N$30m fish factory opens

President Hefikepunye Pohamba inaugurated this dynamic initiative last Friday.

Pohamba described the modern new Hangana Seafood factory in Walvis Bay as “a substantial investment in local economy”.

“We believe such an investment will boost economic growth, create employment opportunities, alleviate poverty and improve the living standard of our people,” he said.

He also said that the Namibian economy must be diversified to accommodate new entrants to the job market and that this socio-economic transformation can only be achieved through strong partnership between Government, the private sector and the labour fraternity.

“Workers and employers must regard themselves as mutual partners in the process of socio economic development and not as adversaries,” President Pohamba said.

Speaking at the inauguration, Sven Thieme (Executive Chairman O&L Group) said that the factory forms part of the company’s new strategic approach to base its production process on the concept of value addition, in terms of manufacturing more specialised and customized products.

The factory which is fitted out with ultra modern equipment such as new packaging machines, a freezing tunnel, flow lines, and an ‘Intelligent Portioning Machine’ (IPM) to mention some, is ready to optimise Hangana Seafood’s product portfolio.

The future product portfolio aims to achieve higher value addition by focusing on prime quality products for retail, as well as the catering sectors.

The project is to increase yields, reduce waste and improve production efficiency thereby entrenching Hangana Seafood as a sustainable consumer-orientated fishing and processing company.

“The Namibian fishing industry needs to change the ways of working if it is to survive the many challenges,” said Thieme, adding that the Namibian fishing industry moved into a state of crisis further aggravated by soaring crude oil prices, volatile exchange rates to name but a few.

“As shareholders of Hangana Seafood, Olthaver & List found itself with its back against the wall.

“I recall the troubled times during which we calculated, planned and deliberated as to what will be our future.

“After incurring accumulated operation losses in excess of N$150-million, it became clear that the only solution lay in the investment of a value adding factory to the tune of over N$30-million,” continued Thieme.

“But serious challenges are still ahead and while we don’t claim to have found a universal remedy, this investment represents a vital adaptation to global macro-economic conditions.”

Adding to this the MD Volker Kuntzsch did refer to the new Hangana fishing factory as a “dream come true.”

He said that it was a dream they had been working to realize for a long time, and could already see the benefits of value they are adding to hake that previously went into products that have a much higher value.

“Since there is a great demand for good quality Namibian hake, and a continuous strive towards adding value to our resource, we embarked on realising the dream of building our own value adding factory here in Walvis Bay,” said Kuntzsch.

August 2006
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