Crocodile in KaribaKongola — The Ministry of Trade and Industry has finally received the green light to set up what will be the first and biggest crocodile breeding project in the Zambezi Region.

The project to be set up in the Kayuwo area of the Kongola constituency, 110 kilometres west of Katima Mulilo will cost in excess of N$27 million and through the ministry’s implementing agency, the Namibia Development Corporation (NDC) civil works are expected to begin as early as next week already. The project to be known as Manyeha Crocodile Leather Processing and Training Centre which will cover a 7 hectares piece of land would result in the creation of over 100 non-permanent jobs during the construction phase and about 60 permanent jobs once fully operational.

The project is intended to boost tourism in an area already abounding with conservancies and a national park. It also entails the processing of crocodile leather and the export of crocodile skin and pricey croc fillets. At the site handover, Kongola constituency councillor David Muluti was relieved that the project which was delayed last year would finally take off. “The crocodile farm was put on hold last year in May due to technical reasons beyond our control. I am now pleased to announce that the farm will be established to breed crocodiles and it will serve as a training centre as initiated by the constituency development committee (CDC) on behalf of the residents of the Kongola constituency and the Zambezi Region at large,” said an overjoyed Muluti.

According to him the project is strategically located and thus an influx of tourists is inevitable, since Kongola serves as a gateway for many tourists to the wider SADC region. “The Kongola constituency is well centred in the Trans-Zambezi Corridor. It serves as an entrance and exit point for tourists coming to SADC countries such as South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. It is also adjacent to the Bwabwata National Park and it will boost the tourism industry and create jobs for unemployed youths,” Muluti told New Era at Kongola.

Raphael Mbala, the chairperson of Zambezi Regional Council who also witnessed the site handover hailed the initiative and agreed that the project would create many jobs and stimulate tourism.

“This marks a milestone in the history of our region regarding development. This project is something we have been looking forward to. It’s going to create employment for our people. This will be a centre of tourism attractions. It is going to put the region on the map and we should look after it when it’s fully operational,” enthused an upbeat Mbala. Chief Joseph Tembwe Mayuni of the Mashi Traditional Authority was also ecstatic that his community would benefit from the countless job opportunities expected once work on the project commences. “This project has come at the right time. People will be able to generate money. We should support projects like these as unlike others they do not rely on the rains.

These projects are benefiting the community,” he said. According to Charity Mujohn Kaali, the project manager on behalf of the Namibia Development Corporation, the project is likely to be completed within eight months, adding everything will however depend on the availability of funds, because construction would be carried out in phases. “NDC is the implementing agency.

The ministry of trade is the custodian ministry. They provide finances and we implement. We are trying to address the goals of NDP4. By next week we would have already started with the actual work and we expect this project to be done in 8 months,” Mujohn Kaali said. Phase 1 of the project will include raising the platform as the site sits in a flood plain. The project also expects to train small-scale crocodile breeding farmers in the area once it gets off the ground. Once completed the infrastructure will comprise of breeding pens, training and research facilities, an abattoir, chalets, an auditorium and a restaurant among others. The main contractor for the project is Nexus Civils.

From : All Aafrica

By George Sanzila

21 January 2014