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7tri/- to lift Z’bar blue economy

ZANZIBAR-based Salmin Fisheries Limited has secured 3bn US dollar (about 7tri/-) business partnership in the construction of the fish processing indus- try and fish landing port.

Salmin Fisheries Executive Director, Dr Salmin Ibrahim said here on Thursday that Turkish Northland Capital Investment is willing to invest the amount in the ambitious projects under the government spearheaded blue economy.

“The money is there, we are just asking the government to help in securing the apt area for the projects,” Dr Ibrahim told the Blue Economy and Fisheries Minister Abdallah Hussein Kombo at the official launch of fishing and fishing credit programme.

The indigenous fishing firm and Equity Bank have teamed up under a strategic programme to support small-scale fishers through training, financing and marketing.

“We want our artisanal fishermen and the country as a whole to benefit from deep sea fishing,” said Dr Ibrahim, noting that under the programme, fishermen will through their groups receive credits, including modern fishing boats.

He said the company, with 3,500 registered fishing groups in Unguja and Pemba so far, has reliable fish markets in Turkey, China and Finland, adding that the company will require over 5,000 tones of tuna monthly to meet the market demand.

Equity Bank Managing Director Robert Kiboti reaffirmed his financial institution’s keenness to support small fishers an government towards the achievement of the country’s economic priorities.

“Equity bank is here to support the government in its top economic priorities...we invite groups and individual fishermen to visit our branches, open accounts and enjoy our products,” said Mr Kiboti whose bank boasts of 14 branches and 3,000 agents in Zanzibar and Mainland.

During the event, the bank issued a 420m/- dummy cheque to Al-Maida Trading Company, one of the indigenous deep sea fishing firms and the first beneficiary of the grand programme.

Launching the programme, Minister Kombo invited more investors in the blue economy, saying deep sea fishing, fish farming and fish processing are some of the areas that yearn for serious investors.

He challenged Salmin Fisheries and Equity Bank to broaden their network and reach more needy Zanzibaris in the fishing industry.

“Zanzibar has over 50,000 artisanal fishermen, your efforts are commendable but you have to do more and reach more people...go deep into rural fishing communities where majority needy fishermen are,” said the minister, reminding the fishing stakeholders to observe environmental conservation on their undertakings.

Al-Maida Executive Director Omar Ali Khassan welcomed the initiative, which he described as a savior to the struggling fishing communities. He described fishing as a highly stressful sector, proposing the establishment of special fund to support the financially starved native fishermen in Zanzibar.

Mr Khassan termed the fishing industry as “capital intensive and risky business,” which requires the government intervention.

Blue economy is one of the flagship sectors, which President Hussein Ali Mwinyi has vowed to pursue under his eight-phase administration.

Already, Dr Mwinyi has promised construction of fish processing industries, fish landing ports and reliable fish markets for Zanzibar fishers.

The government’s goal is to explore deep sea fishing, the multibillion marine resources, which for many years have benefited foreigners, with Zanzibar earning peanut through licensing of international fishing vessels

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