Minister Bastienne visits fish processing factories and west coast farms | 19 October 2019
To mark the end of the Food Week, the Minister for Fisheries and Agriculture, Charles Bastienne, visited a number of fish processing facilities at Providence.
The purpose of the visit was to see the chain of production, not only for agricultural produce but for the fisheries sector too.
The minister was joined by his principal secretary for fisheries, Jude Talma as well as various media houses.
“Today I was able to interact with the people who work in production and saw their daily routines. I was able to visit the factories where fishes are processed and then exported to the international market,” said Minister Bastienne.
The visit started at the JHL Amirantes Fisheries where the minister interacted with the employees of the factory who gave a demonstration on the packaging of some of their products such as smoked marlin, fish burgers and tuna steaks.
James Lesperance, owner of Amirantes Fisheries, said he was presently exporting to the Maldives, India and Sri Lanka but was looking at other potential markets on the African continent.
The company produces various products such as fish spread, chutney, salted fish using tuna and by-catch fish.
Mr Lesperance added that their market for some of their products such as the smoked marlin include local takeaways and small hotels.
Minister Bastienne stopped by the fishing port next to where fishermen were loading freshly caught tuna to be weighed and graded.
Selwyn Legras, operations manager from Morin Fisheries Group, said that the industrial port needs an independent person to assess the grading of their fish in order for them to get the best quality.
The minister next visited two more fish processing plants that export local fish internationally – Ocean Basket owned by Louis Bossy and Fresh Sea Food owned by Jacob Williams.
Mr Bossy said the company focuses its export to European destinations, Sri Lanka and Ivory Coast, the only African country so far buying the product.
Mr Williams said his company works with over 32 boats captained by local fishermen who provide them with fish which are then exported to 13 destinations around the world including America.
“The visit highlighted the great job that these processing factories are doing in exporting fish. This shows that with more work and advertising, more markets will open up bringing the value of local fish higher,” said Minister Bastienne.
“The only disappointment that I have is that when grading for fish is only grade B and C. This is a waste of money as we need to make sure that fishermen and processors work with the Seychelles Fishing Authority to maintain a grade A for every catch,” the minister said.
Minister Bastienne’s next stop was in the west where he visited some farmers who were affected by the recent heavy rains. Minister Bastienne stated that his ministry is always ready to offer support to local farmers.
Sylvestre Naiken was one of the farmers he visited and while he did not get affected by the rain, he did have some concerns which he put to the attention of the minister and the chief executive of the Seychelles Agricultural Agency, Linetta Esticot who was accompanying Minister Bastienne.
One of the points raised by Mr Naiken was the lack of assistance he is receiving regarding the importation of his shade houses that will guarantee him harvest all year round.
Farmers have the work ethics but lack finance which results in business loss, remarked the minister.
He added that he will try and help Mr Naiken in getting his shade houses as his farm will be a major producer of local produce one his project is completed.
The accompanying photos show some highlights of Minister Bastienne’s visits.