22 Oct 2014 14:40pm
KEETMANSHOOP, 22 OCT (NAMPA) The Keetmanshoop Fonteintjie Aquaculture Project received a much-needed boost with a financial injection of N.dollars 25 million by Central Government towards its upgrade over the next four years.
The project, started in 2005, has been plagued by numerous resource losses over the years.
As such, it has been unable to provide the needy community it intends to serve with any affordable freshwater fish up to now.
Minor boys recently even drained three of the six fish ponds, and carried away hundreds of fish which they sold in the Ileni settlement, where the project is located.
Over 4500 fish died when the ponds were emptied.
Previously, workers were also implicated in the theft of materials and equipment at the site.
Vegetables grown at the project have likewise been looted and plants damaged by suspected young criminals.
A poultry section at Fonteintjie has died a natural death when chicken were poisoned and pilfered.
Site manager Peter Simasiku attributed the problems to a lack of funds and secure facilities.
On Tuesday, the Deputy Minister of Veterans Affairs and Keetmanshoop Urban Constituency Councillor Hilma Nicanor handed over the site to Edison Building Supplies, who won the tender for the projects upgrade.
She said it was a dream come true for her office to see the aquaculture project coming to fruition.
The Constituency Office conceived the idea, and started the project with 30 female volunteers who all left over the years.
The project now has five staff members who receive an allowance from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources.
Nicanor stated that she was proud to have fought for the funds to be allocated for development in the often-neglected southern region.
Government is serious that all citizens in the four corners of the country are treated equitably.
There were attempts to divert these funds elsewhere, but as per Cabinet directive, the needs of the people from the South are being addressed, she beamed.
She thus urged the Keetmanshoop community to refrain from vandalism.
This project is yours, and not only for now, but for future generations to come, she added.
Nicanor said aquaculture offered opportunities from which many could benefit.
This industry can help improve food security, reduce poverty, create much-needed employment opportunities and increase local investment, she noted.
The Fonteintjie Aquaculture Project operates on a piece of land made available by the Keetmanshoop Municipality, and utilises water generated from a natural underground spring one of three on the outskirts of this town.
The project was initially started with European Union (EU) funds.