Initially set for inauguration in February this year, the Keetmanshoop fish farm is yet to be completed due to a lack of know-how in installing the fish tank sump.
Farm manager Peter Simasiku says the project is not on schedule because the contractor Edison Building Enterprises cc experienced several challenges installing the fish tank sump.
He said several attempts to put up the sump by the contractor have failed miserably and they were ordered to demolish the structures by Burmeister & Partners, the consulting engineering firm, which found that the structures were not up to the required standard.
“I think this is the biggest project the contractor has ever worked on. If it were an experienced contractor he would have finished already,” Simasiku said, adding: “But then on the other side of the coin, when will we give projects to our people if we keep giving them to experienced people only?”
He revealed that a new subcontractor is working on the installation, which should soon be completed.
Simasiku says another challenge slowing down the project is the long wait for inspectors from the consulting firm, as it is Windhoek based and engineers only come to Keetmanshoop once a month for inspection.
Isak Pietersen of Bennox Trading, one of the subcontractors, says that even when work is completed they have to wait for the engineers for inspection and they can only continue after being told to do so.
“The long wait is frustrating. We wait for a month and when engineers get here they tell you that it’s not right and you have to start all over again,” he said, stressing that the process is difficult because it involves time and money.
In a telephonic interview with the chief fisheries biologist Undamuje Tjihuiko, she confirmed the delays, saying that the contractor had a few hiccups.
She is however optimistic that all is now well on track for the project to be completed by September this year.
“At least there is work going on now. There was a time when things were just standing because we didn’t have anyone to do the specialised work,” she noted.
She revealed that Hardap Inland Aquaculture, which was renovated with funds amounting to N$50 million from China, has been completed and is ready for inauguration.
“The contractor indicated to us that he is done, so we are just waiting for the ministry of works to do the practicality inspection,” she said.
The N$50 million upgrade of the facility include the construction of a new intergraded processing workshop and new cold storage, renovation of open marketable fish ponds, construction of two marketable fish cultivation green houses and the construction of big fingerling cultivation green houses.