The seal factory at Henties Bay has expanded operations to planting olive trees and producing olive oil.
Factory manager Gys Cilliers told Nampa during a visit to the factory on Friday that the last 1 000 olive plants arrived in November last year from South Africa. Henties Bay is located 70 kilometres north-west of Swakopmund.
“What is exciting is that we are going to produce oil ourselves. We will not sell the fruits to other companies to process into oil,” Cilliers said.
He said the aim of establishing the olive plantation is to create permanent employment for Namibians as the seal processing business is seasonal. The olive project started with 1 000 trees in 2013 and most of the plants have already started bearing fruits.
“By the end of this year we will employ 40 extra people permanently to work on the olive project. Most of them will be women,” said Cilliers. Olive oil is said to help fight high levels of cholesterol, treats sunburns and reduces strokes, especially amongst elderly people.
The factory opens from July to November every year when the seal harvest starts. There are 96 people permanently employed at the factory but they only work from July to November.
Last August, another N$1 million olive plantation was launched 10 kilometres west of the Okombahe settlement. This plantation is expected to provide employment to more than 300 people from Okombahe and other settlements such as Otjimbingwe, Namanpost and the rest of the Erongo Region.
Other olive farms include Swakop River Olives near Swakopmund, and the Heiser’s Olivenhain at Farm Hartebeestteich-Süd, situated seven kilometres north of Hochfeld.South African's seal-processing factory to produce olive oil,