Abalone farming at Lüderitz holds so much promise for the town, with the potential of employing thousands of its residents, Sven Thieme, the Executive Chairman of the Ohlthaver & List Group has said.
Hangana, a unit of the O&L group officially acquired Lüderitz Abalone Farm last year at a cost of N$13,9 million, rescuing the operation and securing the livelihoods of 23 employees, after the former owners became bankrupt.
Before the company was taken over by Hangana, it had been placed under provisional liquidation, administered by the Development Bank of Namibia (DBN), which had provided it with a loan in 2013.
According to Thieme, the immediate target of Hangana was to increase the farm’s capacity from 24 tons of live animals on hand to 150 tons of live animals.
He said the group has managed to turn around the business so much that it could become the third largest abalone producer in the world.
So far, N$20 million has been invested in the business since O&L took over.
“That is the beginning; there will be a lot more investment coming. It’s for export, we as locals, hardly know it.”
Thieme said the abalone from the farm is exported to China, Japan and other countries in the Far East.
“It’s very valuable. In Hammenous, South Africa when abalone is being exported, it is transported in armoured cars so that it’s not stolen.”
Thieme said a kilogram of abalone costs US$35. He said farming abalone holds huge potential because of Lüderitz’s warm climate, which makes the abalone to grow to bigger size and attractive colours.
With the planned expansion of the project, Thieme said it has the potential to employ thousands of people and provide long-term benefits for Lüderitz.
“It takes four years to grow an abalone before you can market it. It’s a lot of upfront investment before you can reap the benefits.”
The farm was established in 2002 and produces land based abalone.