Namibia: Interview with Mr. L. Bastos

Mr. L. Bastos

Managing Director (Corvima Fishing)

Mr. L. Bastos

Corvima Fishing was established in 1994 as an investment company to assist newcomers with joint ventures. Could you give us your thoughts on the evolution of Corvima Fishing activities from its creation to today?

With the arrival of Independence of the Republic of Namibia during 1990,the opportunity for the previous disadvantaged people to take part in the Namibia’s
economy had also clearly become a reality. Corvima Investments was started with this in mind and in all our companies we have previous disadvantaged people serving as directors and employees to share in the opportunities that became available with Independence. Due to money and credit constraints it was difficult for newcomers to become a part of the fishing industry on their own and that is why Corvima Investments decided to go this route.

Could you tell about some of the company’s key figures for the last year 2005 (Number of vessels, budget, total amount invested, etc)?

Corvima and it’s subsidiaries at the moment have an active fleet of 6 vessels of which four are operating in the Hake sector and two vessels are operating in the Large Pelagic sector. The total investment in vessels only is 19 million N$. Added to this the Hake Filleting factory was an investment of 30 million N$ and now with the addition of the new PQ factory to the tune of 10 million N$, the total investment by Corvima comes to at least 59 million N$.

Corvima Fishing went into a joint venture with a multinational group called Caladero, which supplies directly to the biggest group of supermarkets in Spain. Generally speaking, what is the partnership strategy of the Group in the Namibia?

The reason for this strategic partnership was to make sure that the Namibian Products get into the European market as fresh as possible and with as little middle men as possible. Caladero are linked to the biggest supermarket chain in Spain and therefore this fresh product is distributed widely and thus creates market value and branding for Namibian Fish. Our future strategy with Caladero would be to develop
new products apart from the fresh hake that we do at the moment. This could include value adding to tuna, swordfish and horse mackerel as examples. We are very excited about the prospects of this partnership.

Would you be interested in exporting to other markets such as the USA?

As an exporting company we would be interested in exporting to other countries as well and this off course also includes the USA. We would welcome interest from importers into the USA or any other countries to contact us if they are interested in doing business with us.

Your company opened long-line processing facility of N$10 million at Walvis Bay last year in 2005. Can you tell us more about any upcoming projects the company may have?

At the moment this long line processing plant is primarily used to pack whole, gutted fresh hake to export to Spain by road and air transport. In the future more value adding will be done to be able to export fresh fillets and steaks in atmospheric packaging that will give a longer shelf life to fresh products.

How confident are you in the long term future of Namibia’s fishing industry?

We are very confident that our operations will be much more worthwhile once the upgrading of the Walvis Bay Airport is completed. It is envisaged that this might take another 18 months to complete. This will make it easier for us, as the entire product can be flown to Europe straight out of Walvis Bay and will thus illuminate trucking the fresh product to Windhoek or Johannesburg Airports before it can be flown to Europe. We are confident that there is a long-term future for the Namibia Fishing Industry.

Your government has set a goal that you call “vision 2030” which aims to see the country prospering in many ways (economically, poverty eradicating, attract international investments, etc). How would your company contribute to this?

Well we believe that the only way to reach some of the goals of “vision 2030” is to
invest in Namibia. We have now just recently bought another fish processing plant and we plan to do value adding there as well which in turn creates employment and thus contributes to the eradication of poverty. We have as a company invested heavily in projects that have to do with social upliftment and I can just name a few.

  1. The Jonah Home for orphaned children
  2. Topenaar project which uplifts a community
  3. Indira Ghandi Hospital in the rural areas of the north
  4. The Kunene General Marine Foundation which distributes Horse Mackerel in the rural communities.
  5. Support for four Old Age Homes in the south of the country in Luderitz

This is also a very important way to contribute to “vision 2030” as it really helps to promote the aims of the government of Namibia.

Your personal experiences are also of interest to us. Could you tell us about your career up to your promotion to Managing Director of Corvima Fishing as well as your greatest accomplishment during your time as Managing Director?

My great grandfather was already in the fishing sector in Vigo in Spain. Our family talks and eats fish everyday and it seems it is in our blood. I came to Namibia in 1966.
As my brother had passed away and I wanted to see for myself what Namibia is like. Well I then fell in love with Namibia and after 40 Years I am still here. This speaks for itself and shows that I made the right decision to come to Namibia. My greatest accomplishment was to get Corvima Investments integrated into the Namibian Fishing Industry after Independence. There was a lot of hard work to be done and that time, but with the help of the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine resources, we are a proud member of the Namibian Fishing Industry.

We’re here in the Republic of Namibia to promote the investment opportunities of the country. What would your final message be to our readers concerning these opportunities?

My message would be that opportunities do exist to invest in Namibia for serious investors, but this will have to be long term investments as we are still developing our economy and this cannot be done overnight.