By Simon Liseli
A new fish market in Katima Mulilo, Namibia Fish Consumption Trust (NFCPT) has broke a record when it made N$1,73 579 from fish sales in Zambezi region in ninety (90) days.
Speaking during the official opening of the 17th fish shop at Katima Mulilo Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Bernhard Esau said he was delighted to be in the might Zambezi region with the purpose of promoting fish consumption in the country.
He pointed out that setting up of fish shop in Katima that started its operations in March this year is in line with NFCPT objective of ensuring government footprints in all parts of Namibia.
“This shop is targeted at serving this town of Katima Mulilo and the entire region by providing much needed and cost-effective fish bringing them closer to the people at a grass root level” he noted.
He congratulated the board of trustees, management and staff members of NFCPT for their achievement that follows the recent opening of Wanaheda and Luderitz fish shops.
“I also wish to highlight that this is the 17th NFCPT fish shop in thirteen of the fourteen regions of our country and together have employed 149 Namibians” he said.
He added that Katima NFCPT employs four (4) staff members and is due to relocate to a more spacious space in the next three (3) months.
“I am informed that in 2018/2019 financial year, NFCPT fish shop complemented by monthly regional fish promotions distributing a total of 7,117 MT at affordable prices throughout the country when compared to 7,071 MT distributions in 2017/18 financial year” explained Minister Esau.
Minister mentioned that other parts of Namibia are learning about fish consumption from people of Zambezi because fish is part of everyday diet in the region and setting up a NFCPT fish shop will increase fish supply to the residents of the region as Zambezi bream is often short supply.
According to him, government policy wants to achieve at least 20,4kg fish consumption per person yearly. The policy objective is informed by the fact that selling fish locally is an enterprise development initiative.
He however encouraged people to eat healthy protein that will lead to a healthy population as they consume fish, adding that selling of fish will contribute to the fight and eradication of poverty, a fight that must be won collectively.
“What I am saying is not theoretical but is what happens to our fish when it is exported to neighbouring countries, it creates many jobs for women and youth in destination countries and we would like to do the same here as we are fortunately that we have enough fish to export and trade domestically” remarked Esau.
The Minister used the platform to urge all Namibians especially people in Zambezi to venture into fish entrepreneurship in order to take advantages of NFCPT fish shop to demand more fish from the sea and rivers to add value and set-up businesses.
“Our fish shop should not compete with local traders but should rather facilitate them by supplying more fish for their businesses. I have instructed the board of NFCPT not to work alone on the issue of promoting fish consumption nationally but to work with all stakeholders because the task is huge and we only achieve our set target if we work together” he lamented.
Speaking on the same occasion deputy chairperson of NFCPT Mrs. Susan Ndjakela said her trust appreciates active role played by their strategic partners in an effort of increasing consumption level of fish across the country aimed at addressing nutrition, food security as well as alleviating communities from extreme poverty.
Ndjakela called upon captains of fishing industries to join NFCPT and put up more shops countrywide to ensure accessibility of this precious resource.
The trust in collaboration with the ministry is currently conducting a research to determine per capita consumption with support of the industry partners.
“We would like to congratulate companies and communities who contributed insight information to this important task and for taking courageous leadership stance in driving forward shared understanding of what is meant to be sustainable, responsible consumption” stressed Ndjakela.
She said fish products are sold below market related prices to ensure affordability. Adding that small business enterprises continue to show interest in fish distribution network supplied by fishing industry.
The regional fish promotion incorporated educational activities aimed at imparting skills on how to prepare and cook different fish cuisines to communities.
“The opening of this fish shop is evident that NFCPT remains committed to the well-being of all citizen while remaining focused fervently on the execution of our mandate” she concluded.