New Fish Plant Mooted

The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Tjekero Tweya says a feasibility study is underway to establish a fish processing plant in the Zambezi Region.

The Zambezi, which has an abundance of fresh water fish, could see this industry that is informal being formalised.

It is felt the formalisation of the fresh water fish industry could also avert the widespread plunder of fishery resources by hordes of foreign fishermen.

The envisaged plant would buy fish stock from fishermen for processing. Tweya revealed this when he officially opened the Zambezi Bream Festival and Cultural Expo in Katima Mulilo.

“The intention of this fish processing plant is to produce value added products in line with consumer product needs such as frozen fish with scales, frozen fish de-scaled, fish fillets, smoked fish, salted fish, fishmeal, canned fish, beheaded fish,” he stated.

Tweya said the market for freshwater fish from the Zambezi Region has transcended borders with SADC countries such as Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) showing growing interest due to high demand.

“Of late there has been a high demand for this fish from other parts of Namibia and neighbouring countries such as Angola, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Democratic Republic of Congo. These countries are increasingly relying on fish from this region as their main source of protein,” said Tweya.

He added that the fish processing plant once established has the potential to create jobs for unemployed youth and to alleviate poverty in the Zambezi.

“We are confident that fish could be exported to these countries and beyond after value addition has been done in Namibia. This will create additional employment opportunities in this region and will create wealth,” stressed the deputy trade minister.

Local fish mostly tiger fish and tilapia popularly known as Zambezi bream are currently being sold with no proper branding or marketing.

Most local fish sellers opt to export dried fish to markets such as Kasumbalesa, a border town located between the DRC and Zambia, which they say offers highly lucrative prices for their fish.

Tweya further said a crocodile leather processing and training centre currently being constructed in Kongola constituency is another government project that is likely to add value to Namibia’s natural resources.

“In addition, the ministry is constructing a crocodile leather processing and training centre in Kongola constituency. The project also aims at adding value to the natural resources which in this case is crocodile. Almost every part of the crocodile holds commercial value,” stated Tweya.

Among other developmental plans of the Ministry of Trade and Industry in the region is the construction of a multi-purpose business park under an initiative known as sites and premises development programme.

“The construction of the Katima Mulilo multi-purpose business park could not have come at a better time, considering the high rate of unemployment in the country generally and in this region in particular. The availability of affordable real estate and support services is often the prime incentive for small businesses to venture into starting their own businesses rather than seeking jobs,” stated Tweya.

The rebranded Zambezi bream festival and cultural expo which was described as a success drew over 50 exhibitors, ranging from government ministries, departments, agencies to non-governmental organisations and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) among others. It was also enlivened with entertainment and traditional performances.

The event was attended by the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Chief Samuel Ankama, and the Deputy Minister of information and Communication Technology (MICT) Stanley Simataa.

Source : New Era