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Minister of Fisheries Opens Aquaculture Centre

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NAMIBIA - An inland aquaculture centre at Ongwediva in the Oshana Region, built at a cost of N$19,8 million, was officially opened by Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources Bernard Esau.

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According to Mr Esau, the facility established in 2008 was built in two phases. The administration block, six concrete ponds for nursing of fingerlings, security guard house and a carport were completed in 2009.

The second phase that was completed last year consists of a hatchery for fish breeding, a hostel block for interns and two houses for visiting lecturers, reports TheNamibian.

The centre has a total of 16 staff of whom 12 are Aquaculture Directorate staff and four are from the Operations Directorate. The project was made possible by the financial and expert assistance from the Namibian government, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam, the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and Cuban experts.

Under this South-South Assistance Technical Cooperation Programme, the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources will get experts and technicians from Vietnam over the next four years to support aquaculture development initiatives across Namibia.

Minister Esau who thanked the Government of Vietnam said currently three experts and two technicians from Vietnam are attached to his ministry. He said they still need some more.

Esau said the primary objective of the centre is to provide support services, identify new fish farmers with strong potential for success through site assessments, distribution of fingerlings to small-scale fish farmers, monitoring of projects and fish harvesting.

The minister said that with the hatchery at Ongwediva Centre the centre is now in a position to breed fish.

The next step is the establishment of aquaculture extension offices in all targeted regions to advise farmers.

Mr Esau identified the Ohangwena and Kunene regions for the immediate establishment of such extension service units, followed by the Oshikoto Region.