Namibia: Fish Cuisine for Omaheke
In a bid to promote fish eating in the country, a delegation from the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources yesterday went on a fish cooking demonstration in the Omaheke Region where fish is largely absent on the menu.
The 12-member delegation led by the Deputy Minister of Fisheries and Marine Resources, Kilus Nguvauva, held a meeting at Gobabis yesterday afternoon to demonstrate various appetising ways of preparing the nutrient-rich fish.
"We are braaing and cooking tilapia and catfish. We are trying to encourage Namibians to eat more fish and also go into aquaculture - a step the Government believes has potential to alleviate poverty," the Deputy Minister said.
The demonstration is an attempt to encourage Namibians to eat white meat, particularly fish, given the traditional tendency to consume red meat.
Apart from sharing recipes, the delegation also exchanged views on fish farming and how Namibians can incorporate fish in their daily meals.
Today, the delegation will hold a similar meeting in Aminuis constituency before proceeding to Steinhausen tomorrow and Epukiro on Friday.
The Deputy Minister described the turnout at yesterday's meeting as overwhelming with more than 60 Gobabis residents attending.
Although Namibia is endowed with many fish species, a few people eat fish as shown by the high number of gout sufferers in the country.
Statistics reveal that the country exports 98 percent of its fish to Europe, Asia and Africa. This translates to an estimated 600000 metric tons of fish.
Namibia's hake is exported to Europe, orange roughy to the United States, tuna and rock lobster to Japan and horse mackerel to West Africa.Namibians' low interest in making fish their daily food has been attributed to lack of access to the product and the exorbitant prices charged by the few shops that sell fish. Thirty kilogrammes of mackerel cost between N$188 and N$200.
Cultural habits have greatly contributed to people's lack of interest in eating the protein-rich resource coupled with the quality of Namibian beef.
In 1994, the Government set up the Namibia Fish Consumption Trust to promote fish consumption throughout the country and ensure that promotion of fish consumption goes hand in hand with imparting of skills on how to prepare different fish cuisine.
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The ministry says only aggressive marketing promotions, coupled with fish farming projects can draw Namibians into becoming regular fish eaters.
Five years ago, fish consumption was estimated at 10kg of fish per person every year.
This was considered far below the levels of fish consumption found in other major fish producing regions like Asia and the Nordic countries where fish consumption was in the range of 20-30kg and around 60kg per person annually for Japan.