Gariep Dam - A R45 million fish hatchery is to be constructed in Gariep Dam in the Free State to not only supply local community projects, but create employment opportunities.
The South Africa Agricultural Demonstration Centre, which is a result of a partnership between South Africa and China, is envisaged to be a fingerling supply station to rural aquaculture community projects in the Free State and outside the province.
The hatchery will also be used to advance research and will provide a facility where agricultural scientists, technicians and farmers will test methodologies. It is expected to be completed in 2011.
Speaking at the sod turning ceremony in Gariep Dam on Tuesday, Free State Premier Ace Magashule said hundreds of jobs would be created as the next construction gets underway.
"Through the construction of this hatchery, unemployed communities will gain employment and develop their skills by learning more about fishery," said Magashule.
He said the project marked the beginning of prosperity for the unemployed locals. A total of 105 locals and 12 Chinese nationals will be employed at the beginning of the project.
Chinese Ambassador, Zhong Jianhua said the partnership was a result of his government wanting to assist developing countries and teach them about fisheries.
He added that the project was a sign of friendship between the two countries.
The Chinese government has injected more than R45 million into the project and will give R15 million each year for the next three years.