The Uukumwe Youth Seal Processing Factory was inaugurated in Lüderitz last Friday where the new firm will provide 25 jobs in the first year of operations.
The factory comes at a cost of N$17million.
Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernard Esau, during the official opening at Nautilus Industrial Area, applauded the efforts made by the Uukumwe Youth Empowerment Consortium, a 100 percent Namibian entity initiated by young entrepreneurs.
He said Uukumwe is one of the many ways in which the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources gives meaning to the policy of youth empowerment, in line with the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) and the Fifth National Development Plan (NDP5).
Esau applauded Uukumwe for choosing to establish the processing factory in Lüderitz, as his ministry is keen to promote regional development, especially in Lüderitz, which has enough seal stock to ensure economic sustainability of the factory.
“I wish to remind all right holders that I am keen to encourage those who choose to re-invest their fisheries earnings, as this improves the capacity of Namibians to harvest and adds value to their fisheries resources. As I have stated before, those right holders who do not invest and do not demonstrate sufficient practical development of their capacity in the fisheries sector should expect continual reduction in their fishing quotas, in line with Section 33(4) of the Marine Resources Act, 2000,” emphasized Esau.
He revealed that research conducted annually by Namibian scientists from fisheries ministry shows that Namibia’s 26 seal colonies are healthy and are indeed growing in numbers.
Government is determined to ensure Namibia’s seal stock will always be sustainably managed, based on the best available scientific information and as a national heritage.
The harvesting of seals is therefore done in a careful and selective manner, which ensures replenishment of existing stocks, while at the same time contributing to ecosystem balance of other fishery species stocks and economic development of the fisheries sector.
Esau explained that the factory was established through a facility of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources, which offered an incentive quota of 200 metric tons, and assistance by the Ministry of Industrialization, Trade and SME Development through the Industrial Upgrading and Modernisation Programme (IUMP), which assisted in funding the acquisition of its high-tech and modern equipment and machineries.
This initiative is a collaboration between government ministries and the private sector. In this regard, Esau urged other right holders to explore ways in which they can collaborate with different arms of Government to realise their goals in the fisheries sector.
There will be about four value-added products processed in the factory, namely skins, blubber/oil, gonads and animal feed. These products will have an economic impact in industries such as fashion, pharmaceuticals, food, cosmetics and bio-medical fields, where they will create further jobs and other valued added activities.
Uukumwe Chairman Olavi Hamutumwa explained that the wholly owned Namibian company came into being on 15 September 2010. In 2012, the company was awarded three fishing rights, namely, seal, horse mackerel and large pelagic.
When the seal quota was announced, Uukumwe realised that without a factory of its own, it was not able to fully exploit that right and with value addition.
Hamutumwa stated that the economic empowerment of the youth through Uukumwe now translated into the empowerment of the Lüderitz community. He indicated that the water used in the factory will be re-purified to 95 percent and can be re-used.