LEONARDVILLE - Omaheke is renowned for cattle farming but the fishing sector is slowly making significant strides, and its presence in the cattle territory is being felt as could be manifested by last week’s fish harvest in Leonardville, where the region’s only fish farm is situated.
Those who flocked to the event had to stand in queues as they scrambled to buy their share of the “Omaheke bream.”
The second fish harvest at Leonardville fish farm last Thursday was officiated by the Minister of Fisheries and Marine resources Bernhard Esau, who is passionate about aquaculture farming.
Esau said the government through the ministry of fisheries has established regional aquaculture centres with the overall objective of enhancing food security, employment creation, income-generation and improving the living standards of the rural communities.
Esau stated he is impressed by the potential of the fish project, which has not yet been officially inaugurated, but has already harvested twice in five months. He added that apart from growing fish to sell to the communities, the project is aimed at serving as a demonstration centre, where people should come and be induced to undertaking aquaculture activities.
“Additionally, the fish farm in collaboration with the Hardap inland aquaculture centre is also providing training to fish farmers, site assessments, fingerlings (baby fish) distribution to the farmers, stocking of community dams, assisting farmers in monitoring their fish growth and also help with fish harvesting. The ministry is providing all these services to the fish farmers for free, except fingerlings and fish fee which is provided at a subsidized price.” He thus called on all stakeholders to work together and make aquaculture a success while seeking to address food security and improve livelihoods for all Namibians.
The governor of Omaheke region Festus Ueitele shared the similar sentiments, and added that as a cattle-rearing region experiencing the drought, it is time they start looking at other farming practices.
He said the region is ready to embrace aquaculture, and not only as an alternative practice but to form part of the region’s primary farming practices.
Speaking at the same occasion, the acting CEO of Leonardville village council Johan Brandt said he hopes for this project to grow and develop into something greater so to create more employment opportunities to the community and better their living standards. He also suggested that the drained water from the project be used for irrigation purposes, which could further address poverty and make the fish farm more sustainable.
“It is my hope and wish that the managers and the MOF make use of the drained water for irrigation of lucerne, maize and wheat in the river. This can provide food for our people and lucerne could be sold to the farmers and business community. This will help to provide for drought times like the one we are currently experiencing, and it will reduce costs and stress to our surrounding farming community,” said Brandt.
He added the expansion of this project will solve the problem of people migrating from Leonardville to bigger towns and it will also stimulate local economic development.
The Leonardville fish farm was constructed by the ministry of fisheries in collaboration with Omaheke regional council for N$22.5 million and it was initially stocked with fish in February 2018.
Situated in the Kalahari Desert, the farm is equipped with six production ponds, processing plant, freezer, water recirculation system, fish feed store, house and an administration block.
They had their first harvest of more than two metric tonnes of fish in May this year, and almost the same amount was harvested last week.
2019-11-04 07:18:11 | 4 months ago