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20 July 2018 Photo Leonie Bolleurs
Research informs about sustainable use of fresh water for food production
Conducting research on the topic of water-footprint assessment, are from the left: Dr Enoch Owusu-Sekyere, Dr Henry Jordaan, study leader and Senior Lecturer in the UFS Department of Agricultural Economics, Dr Frikkie Maré (Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics), and Adetoso Adetoro.

The fact that South Africa is a water-scarce country has been highlighted during the past couple of years, and even city dwellers were suddenly very aware of the drought due to the strict water restrictions. These are the words of Dr Frikkie Maré, Head of the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State (UFS) and one of the graduates who received his PhD on water-footprint assessment studies at the recent June 2018 graduations.

The department is currently involved in various water-footprint and water-management research projects which assist in providing solutions for better water management in the future. “As department, we want to be at the forefront of research that will assist all agricultural producers with sustainable production practices to ensure economic, environmental, and social sustainable food and fibre products for the society at large,” said Dr Maré.

Research funded by Water Research Commission

The UFS recently conferred two PhD degrees (Drs Enoch Owusu-Sekyere and Frikkie Maré) and one master’s degree (Adetoso Adetoro) in the Department of Agricultural Economics. All three have been working in the field of water-footprint assessment. The research formed part of two different projects that were initiated and funded by the Water Research Commission.

According to Dr Henry Jordaan, Senior Lecturer in this department, four of his students already received their master’s degrees on the topic of water-footprint assessment, while two students are busy with PhDs and three more are working on their master’s degrees.

Topic gains momentum in research community
The water-footprint concept serves as a useful indicator to sensitise society about the impact of the food we eat on scarce freshwater resources – from agricultural producers using water to produce primary food crops and products on the farm, to the end consumer buying the food products in the retail store in town.

“Water-footprint assessment is a relatively new field aimed at informing the sustainable use of fresh water for food production. This topic is gaining momentum in the research community, given the substantial increase in the global population in the context of freshwater resources that is getting increasingly scarce. The challenge is to feed the growing population while still using the scarce freshwater resources sustainably.

Volume of water used to produce food

“In order to inform water users on how to use the resource sustainably, it is important to know the volume of water that was used to produce the required food products. Through our research, we are contributing to this knowledge by assessing the volume of water that was used to produce selected products, and to interpret the water use in the context of water availability to gain insight into the degree of sustainability with which the resource is used. The results are expected to inform water users, water managers, and policy makers regarding the sustainable use of fresh water for food production,” said Dr Jordaan.

News Archive

From lock to SA prop in six months
2017-10-26

 Description: Kwenzo Bloze Tags: Kwenzo Blose, KovsieSport’s, Junior Sportsman of 2016, World Championship, Shimla 

One of the rugby players that Kwenzo Blose looks
up to, is the Cheetah prop Ox Nche. He and Nche
are both residents of the Vishuis men’s residence.
Photo: Jóhann Thormählen


If someone told Kwenzo Blose of Glenwood High School that he would scrum as prop for the South African U/20 rugby team at the Junior World Championship, he would probably have thought it was a joke. At that time he still played lock, but only six months after the shift to prop, he represented his country at the tournament in Manchester, England.

Apart from this, KovsieSport’s Junior Sportsman of 2016 – who will probably be playing in his second World Championship this year, only became a Shimla in 2017. Last year he was still playing for the University of the Free State’s Young Guns.

Beast also played lock at first
André Tredoux, former UFS and Cheetah talent scout, said the Springbok prop Beast Mtawarira also played lock and flank at school. “Glenwood competed in the Wildeklawer Super Schools Tournament. Apparently coach André spotted me there and talked to Stephan Jacobs, another UFS coach. At that stage, I still played lock and they told each other that they had to get me to the Free State and convince me to play prop. I knew nothing of these plans,” said Blose.

According to this Paulpietersburg-native, who is 1,87 m tall and weighs 112 kg, he still has a lot to learn at prop. His greatest adjustments were in the scrums. “At prop you have to absorb the pressure of the rest of the pack in order to provide your team with front-foot ball,” he said. He said Jacobs, who was his Young Guns scrum coach, and Daan Human, the Cheetah scrum doctor, has helped him a lot.

An avid student off the field
Even though rugby has opened doors for the loose head who is studying LLB Law, he maintains a good balance. “The main reason why I came to university is to study. To be playing rugby and performing well is a great blessing, but I also have to prioritise and make sure that I obtain my degree.”

This year’s Junior World Championship was from 31 May to 18 June in Tbilisi, Georgia. Last year, the Baby Boks finished in a disappointing fourth place, but Blose believes they can improve on this. “If everything goes according to plan and if some of the guys are playing again, we would have something like nine players who played in the 2016 tournament.”

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