shortest time possible.

"By the time it gets to the customer, it must not just taste fresh, it must also look fresh. The fish may be fresh, but if it does not look fresh, the consumer will not take it. Consumers are very strict and show no mercy. That is the basis of this business," stressed Lloves.

The plant will process an average of 30 tonnes of hake a day for the local and international markets, while the new ice plant will produce a tonne of ice a day for factories and vessels.

About 200 new permanent jobs will be created here.

On the other hand, the Seafresh factory adds value to squid caught in Argentinian waters off the western Atlantic, bought and imported in raw form to Namibia, where it is sorted, cleaned and packaged for the local and international markets.

Another 200 workers will be taken in to add value to 10 tonnes of squid a day.

The new jetty will also make it possible for larger vessels to dock on either side of the jetty simultaneously and offload fish for land-based operations.

Esau lauded the companies for heeding the government's call for investments and value-addition that has led to job creation.

"Any business project geared towards making profits should not just consider income profit, but also social profits, environmental profits and industrial profits regarding the peace, security and stability of operations," he said. "The living and working conditions should also be a profit for all the employees so that they can be a happy family, which will mean a happy nation."

He also praised the ownership structure of the two new business ventures which comprise several rights holders and operators.

"This is a healthy marriage, built on trust. We do not want to see divorces. This is beneficial to the industry as it imparts many skills, strengthens capital acquisitions of the communities they represent, and benefits investors. This is a win-win situation," said Esau.

He warned against rights holders who are just in the business of selling quotas, saying they do not belong in the industry.

"You must add value, and help the government with job creation. There is no place or the possibility of lone rangers in this sector. People here work together, and people must share," he reiterated.

Esau went on to say that gone are the days for those who want to promote the selling of quotas, thinking they were previously disadvantaged Namibians, and that is why they got quotas to sell.

"That culture is wrong. That is a disservice to this country and people and future generations. They will not get quotas. Those who have not made any investments, tough luck for them. It is the end of the road. They cannot just be in the business of selling quotas. We must empower Namibians," Esau stated.

"People cannot think because they have fishing rights, they are billionaires, while their neighbours go hungry."

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