The abalone farm, which has been in existence for decades was busy drowning when Hangana Seafood stepped in to save it, in 2016. The future is brighter for this exclusive sub-sector in the local fishing industry, which has the potential to extensively drive the Namibian fishing sector to the next level, on the global front. According to Hangana Seafood managing director Herman Theron, the Hangana abalone farm will play a significant role in job creation for the town of Lüderitz, and the future of Namibia’s fishing industry. Hangana Seafood so far invested N$40 million in Hangana abalone, with a further N$20 million investment to be done over the next 12 to 16 months.
The farm has a current capacity of 35 metric tons, with a potential growth to 300 metric tons over the next 3 years, which will see the creation of 300 job opportunities. Theron remarked: “Namibia is rich in resources, with unlimited potential in the beautiful Atlantic ocean. And as a leader in the local fishing sector, Hangana Seafood is proud of this new development and venture we are about to embark on. Proud for many reasons of course, but more proud that this could be our opportunity, as a proudly Namibian entity, to up the nation’s game in fish produce on a local and global level. The Hangana abalone farm will mean an expansion of Namibia’s footprint on the global front in terms of fish supply, and it could set us apart as a leader, internationally, as abalone is a much loved delicacy, especially in fine-dining.”
In her welcoming address, the deputy mayor of Lüderitz Brigitte Fredericks expressed excitement at the opportunities this investment will bring to the town. She referred to Lüderitz as a town with significant contribution to the Namibian fishing sector, and look forward to the further growth and development, and the further investments Lüderitz will enjoy, due to the Hangana abalone farm.
Minister of fisheries and marine resources Bernard Esau who officiated the event, and delivered the keynote address, said this investment demonstrates that there are lucrative investment opportunities at the Namibian coast, other than just fishing rights and quotas. “To the O&L Group and Hangana Seafood, I wish to say that you are demonstrating, through concrete actions, that you are serious about creating jobs, investing in fisheries, and giving meaning to the government’s call to develop this country.” Esau further stressed on the potential abalone farming has in Namibia. He added: “Abalone farming is ecologically and economically viable in Namibia, and it is a lucrative product whose market demand far exceeds global supply. Abalone production here in Lüderitz, and indeed all along the coast of Namibia is sustainable as it only needs kelp, a type of seaweed, to feed it. I understand that abalone is to the sea what rhinos are to land. With prices exceeding N$500 per abalone, poaching of this marine species in the wild is a global problem that all governments are closely cooperating on. I once again congratulate O&L and Hangana Seafood for this serious initiative. I call upon other investors in Namibia and beyond to come and invest in our Mari culture subsector. Come and explore the great opportunities in growing your own fish and other marine species, because the market (global demand) for these products is ever increasing, it is far beyond global supply. Let us together join hands to develop our fisheries sector.”
TIME TO SHINE
O&L executive chairman Sven Thieme refers to this development as a result of breakthrough thinking – a concept relevant to the future of the Namibian economy. According to him, “the Hangana abalone farm was identified as a huge opportunity to invest in the Karas region by creating employment for the people and community, and in so doing uplifting the lives of our fellow Namibians, in particular the community of Lüderitz.” Thieme further stressed that Namibia is a country blessed with unique resources. From agriculture to mining, fishing and tourism. Thieme said: “We have these sectors and resources that we can use to our full advantage especially when it comes to attracting foreign investment. However, in achieving the ideals and objectives of Vision 2030, it is up to you and me, through our dedication and commitment to bring Vision 2030 to life. Therefore, let’s not only put our hopes on fishing, mining, tourism, but let’s create industries beyond such as aqua culture, medical centres, expertise centres, like Singapore and other places have done when they were not limited by what they have, but decided to create what they don’t have. The world has changed; foreign investors are no longer just companies from western countries. America, and Europe, are no longer off bounds for countries like China, India, the Middle East, Nigeria, as well as South Africa, to invest in. Therefore, as an African country our time is now (more than ever before) to expand our horizons and capitalise on our rich heritage and resources.”