Hangana planning to export abalone to China

Chamwe Kaira

Hangana Seafood Ltd, the company that entered the abalone farming industry in Lüderitz five years ago, has revealed a significant growth in their livestock. From 15 tons in 2018, their abalone production has surged to 90 tons in 2023. Abalone, a marine snail belonging to the Haliotidae family, has been at the center of their farming efforts.

Herman Theron, the company’s managing director, shared that their expansion was hindered by various global events, such as the trade disputes between the USA and China, the Hong Kong protests, and the subsequent Covid-19 pandemic. These factors collectively limited their market access. Presently, the company has a workforce of 28 individuals.

Back in September 2018, Hangana Seafood Ltd, a subsidiary of the Ohlthaver & List Group, invested N$40 million into abalone farming, which encompassed N$13 million for the acquisition of an existing farm. It wasn’t until late 2022 that exports commenced. The company made investments in frozen and dried equipment to facilitate production.

Approximately 23 tons underwent processing to become frozen and dried products, which were exported to Hong Kong. However, this endeavor was not without its challenges, particularly in terms of logistics. The company’s next venture involves canned products, expected to hit the market by the close of 2023. Theron emphasized that their products have been well-received.

With an eye on the future, Hangana has outlined plans to expand production by 2027. Currently, their live animal weight stands at 90 metric tons, with aspirations to reach 110 metric tons by 2026. Theron highlighted the capital-intensive nature of land-based operations and the lengthy growth cycle from larvae to market-ready stock, which spans up to six years.

Regarding export markets, Theron identified Hong Kong as the primary destination, and efforts are underway to secure Chinese Health Certification for exports to China. On the local front, Hangana is introducing abalone to the market through the Ocean Cellar at the Strand Hotel in Swakopmund.

As Hangana charts its course for expansion, their strategy encompasses securing niche markets, enhancing product development for superior dried, frozen, and canned abalone, establishing their own brand, refining production and farming efficiencies, paving the way for aquaculture in Namibia, innovating new farming and processing techniques, fostering local expertise for future advancements, and ensuring operational sustainability by the end of 2025.

According to selinawamucii.com, the retail prices for Hong Kong abalone range from US$19.68 to US$47.34 per kilogram as of August.

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