The future of an intended animal vaccine facility is tentative at most at this stage. The availability of a technical partner, and the structuring of the deal to finance the facility, can only be finalised once a visiting Chinese delegation has submitted their final report.
The agricultural ministry said, since the country’s livestock industry is often haunted by the scourge of Foot and Mouth Disease and other related diseases, the establishment of a vaccine production and research facility is vital but it currently hangs in the balance, until a final report on the viability is done.
Earlier this week officials from the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry and a Chinese delegation from Anhui Foreign Economic Construction (AFECC) and the Jinyu Group met in the capital, to further discuss the possibility of collaboration on the establishment of a vaccine production facility in Namibia, after initial talks that took place in August.
The Chinese experts are in the country to familiarize themselves with the actual practical situation on the ground in Northern Central areas of Namibia as well as to interact with the various stakeholders on the ground, for instance farmers, business persons and veterinarians.
Speaking at the event, Agricultural Minister, Hon John Mutorwa said, Namibia’s aim is to attract investment into the livestock vaccine and pharmaceutical industries to ensure long term sustainability and security for the Namibian livestock sector and to position the country to be one day, a net exporter of livestock vaccines and pharmaceuticals to the rest of the world.
Mutorwa said that for the upcoming weeks, details will emerge on the modalities according to which the vaccine facility will be established. “The following weeks will therefore be important, to determine if such a plant can be established in Namibia and how this will be done,” he added.
According to Mutorwa, the ministry has already acquired a 100 hectare plot at Eenhana, in the Ohangwena Region, for the construction of the vaccine production facility and research laboratory.
Mutorwa added that this purchase was included in their capital project NPC Code 8049, but could not move forward because they needed a competent technical partner to help them. “It is therefore our great pleasure to now engage AFECC and Jinyu to realize, practically, this national assignment,” he added.
Chief Veterinary Officer in the Directorate of Veterinary Services (DVS), Dr Milton Maseke said since they are in the starting phase of the project, if all goes well with the assessment it will likely take 3 to 5 years for the project to bear fruit.
Currently, the livestock sector spends approximately N$600 million annually to import essential vaccines and pharmaceuticals. Meanwhile, Mutorwa noted that China is among the world’s largest producers of livestock vaccine, which is a very complicated and expensive undertaking and the strategic partnership with Jinyu and Anhui will help with the much-needed research and development.
“We look forward to the final report of your visit. I can assure you all that the findings and recommendations that will be contained in and which will be conveyed in the report will assist the government through the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry to make final decisions,” Mutorwa said.