LÜDERITZ - Ohlthaver & List Group, through its subsidiary Hangana Seafood Ltd has invested N$40 million into an abalone farming which includes N$13 million for the acquisition of an old farm where one of the most expensive seafood in the world will be produced.
Abalone fetches US$40 (N$600) per kilogramme or US$1400 (N$21 000) per metric tonne and it even fetches more per kilogramme when it is sold dry.
The much-sought-after-delicacy can also be sold canned or fresh.
The Hangana Abalone Farm was inaugurated last Friday in Lüderitz by Bernhard Esau the Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
An exuberant Esau stated that this investment will expand production capacity from the current annual production of 35 metric tonnes to 300 metric tonnes over the next four years. The new farm will employ about 300 Namibians when fully operational.
He congratulated Ohlthaver & List and Hangana Seafood for demonstrating concrete actions indicating they are serious about creating jobs, investing in marine fisheries, and responding positively to government’s call to develop Namibia and create much-needed jobs.
Abalone farming is ecologically and economically viable in Namibia and it is a lucrative product with a market demand far exceeding global supply.
Esau indicated that Abalone production in Lüderitz and indeed all along, the coast of Namibia is sustainable, as it only needs kelp, a type of seaweed, to feed it. He said Abalone is to the sea what rhinos are to land, with prices exceeding N$500 per abalone.
“This investment demonstrates that there are lucrative investment opportunities in our coast, other than fishing rights and quotas. In terms of policy, government is keen to ease pressure on our marine fish stocks by encouraging mari-culture and inland aquaculture as a means to increasing our total fisheries and marine resources production,” stated Esau.
The abalone markets is in Asia where China, Australia and the Republic of Korea were the leading exporters while Hong Kong, Japan and Singapore were the leading importers. Production has shifted from wild caught to farmed abalone and today 95 percent of abalone is sourced from aquaculture with China being the top producer of farmed abalone in the world.
Esau called upon other investors in Namibia and beyond to come and invest in Namibia’s mari-culture subsector.
Lüderitz Deputy Mayor Brigitte Fredericks said it is a recognised fact that the fishing and maritime industries have been the backbone and the foundation of Lüderitz since the inception of the coastal town.
She noted that even with new injections of other economic drivers, like mining and tourism, the products of Lüderitz's natural landscape are what the town is renowned for. From crayfish to oysters and a variety of species of fish, the addition of aquaculture abalone farming will only further propel the town into a better future.
“In Lüderitz, our past is rich with history. Our town’s history has always been full of innovative firsts, it is only appropriate that we have another first to add to our accolades. Hangana Abalone Farm is the first and only land-based Abalone farm in Namibia and our town is proud to be involved in this enterprise,” underlined Fredricks.
She further said abalone farming was established locally in Lüderitz in 2002 and the fledging local industry was met with some successes and even more challenges, as Hangana Seafood approached Lüderitz Town Council to become an economic partner in 2017 and rescued the fledging operation and securing the livelihoods of 23 employees. Further, the deputy mayor applauded Hangana Seafood for its commitment to growth and development in Lüderitz.
Executive Chairman of the Ohlthaver &List Group Sven Thieme said Namibia is a country blessed with unique resources. “From agriculture to mining, fishing and tourism, 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 I, through our dedication and commitment to bring Vision 2030 to life,” Thieme stated in his speech.
“Therefore, let’s not only put our hopes on fishing, mining, tourism etc, 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, they decided to create what they don’t have.”
On his part, the Managing Director of Hangana Seafood Herman Theron explained abalone is a very popular protein across the globe, especially amongst fine diners.
“A very delicate cuisine – maybe not as popular in Namibia yet, but certainly a favourite to countless people across the globe. He said abalone is not a very attractive animal especially when you pull it out of the ocean, but in taste, this produce is one of the best seafood you will ever enjoy,” gushed Theron.
“I am sharing this with you because it excites me that finally Namibia is about to become a producer and supplier of one of the world’s most exquisite seafood produce enjoyed by millions across the globe. This certainly puts Hangana Seafood, and Namibia in a different league in the market.”