Major salmon-farming project launched in Lesotho

2nd August 2019 By: Rebecca Campbell - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor

Freshwater salmon fish farming company Pure Salmon has announced a major investment in Lesotho to establish a recirculating aquaculture system (RAS) salmon farm in the country’s highland Butha-Buthe region. The project will cost $250-million and is being undertaken in partnership with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC). Pure Salmon’s parent company is Singapore-based 8F Asset Management.

When fully developed, by 2023, the facility will have an annual production capacity of 20 000 t. It will create more than 250 full-time jobs in the country and receive power from the nearby hydroelectric power station. Such power, the company pointed out, is 100% renewable. Once in full production, the salmon farm is forecast to generate annual revenues which will contribute 8% of Lesotho’s gross domestic product.

“Not only is Lesotho one of the most dramatically beautiful countries in the world – the Highlands are also the source of some of the purest natural water reserves in the world,” stressed 8F founder and chairperson and Pure Salmon board director Stephane Farouze. “This directly complements the Pure Salmon pledge to deliver sustainable Atlantic salmon, free of microplastics, antibiotics, pesticides and other contaminants.”

“I sincerely believe this partnership will yield tremendous results for Lesotho as a whole,” affirmed LNDC CEO Mohato Seleke. “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.”

“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,” pointed out Farouze. “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.”

“Government has been tasked with growing the economy of Lesotho to ensure a stable and prosperous future for generations to come,” stated Trade and Industry Minister Habofanoe Lehana. “It is our prime duty to see that this task bears fruit, such as the fruit we are planting today with the Pure Salmon project.”

The partnership between Pure Salmon and the LNDC includes the setting up of a foundation by the fish farming enterprise to support the local community. Pure Salmon will also provide shares “through direct ownership of the site to the communities which offer their unused land for the salmon farm”, stated the company’s press release.

An aquaculture education programme at the National University of Lesotho will also be funded by Pure Salmon and 8F; 15 internships will be created, at first at the company’s facility in Poland and then, once it is operational, at the facility in Lesotho. Moreover, during the first decade of operation, the facility will supply one-million free salmon meals a year to local orphanages and schools.

Pure Salmon has a 50:50 partnership with AquaMaof Aquaculture Technologies which is already producing salmon in Poland. Pure Salmon also has projects under way in America, Bahrain, China, Europe and Japan. It is targeting a total global annual production of 260 000 t. The use of RAS technology allows the company to rear the fish in a manner that ensures maximum health for the salmon, while cutting costs by 40%, compared with sea-cage salmon farming.