The region’s major areas of industry – mining and fishing – are well established and supported by high levels of modern technology and expertise. Both contribute substantially to the regional and national economy, together providing a sizeable portion of its export turnover in both raw and processed products. Both industries also employ many Karas citizens and have become important catalysts for development in the region.
Until recently, much industry was centred solely on the extraction of raw materials such as ores, or marine catches, and exported directly. However, in the past decade, industries such as zinc refining and fish and seafood canning are encouraging a growing culture of “at-home” processing, manufacturing and supporting industries, which are being strongly supported by government for the additional employment opportunities and prosperity they can bring to Karas citizens.
Agriculture has, for some time, been centred largely on small livestock production in the region. Karakul sheep farming, once a highly lucrative industry has, in the past decade, been reduced by a worldwide shift in demand for this once-prized pelt. Filling this niche, however are commercial Ostrich farming operations, which are fast becoming lucrative enterprises with ready local and foreign markets for fresh meat, leathers and other products.
Current developments in the said commercial sectors are indicative of quite the contrary. The Karakul pelts industry is experiencing a significant come back after a long period of low economic activities while the Ostrich industry is experiencing a decline in production operations..
Crop and irrigated agriculture is the region’s most exciting new growth industry, with an ideal pest-free climate and easier access to water infrastructure encouraging the steady development of farming enterprises growing crops such as table grapes, dates, fruit, vegetables and high-value greenhouse produce, already evident in areas around the Orange River, with plans for new irrigated projects developing apace.
Across these three industries the potential for development is persuasive. The region still possesses many untapped raw materials, such as offshore natural gas and other minerals that promise new industries. Unique marine harvesting and mariculture enterprises along a rich coastline soon to be complemented by the Aquaculture Industry continue to grow and Namibia’s wide open spaces, now blessed with accessible water are daily springing to nourishing life.