Onshore processing plant inaugurated

Erongo Marine Enterprises creates 36 new jobs.

12 November 2018 | Fishing

Leandrea Louw

Erongo Marine Enterprises (EME) officially opened its onshore horse mackerel processing plant in Walvis Bay on Wednesday.

The plant has been operational since 20 September 2018 and employees about 36 employees working in two shifts.

According to Dr Martha Uumati, managing director of Erongo Marine Enterprises, the main idea behind the plant was to create jobs.

“The horse mackerel industry employs over 300 persons and therefore job sustainability is important to Erongo Marine. Each employee supports a family, which roughly translates to 1 500 mouths to feed. With the onshore processing plant, EME created an additional 36 jobs, sustaining another 180 people. The alternative would have been to retrench. The Namibia Fisheries Policy was driving us towards the RSW vessels, which only employs 18 people, as opposed to a freezer vessel which employs ten times more people.”

Uumati said that EME took into account the market demand of horse mackerel, which is a high protein food source and affordable for low income earners.

“We decided to repack horse mackerel from 30 kilogrammes to 10 kg. Usually what happens, ladies will buy the 30 kg carton and split it three ways with others. With the loose 10 kg slab of fish the challenge was the packaging and carrying, but now with the 10 kg carton this challenge is alleviated.”

The total investment in setting up the onshore processing plant amounts to N$1,5 million, and this includes the labour, cartons, machines, strapping, plastic and rental of building. The total investment until the end of the year amounts to N$2,9 million.

The initial repacking target was 20 metric ton per shift per day, but with the added manpower and machinery this increased to 50 metric ton per day which is 5 000 cartons per day. To date the processing plant has processes 974,11 metric ton out of the 3 407 metric ton required for 2018.

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