Eveline de Klerk
Walvis Bay-The National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) has re-affirmed its position in terms of assisting the government in alleviating poverty through job creation and value addition, with the planned construction of a multi-million dollar horse mackerel canning factory at Walvis Bay.
Speaking at the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction face of the factory on Friday, Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernhardt Esau said Fishcor should not be seen as a competitor, but as an entity that complements the government’s efforts in poverty reduction, job creation and the equal distribution of government resources.
Fishcor was established through an act of parliament with the objective of exploiting fishing and other marine resources – and promoting the establishment, development and efficiency of other businesses engaged in the fishing industry.
Fishcor purchased the Etale Fishing properties at Walvis Bay last year December for N$160 million to set up the canning facility that is expected to create at least 4,600 jobs.
According to Esau, the aim of the facility is not only to create jobs but to attract investors to assist the government in its quest for industrialisation.
Esau said the fisheries sector plays a vital role in the National Development Plan Five (NDP5) as the ministry is required to add value to 70 percent of horse mackerel landings within five years, starting with at least 40 percent in the next four years.
“There is a stable horse mackerel total allowable catch of about 330,000 metric tons. This means that value needs to be added to 230,000 metric tons to achieve the 70 percent target. Currently, only five per cent value is added to the horse mackerel total allowance catch,” Esau explained.
According to Esau, job creation, focussing on the youth, is one of the most urgent objectives of the government and is a key tool in distributing wealth from the sector.
Esau added that the fishing sector faces a challenge to mobilise the private sector to set up land-based processing facilities to add value to marine products and create much-needed jobs.
“Therefore, Fishcor should not be seen as a competitor by the industry but rather as a partner of progress as we have more horse mackerel to process than our total installed capacity, hence we need investors,” Esau added.