WINDHOEK - Many Namibians are venturing into small-scale fish farming and government hatcheries have provided fingerlings to about 150 registered farmers.
This was revealed by Kabbe Constituency Councillor John Likando last week in the National Council when he motivated a report on the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Economy on the briefings by the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources on aquaculture programmes and Ministry of Environment and Tourism on Community Based Conservancies on August 7-8, 2018 respectively.
Likando also tabled the report and asked the house of review to discuss and adopt its recommendations contained therein.
He said of the key points discussed under the fresh fish farmers
include breeding programs that are ongoing with local tilapia species found at research centres, mainly to provide quality fingerlings to farmers.
Equally, he noted fish feed is sold to fish farmers at subsidised prices.
Likando shed light that the committee was further enlightened about the six Co-operative Fish Farms developed by the then Ministry of Trade and Industry from 2000 to 2006. According to him, most Co-operative Fish Farms were decommissioned with only Mpungu still operating and was soon to be transferred to government.
Further, Likando said the committee was informed that Namibia still imports fish feeds from Zambia in the form of Tiger Feeds.
However, he revealed with the assistance of a loan from Agribank, a new fish feed plant and the first of its kind in Namibia was constructed at Uis, producing fish feed locally, thus supplying local fish farmers and reducing the import bill.
In terms of Rule 155(4) of the National Council Standing Rules and Orders (as amended), the Standing Committee on Public Accounts and Economy is mandated “to deal with questions falling within the ambit of Ministries and Authorities concerned with Trade and Industry, Fisheries and Marine Resources, Mines and Energy, Economic Affairs, Finance and Environment and Tourism”.
Furthermore, in line with the mandate of the National Council and its strategic vision and mission for the period 2017 to 2022, the National Council have identified good governance as one of its strategic themes upon which the strategic objective of “increased oversight role” is anchored.
Through this strategic objective, the National Council is aiming towards overseeing more government programmes in order to determine their impact toward achieving prosperity for all.
Therefore, Likando explained the objective of these exercises were to afford the members of the committee the opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of both the community based aquaculture and conservancies projects as economic empowerment tools meant to create self-employment, alleviate poverty and promote self-sustainable economic development of local populations.
Committee members who were present at the briefing are Peter K Kazongominja (Chairperson); Phillip H Shikongo (Vice Chairperson); Likando; Gerhard Shiimi; Joseph Mupetami; Cornelius V Kanguatjivi and Lonia Kaishungu.
The same committee also met some staff members from the Ministry of Environment and Tourism. These include Theofilus Nghitila who is the Environmental Commissioner and Colgar Sikopo, Director of Parks in the ministry.
The committee was informed on the programme aimed to empower present and future generations to manage integrated wildlife and other natural resources as a recognized and valued rural development option.
Recognised communities may utilize wildlife as part of the broad spectrum of natural resources and benefits from rights over wildlife through tourism enterprises.
He said although wildlife is fully protected in national parks, they may be utilised sustainably under conservation management in communal conservancy areas.
Conservancies achievements is attributed to the recovery and increase of wildlife population, statistic indicates that Namibia elephant population grew from around 7 500 in 1995 to 22 800 in 2016.
Black Rhino in 1980 were near extinct, however in 2018 they are the largest free roaming population in the world. Namibia has an expanding free roaming lion population outside its national parks.
Conservancies also improve rural livelihood through creation of employment; improvements to rural water and energy supply; provide support to home gardens, thus improving nutrition at rural house level.
Some of the key challenges discussed at the briefing Likando said include countering the increased threat from commercial poaching and trafficking of rhino and elephant parts, as well as countering growing conservancy financial mismanagement.