NAMIBIA - Over the years government has allocated tens of millions of dollars to the aquaculture sector with no returns to show for it in terms of food security and employment creation.
Fisheries and Marine Resources permanent secretary Dr Moses Maurihungirire in a recent interview with New Era admitted that government is yet to reap the projected benefits of aquaculture farming.
“We’re in a pioneering phase in aquaculture. We’re still to reach growth and a stabilising phase in production. but from the point of view of policy and legal framework, as well as planning, we’ve made good strides,” Maurihungirire said.
Many of the inland fish farms that cost government huge amounts in investment were constructed in flood-prone areas, hence got washed away during heavy floods and were never viable. In this regard Maurihungirire said: “I agree, but we have decommissioned those farms,” adding that, “those farm locations were not determined by the competent authority per se.”
Despite the woes swirling around aquaculture, last week’s edition of the Tender Bulletin shows detailed project listings for 2016, where government plans to further upgrade and construct new fish farms.
The ministry’s development projects mainly focused on inland freshwater fish farms, which amount to subsistence farming meant to supplement the protein intake of impoverished rural communities.
The rest of the projects are for the construction of offices and monitoring facilities.
Maurihungirire said Namibia currently has seven fish farms, of which four involve government and community members. Three others, he says, are for demonstration through growth and production activities, adding that government also has a fishfeed plant.
Asked whether rural communities have benefited from the fish farms as government intended, he said: “Not yet, but we are soon to reap the fruits of the few years of development.”
The latest Tender Bulletin shows that government intends to construct a new fish farm at Onakalunga in Ohangwena Region and that the total funding needed for the project is N$62 million.
Meanwhile, government needs an additional N$29.6 million for the renovation and upgrading of aquaculture development projects in Kavango East and West.
Another upgrade of fish ponds in Hardap is on the cards, which will cost a total of N$23.6 million for testing materials and rehabilitating ponds.
Other projects include the upgrading of Keetmanshoop Fonteintjie fish farm community project in the Karas Region, where an amount of N$34.7 million is needed for the construction, production and processing plant, manager’s house, other accommodation, feed store, general room, toolshed, quarantine facilities and a guard house.
Leonardville fish farming project in the Omaheke Region requires about N$38 million for plastic lining, roofing of ponds and paying retention fees.
TheFishSite News Desk