Rehoboth Baster Community
Squabbling Threatens Multi-Million Project
Published by May 06, 2005
A lucrative N$72-million dollar investment fish farm project for the residents of Rehoboth is likely to go down the drain if an urgent solution is not found by noon today.
In the middle of the prospering of the project is the Rehoboth Town Council that failed to reach an amicable agreement in allocating land to secure the international investment. The Oanob Aqua Fish Farm project acquired 100 hectares of land from the local authority west of the town, in order to set up a potentially viable fish farm, a fishmeal plant and a greenhouse scheme.
Managing director of the project Marius !Kharigub told New Era on Wednesday that the current internal political squabbles within the Rehoboth Town Council is blocking the project from getting started in the first place. "The whole project is now on standby for the past four months and here we are sitting with millions of dollars in cash, but have not officially been handed over the land by the town council," added !Kharigub.
One of the lucrative loans of US8,7 million dollars was acquired through the Saudi Investment Bank. Yet his fear is that the deadline for making use of these funds could expire by today, if no proof of land ownership is provided promptly.
Once operational the Oa-nob Aqua Fish Farm project could provide jobs to over 2 000 people, a necessary boost in a town where the residents still live in abject poverty. This could further have numerous economic spin-offs for the over 60 000 residents in the region as well. Besides poverty, unemployment amongst the youth is another serious problem in Rehoboth. In view of this, !Kharugab who also runs a youth project said that the investment could change the whole future of young people in the town to become productive citizens of the country's economy.
The Oanob Dam, which will feed the project, is one of the biggest dams in the country.
" We want to give food to our people, because poverty is really attacking us here and we need to do something about this situation urgently!" he stressed, saying that time is running out.
Similar to other aqua fish farm developments in the country, the one in Rehoboth plans to produce fish of the highly demanded tilapia and carb variety. It is anticipated to produce 410 metric tons of fish every month for locals and eventually the international export of fresh water fish to markets like the United States, Europe and neighbouring southern African countries.
At the same time the scheme will also produce cat and dog food from a mixture of mahangu and fishmeal for export purposes. Once sorted out, the aqua fish farm project would provide a viable economic boost for the town that has for too long experienced a dry spell of investments and lack of development.