More Poor Should Take To Fish

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By William J. Mbangula OSHAKATI The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Dr Abraham Iyambo has urged the Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust (NFCPT) to intensify its promotion campaign for fish consumption in the remotest areas where poverty and hunger is more prevalent. He was officially opening the N$2-million Distribution Centre of the NFCPT at Ongwediva last Friday. Iyambo commended the NFCPT for living up to expectations and for being consistent and innovative following the establishment of such centres at Walvis Bay, Windhoek, Rundu, Ondang-wa and Swakopmund. “This centre which is pro-poor and pro-rural people is a dream come true for the achievement of Vision 2030 in feeding the nation. It will add to the already existing limited centres in the country. “I am saying limited because they are not enough. I want them to be more and more throughout the country, ” he said. The minister bemoaned what he called the shame of humanity because of the fact that about 800 million of the world population’s 6 billion people are dying from hunger in a sea of plenty. “Empty stomachs mean a weak workforce. “Therefore we have to ensure food security which is a fundamental human right,” said the minister. He urged the employees of the NFCPT to serve their customers with humility, and to run the centre on the basis of normal and strictly accepted business principles. Sub-standard service or sub-food should not be supplied from the distribution centres. He would be interested to hear from members of the public about any poor service coming from any of the distribution centres throughout the country, he said. Addressing members of the public, Iyambo urged them to buy and eat fish because it is healthy to do so. After all, he said, fish is cheaper than red meat. However, he cautioned members of the public not to buy fish at cheap prices at the centre and make them unaffordable when selling them to others. ” I am challenging you to eat more fish and you can challenge me to produce more fish,” he emphasised. With regard to continuous promotion of fish consumption and management of aquaculture resources, he noted that his ministry would soon hold a workshop in Ongwediva to be attended by close to 200 aquaculture fish farmers from Omusati, Oshikoto, Ohangwena, Oshana and Kunene. They will discuss challenges facing fish farmers at the moment. The minister donated one ton of fish to members of the Anti-HIVAIDS campaign group, Lironga Eparu. Receiving the horse-mackerel fish donation, Lironga Eparu leader Anita Isaacs thanked the minister for his contribution and appealed to him to also include their members in training on fish consumption and management courses. Similar donations were made at Mariental, Okahandja and Rundu. Speaking at the same event, the Board Chairperson of NFCPT David Nuyoma noted that the infrastructure at Ongwediva is a multi-purpose one located in a strategic prime area of the town with facilities such as a restaurant, changing room, cold storage, kitchen, dry store, takeaway and laboratory. About ten people are employed at the centre, among them chefs, bookkeepers, waiters and cleaners. All the chefs at Ongwediva were trained by Pandu Hotel at Ondangwa as per requirements of the Hotel Association of Namibia (HAN). According to Nuyoma, the centre at Ongwediva is just a tip of the iceberg since many more development activities are still to follow soon. “Depending on how the market will respond and availability of resources, this centre will soon become a hub of many activities. “We intend to put up a big container here to sell fish in large quantities, while mobile centres will also be established through the regions,” Nuyoma noted. The occasion was attended by, among others, the Governor of Oshana region Clemens Kashuupulwa, the Deputy Minister of Safety and Security Gabes Shihepo, and the Mayor of Ongwe-diva Erastus Uutoni who appealed for a bigger distribution facility at the centre since the fish consumption demand is overwhelming. The mayor also requested that aquaculture farmers participate in the Ongwediva Annual Trade Fair as part of the promotional and awareness campaign.