Thai Union to invest another €10m in tuna cannery in Seychelles
Thiraphong Chansiri, Thai Union Group president, met with Seychelles' President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House on Thursday. (State House)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Thai Union is planning to invest another 10 million euros in the Indian Ocean Tuna (IOT) canning factory in Seychelles in the next two years, said a top official of the group.
Thiraphong Chansiri, Thai Union Group president, made the statement to reporters following his meeting with Seychelles' President Wavel Ramkalawan at State House on Thursday.
"Over the last five years our company has invested over 40 million euros, and we will also have 10 additional in the next two years," said Chansiri.
The IOT company, located in the New Port in the capital of Victoria, is a manufacturer and exporter of canned tuna. It processes tuna caught in the Indian Ocean that is used by some of the most famous seafood brands including John West, Petit Navire and Mareblu.
This was Chansiri's first meeting with Ramkalawan who took over the presidency in October 2020 after winning the presidential elections.
On his side, Ramkalawan highlighted the critical role that the IOT is playing in Seychelles' economy.
“We look forward to exploring new avenues in which we can further expand our cooperation. I take this opportunity to express our appreciation for the trust and your continuous investment in this industry in Seychelles. At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the fisheries industry overtook our tourism sector and really supported the country. We appreciate the support and look forward to strengthening this partnership," said the President.
Thai Union has been investing in IOT since 2010 and Chansiri's last visit was in 2019 and Chansiri said that "we want to invest in alternative energy like solar panels so that we can produce green energy for the facility."
He also talked about the various ways through which his company can cooperate with Seychelles.
"We want to collaborate more with the fisheries ministry and also the education ministry," he said and added that Thai Union wants to engage more with residents and create employment.
One of the challenges the tuna canning industry is currently facing is competition.
"IOT is a very important part of our business, one of the strategic facilities within our group. It is for that reason that Thai Union is looking for ways to improve the company's competitiveness," said Chansiri.
Over the last two years, production of canned tuna has gone down, something general manager Ricardo Luzio says is due to a fluctuation in demand.
Thai Union owns 60 percent of IOT and the remaining 40 percent belongs to the government of Seychelles.
Processed fish is the main export of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, and the fisheries sector is the second-largest contributor to its economy after tourism.
Meanwhile, the government has demarcated the first area of land to be used solely as a fish processing zone north of the IPHS quay at Ile du Port.
Besides the fish processing units at the Providence fishing port, this is the first area to be demarcated as part of a land-use plan exclusively for fish processing and related activities.