Spain, Cuba, China and Vietnam partners in Nam aquaculture

WINDHOEK: The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) Bernard Esau has applauded the governments of Spain, Cuba, China and Vietnam for their financial and technical assistance in the field of aquaculture.

He gave the countries a round of applause during his budget speech in parliament on Tuesday, during which he motivated his ministry’s request for more than N.dollars 368 million for the 2014/2015 financial year.

“I am equally pleased to report that the implementation of the South-South Cooperation Programme in support of aquaculture development between the Republic of Namibia and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam is progressing well and activities identified under this programme are being implemented,” he said.

The programme is funded by the Kingdom of Spain to the tune of US dollars 1.8 million (about N.dollars 10.8 million) for the duration of five years, ending at the end of 2015 calendar year.

Esau said the Vietnamese South-South cooperation technical assistance in support of aquaculture development is identified under Namibia’s National Programme for Food Security (NPFS), as one of the key sectors with potential for rapid growth and rural development.

He noted that the government of Spain has been supporting aquaculture development by providing financial and technical assistance to Namibia since the establishment of the Aquaculture Directorate in 2004.

The latest addition to their support is the construction of a hatchery in Katima Mulilo to the tune of N.dollars 6 million, which will be completed before the end of the 2014/2015 financial year.

The main objective of this hatchery is to supply fingerlings for outgrowth to communal and commercial farmers in the Zambezi Region.

The People’s Republic of China has provided a grant of N.dollars 15 million for aquaculture development in Namibia – a portion from the N.dollars 65 million given to Namibia in 2009. This grant will be used to upgrade the Hardap inland aquaculture centre (HIAC) in the Hardap Region.

A Chinese construction company has arrived in Namibia for the upgrading of these facilities in Hardap, and the process of signing a construction contract between the line ministry and that company is at an advanced stage.

The centre will serve the southern regions of the country by supplying fingerlings to fish farms in the south.

Esau said Namibia’s bilateral cooperation with the Republic of Cuba, involving the attachment of Cuban aquaculture specialists to Namibian government-owned fish farms to assist in fish feed and fish production activities, has yielded positive results.