TUNACOR Group joined the likes of Ohorongo Cement, B2Gold, NamPower and others in turning to solar technology to power their operations.
The company held a groundbreaking ceremony at Walvis Bay on Friday for the construction of a 4 000 square metre horse mackerel value-addition factory, which will be fitted with solar panels to provide enough clean energy and eco-friendly electricity for onshore fish-processing activities.
This will be the first fishing factory to operate on solar energy.
About 250 jobs will be created at the new factory. This will increase the Tunacor Group's workforce to 2 500 people, making the company the biggest employer in the fisheries sector.
Officiating at the event, fisheries minister Bernhard Esau congratulated the company for undertaking this initiative in a timely manner, "and finalise it without delay because we need the new jobs, and the value-addition which comes with it."
The minister called on all fishing right holders to shift their mindsets towards value-addition to unlock employment potential in this sector.
"I was convinced that the time is now. Continuing to export our horse mackerel frozen on board freezer vessels meant that we would not unlock the employment potential in this sector - and this is unacceptable to me," said the minister.
Esau commended local companies which are already involved in value-addition in the sector, which has resulted in products such as horse mackerel, fillets, canned horse mackerel and other forms being successfully commercialised in various markets.
The minister stressed that in terms of NDP5, by 2022, at least 250 000 metric tonnes, making about 70% of Namibia's total 350 000 metric tonnes horse mackerel total allowable catch, should be value added onshore.
He advised rights holders to establish long-term business partnerships to start value-addition initiatives. This, he said, will work in their favour as they will be in compliance with the scorecard that is in the process of being gazetted.
"It will indeed be difficult for rights holders who are not doing value-addition to meet the criteria on the 'number of jobs per metric tonne quota as outlined in our scorecard, which is still on course'.
"I urge you to take advantage of this period as we finalise the gazetting of the scorecard, to ensure that you are compliant so that when the scorecard is fully implemented, you may have nothing to worry about. This is the time to prepare yourself, because value-addition is government policy; it is here to stay," Esau said.