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From hatchery to finished product, Africa's first land-based salmon farm will have it all

With the new launch, Pure Salmon will deliver locally grown Atlantic salmon on four different continents, and account for a major slice of Lesotho's GDP, exec tells IntraFish.

With plans to build a recirculated aquaculture system (RAS) salmon farm in the mountains of Lesotho, in southern Africa, land-based salmon farmer Pure Salmon could become the first company in the world to deliver locally grown Atlantic salmon on four different continents.

The firm already has projects in the United States, Europe and two locations in Asia: Japan and China.

The African operation opens up an entirely new frontier: the company plans to supply markets such as South Africa and Kenya from Lesotho, a country that lies above 1,000 meters in elevation and has a continental climate unlike any other nation in the region.

“Lesotho has a number of attributes that make it an attractive location for a land-based salmon farm,” Stephane Farouze, board director of Pure Salmon and chairman and founder of private equity parent 8F Asset Management, told IntraFish.

At the moment, the company is in talks with the Lesotho National Development Corporation (LNDC) to ensure all the required permits are in place and to secure the remaining portion of the funding.

The $250 million (€224.4 million) project, due to be finalized by 2023, includes a hatchery, a nursery, grow-out operations and a processing and packaging plant.

“Products will range from head-on gutted (HOG) to fillets, smoked salmon and value-added items," Farouze said. “There will be no need to use external providers.”

RAS equipment will be supplied by AquaMaof, which is the equipment supplier for all of the company’s land-based projects.

At the moment, the company uses salmon eggs from Iceland, but it plans to review this for the Lesotho facility, Farouze said.

The facility, which will be fully powered by renewable energy from local hydroelectric and solar power stations, will have a capacity to farm 20,000 metric tons, and could be the first land-based salmon farm in Africa.

Another key factor given by the natural conditions of the location is the abundant supply of fresh water.

“This was an important part of our due diligence when deciding where to build the facility,” Farouze said.

Besides the low environmental impact, the project is expected to support to the country’s economy with employment and training in local communities.

“We will set up the 8F and Pure Salmon Foundation to sponsor aquaculture education in the region and provide free salmon meals to local school children and orphans," Farouze said.

Once the project reaches its full production capacity of 20,000 metric tons of salmon a year, it is expected to generate 8 percent of Lesotho’s GDP by revenue.

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