The Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Derek Klazen has called on local entrepreneurs and the fishing industry to add value to all their products.

Klazen visited a polystyrene manufacturing plant in Walvis Bay.

The plant is owned by the Merlus Group of Companies, which invested about N$50 million to acquire the land.

Merlus is a fishing company that processes and exports fish to the European market. 

20% of the fish is exported as fresh hake by flying it from Walvis Bay, where it arrives in Spain the next day. 

These light white foam boxes made out of polystyrene are manufactured at the plant, and they are needed to protect the products.

Merlus' Director, Julio Lloves, says since we need to ship these fish in polystyrene boxes, we could not rely on boxes coming from South Africa; we had to put up our own polystyrene box factory that we recently moved across from here.

Fisheries Minister Derek Klazen says the industry needs to add value to products to ensure that the thousands of jobless Namibians are employed.

He indicated that another fishing company, Etosha, makes tinned fish in various flavors, but the tins, chillies, and tomato paste are imported. 

Klazen says Namibia has fertile agricultural land. Even the tins of this tomato and chili sauce are imported.

"We see we have a tin mine in Uis, and we are seriously looking into this matter. Can we produce the tins there? Can we produce tomato sauce in the country? Can tomato paste be made in the country? With that alone, what are we talking about? Job creation means many more people end up employed, and our local people can also get business. Through this, entrepreneurs we can put up these factories to make this paste and so on. That is just one. These boxes are another one. If we take a look at the cardboard boxes that we make, I think we are also making it locally; that's also an opportunity for smaller entrepreneurs, you know, and for youth empowerment and so on."

Klazen says Namibia has developed business-friendly and conducive policies for domestic investments to thrive.



Renate Rengura