THE southern African landlocked kingdom of Lesotho is to farm salmon in plans announced today by RAS company Pure Salmon.
A US$250 million land based farm with capacity for 20,000 tonnes will be developed in partnership with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC).
If successful, the venture could produce annual revenues accounting for eight per cent of the country’s GDP, said Pure Salmon in a press release.
Located in the Butha-Buthe Highland region of Lesotho, the farm is due to be completed by 2023. It will generate more than 250 full time jobs in Lesotho and will be powered by 100 per cent renewable energy from the adjacent hydroelectric power station.
Pure Salmon and its parent company, 8F Asset Management, will set up a foundation to support the local community, as part of the deal.
This will include an aquaculture education programme at the National University of Lesotho, with 15 international internships available at Pure Salmon’s facilities across the world.
One million free salmon meals per year will also be provided to local schools and orphanages during the first 10 years of the facility’s operation.
And Pure Salmon will provide shares through direct ownership of the site to the communities which offer their unused land for the salmon farm.
Stephane Farouze, board director of Pure Salmon and chairman and founder of 8F Asset Management, said: ‘Through our partnership with the LNDC and investment in the Lesotho site, we hope to provide increased opportunities for the local community through the production of sustainable salmon.
‘Whether that’s providing new jobs, offering training opportunities in the aquaculture industry or contributing to the LNDC’s commitment to diversify the country’s agriculture industry, we look forward to bringing this project to fruition.’
LNDC CEO Mohato Seleke said: ‘I sincerely believe this partnership will yield tremendous results for Lesotho as a whole.
‘The Pure Salmon product is a high-end consumable, and Lesotho boasts the perfect conditions for producing it.
‘It is for this and numerous other reasons that we are engaging in this agreement with Pure Salmon and 8F.’
Pure Salmon already produces salmon in a RAS (recirculating aquaculture system) facility in Poland, developed with technology from Israeli RAS expert AquaMaof.
It also has projects underway in Japan, China, Bahrain, America and Europe that it says will contribute to its aim to produce 260,000 tonnes of salmon a year.
Lesotho, formerly Basutoland under British colonial rule, declared independence in 1966. It is a fully sovereign state, its territory located within South Africa.