The Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau yesterday received 647 200 cans of fish worth N$6 million to help feed people affected by the drought.
Hundreds of thousands of Namibians are affected by recurrent drought attributed to the global El Nino weather phenomenon that has ruined local farmers.
The donation follows Cabinet this year choosing Fishcor, in line with the provisions of section 3 of the Marine Resources Act, to harvest fish for the government and to utilise the marine resources towards the government’s social, economic and cultural objectives to the benefit of drought-stricken Namibians who are facing a third consecutive drought.
Esau said a quota of 2 000 tonnes of horse mackerel from the reserve quota was allocated to Fishcor in October this year for harvesting for drought relief purposes.
Esau said Fishcor outsourced the allocated quota and raised the N$6 million which was in turn used to buy canned fish at a reasonable price from Etosha Fisheries, United Fishing Enterprise and Paragon Seafood Products.
“This contribution is very significant as it will not only help feed our people, but will provide Namibians with a high-protein food. I have no doubt that the fish will be equally distributed to the needy communities of our country, through the prime minister’s office,” he said.
He equally urged the fishing industry to join hands and donate other food items such as cooking oil and maize to supplement the canned fish allocated to the drought-stricken.
He praised Fishcor for facilitating the process in the shortest time possible and urged the entire fishing industry to continue supporting government in its drive to address the country’s development objectives
Managing Director of Etosha Fishing, Pieter Greeff on behalf of the companies said the fishing sector is aware of the challenges Namibians face in terms of the unrelenting drought.
He said that although the fishing industry is spared any major impact by the continued drought, it is aware that its very existence is dependent on the sustainable utilisation of the country’s marine resources.
“This puts us in a favourable position to be able to supply fish to the less fortunate at a time like this. We are aware that the fishing sector is one the leading pillars upon which our economy is based. It is also the second biggest export earner and one of the largest employment creators in the country. Therefore we are fully behind the government and its efforts to ensure that the industry remains relevant to the socio-economic development of the country and its people,” he explained.