RUNDU – There has been a high local demand for fish by consumers lately, according to figures provided to New Era by the Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust (NFCPT) on Tuesday.
The NFCPT says between January and September 2011 it distributed 1 570 metric tons of fish, while last year during the same period it distributed 3 826 metric tons.
By September this year, the distribution figures already stood at a whopping 5 096 metric tons of fish distributed countrywide.
The NFCPT is awarded an annual quota from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources. With this quota horse-mackerel and hake are caught in Namibian waters enabling the trust to sell the fish to the public at a discounted price and therefore generate an income.
The trust says the demand by local fish consumers, especially at the trust’s 13 outlets across the country continues to increase on a monthly basis.
NFCPT’s marketing and communications manager, Charlene Hartung, is of the opinion that the increased demand is a result of the low prices at which the trust sells its fish and more so the public awareness regarding the nutritious value of the fish.
“We cannot match the demand of the local consumers because we simply do not have enough fish to distribute. Since we do not have our own fishing vessels, we are forced to negotiate on our fish quota in order to get the fish,” she explained.
Hartung expressed dissatisfaction over the fact that some supermarkets buy fish from the trust’s outlets and sell it at marked-up prices at their shops.
“We do not sell to business, but we understand that there are some supermarkets that send people to buy fish and then take it to those supermarkets where they then receive money from the shop owners,” said Hartung.
In order to regulate the sale of the fish, the trust only sells 10 kilograms to each buyer per day.
“We understand that there are villagers who stay far from town, meaning they cannot come to town for a box of fish only. Villagers normally give their money to one person who then goes to town to buy the fish for all of them in order to cut costs. In this case, villagers can go to their respective councilors and get a support letter stating that person should be authorized to buy more than the daily limit because he/she is buying on behalf of other villagers too,” Hartung said.
Since the NFCPT was established as per a Cabinet resolution, says Hartung, the trust is not profit oriented, but rather to promote fish consumption within Namibia by making fish more accessible at affordable rates to as many Namibians as possible.
Kavango Region is one of the regions with a high demand for fish according to the trust, and as a result, the trust decided to build a new fish shop in Rundu which is expected to be operational by mid-next year.
By Mathias Haufiku