The official opening ceremony of the brand new Karoo Catch fish processing plant took place last week Thursday, and was attended by Ms Zimaza Jika from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
She gave an interesting talk on the importance of food security and skills development in rural areas, both issues highly relevant to Karoo Catch. “Aquaculture is a solution to increasing food insecurities and also a sustainable and cheaper protein source. As can be seen with Karoo Catch, it is an empowerment tool to benefit the community and especially women,” Jika said. She expressed the hope that similar South African projects will soon follow in the pioneering footsteps Karoo Catch has taken since its start in 2011.
Karoo Catch Managing Director, Ken Light compared the company to a child making its way through life, one baby step at a time. “Since November 2017 when we entered the commercialization stage, it’s as if the business has become a teenager. We now move into adulthood, hopefully creating revenue and generating cash.” Ken Light stressed that South Africa desperately needs Karoo Catch to succeed, especially since food insecurity is largely underestimated. “We also cannot wait for government to create employment – we as communities have to create employment as well as markets,” he said. He was optimistic about Karoo Catch’s move into larger scale production. “We are desperately scared of this new phase, but in faith we are confident that in a year’s time we will look back at what was started today and celebrate.”
After an enthusiastic performance by the Karoo Catch choir, keynote speaker Lizeka Matshekga, Divisional Executive of the Industrial Development Corporation, congratulated the company for having come this far. “Not only has 103 jobs been created which will eventually escalate to 230 job opportunities, but an immense investment in skills development of employees had ensued,” Matshekga said. She ended her speech by ensuring Karoo Catch management that the IDC understands the cyclical nature of this type of business project and pledged the IDC’s commitment as long-term partner in the venture.
Reverent Clement Madeley from the Trinity Methodist church read a scripture from Luke 9 about the feeding of 5000 people and stressed verse 13, in which Jesus replied to his disciples: “YOU give them something to eat.” Rev Madeley anointed the building, after which the official ribbon was cut. Guests were taken on an interesting guided tour of the state-of-the-art facility and treated to a tasting of the products that Karoo Catch will distribute on a larger scale from here onward.
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