Eveline de Klerk
WALVIS BAY – Construction of the N$530 million onshore horse mackerel processing plant of the National Fishing Corporation of Namibia (Fishcor) at Walvis Bay is progressing well.
Fishcor CEO Mike Nghipunya, during a tour of the facility, told the media on Saturday that the factory will be operational by September this year.
The onshore processing plant is being constructed at the old Etale canning factory and was sold to Fishcor for N$160 million. Once completed, it will be the largest pelagic processing plant in sub-Saharan Africa.
Their partner, Africa Selection Fishing Namibia, injected a further N$370 million in the project. The latter will have 60 per cent shares in the factory and Fishcor 40 per cent.
“This was significant and well calculated acquisition, due to the fact that it had an existing quayside that would save us a substantial amount of money in the long run, instead of us paying at least N$6 000 a day to rent a quayside from other factories to offload our fish,” he explained.
The factory itself will employ 700 people of which 70 per cent will be women. It will also be able to process about 80 000 tonnes of fish per year.
Fishcor is currently guaranteed 50 000 metric tonnes of fish by the government for the next 15 years depending on their performance.
Nghipunya however, explained that they would engage other fishing companies so that the factory is fully utilised. He added that they will also set up a desalination plant at the factory as the facility will be depending on seawater.
“Our aim is not only focussed on catching our quota, but also to market our fish and explore other markets for our products in countries such as Zimbabwe, Botswana and Zambia. Currently Nigeria is one of the biggest consumers of our horse mackerel which I regard as a fish for Africans, due to its high nutritious value and affordability,” Nghipunya explained.
Fishcor was established in 1991 by government to exploit Namibian marine resources in a sustainable manner while ensuring maximum gain for shareholders, employees and the Namibian economy.