The Khomas region managed to raise contributions valued at N$762 500 in cash and in kind at the 10th National Fish Consumption Day (NFCD) gala dinner held on the outskirts of the city yesterday.
The proceeds will be directed towards addressing educational needs in the region.
The Zambezi region was drawn as the next host of the revolving fish promotion day covering all the 14 regions, of which N$5.5 million ha so far been raised since the maiden edition in 2012, excluding last night’s pledges.
The National Fish Consumption Day is a day to celebrate Namibian fisheries, through promotion of fish products as well as putting emphasis on the nutritional and economic benefits of eating fish. It is being administered under the government parastatal, the Namibia Fish Consumption Promotion Trust (NFCPT).
“Since the fund-raising Gala Dinner donations started nine years ago, NFCPT and stakeholders have raised over N$5.5 million, which was utilised in assisting our communities in various regions in Namibia. These funds have been invested in school needs, such as mattresses, bunk beds, chairs, desks, lockers, fridges, computers, printers, school uniforms, bags of cement, frozen fish, utensils etc to the host regions,” said Fisheries and Marine Resources Minister Derek Klazen.
“Let me also clarify that this Corporate Social Responsibility initiative is by no means the only way that the fishing industry shares the benefits of our fisheries with the wider Namibian community: the industry pays fishing levies, quota fees and taxes, which are in turn distributed through the National Budget to all regions in the country to build roads, schools, hospitals, and other developments. Therefore, the NFCD donations are a top-up of the fisheries sector contribution to society, which comes with the educational component of imparting culinary skills and socio-economic benefits of consuming fish, as an emphasis of our care.” Klazen added that consumption and accessibility to fish leads to poverty reduction through job creation along market chains as well as promoting the nutritional lifestyle. He says that every individual is required to consume 20.4kg of fish per annum which translates to 30 000 metric tonnes with a monetary value of N$500 million.
“We are projecting that we have now reached about 16.59 kg per person per year of this target. If only our people in the regions could target fish trading and start consuming more fish, we could surely get to our 20.4 kg per person per year target or even surpass it. Fish Consumption would translate into new businesses opening, and the profit margins realised by our small and medium scale traders could greatly help address current poverty and inequality,” said Klazen.
Meanwhile, the chairperson of NFCPT Suzan Ndjaleka appealed for land from local authorities and regional councils so that fish distribution shops can be established, which inhabitants can easily access for consumption and reselling. She specified areas such Zambezi, Omaheke and Kharas region where land is urgently needed to expand fish business. NFCPT has 18 retail shops across the country, and conducts monthly regional sales promotions to further provide access to areas they do not operate.
“As this event brings together players in the fishing industry and the consumers, we need to consider optimising synergies and unlock the potential of achieving a thriving fishing sector. Consequently, we need to understand that our presence here tonight is significant to the attainment of our Governmental objective as informed by NDP6 & HPPII as well as the Blue Economy policy. So, let’s put heads together and unlock potential through empowerment and honouring our corporate social investment.
“We, have further, partnered with the University of Science and Technology’s Namibia Business Innovation Institute on a project to identify and implement NFCPT fish distribution agents throughout the country by ensuring that the potential distributors are capacitated through training to enable them to run the business sustainably and successfully.” On the flipside, an appreciative Khomas Governor Laura McLeod-Katjiuara, said the region is faced with an increasing enrolment rate at schools which has now surpassed the carrying capacity of the infrastructures due to high urbanisation. She is therefore of the opinion the funds will be put to good use and make an impact to education sector.