SWAKOPMUND - The Oceana Group, of which Etosha Fishing and Erongo Marine Enterprise are a part, has invested N$2.9 million into a fish packaging plant to prevent job losses in a sector that has not been spared from the ravages of a shrinking economy.
The factory is situated at Namport and has been operating since September this year.
Managing Director of Erongo Marine, Martha Uumati on Wednesday morning while touring the facility indicated about 36 of their employees were about to lose their jobs due to policy changes in the industry. However, she says retrenchment was not an option, hence they opted to look at the current needs especially in the horse mackerel fishery, due to its affordability and availability to ensure that no employee is retrenched.
“Our key focus was job sustainability and creation as the idea was not entirely profit driven. We wanted to continue,” stated the MD of Erongo Marine.
Uumati added the Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) specifically makes reference to the growth at home strategy and singles out fisheries and marine resources as key player in this regard. “Basically, our horse mackerel arrives in 30 kilogramme boxes from sea. Market research however shows that people want smaller packages both for selling and consumption. Hence the processing plant takes the 30kg and repackages it in 10kg boxes for the market,” she explained. Adding that the initiative has allowed the group to retain their employees and also to employ more.
Currently they have 36 employees who work two shifts and repackage 40 metric tonnes of fish per day.
“The plant is driven my job creation as we take cognisance of the fact that each person employed here feeds about five people,” she said.