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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

Inaugural lecture focuses on intercultural communication
2005-03-15

Prof Johann de Wet, chairperson of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) Department of Communication and Information Studies, will deliver his inaugural lecture on Wednesday 16 March 2005 at 19:00 in the CR Swart Auditorium on campus.

The topic of the presentation is Meeting on the “narrow ridge” in intercultural communication.

Prof de Wet obtained the BA degree in 1977 at from the University of Cape Town, in 1982 an honors degree cum laude in Journalism from the University of  Stellenbosch, in 1985 an MA degree from the University of South Africa (UNISA) and in 1987 the D Litt Et Phil, also from UNISA.

His earlier professional life included being a diplomat stationed in Washington DC, and a SABC journalist.

Prof de Wet’s first stint in the academe was at UNISA (1983-1993) and the UFS (1993-1995).  He was an associate professor at both institutions.  Before returning to the UFS in 2001, Prof de Wet was director of communication in the public service, ministerial spokesperson at national and provincial levels, contributing editor of the Cape Argus, and communication consultant for various public and private sector institutions.

In his academic career of 16 years, Prof de Wet has authored/edited 12 scholarly books.  His other research outputs include some 20 accredited articles and scientific papers (national and international) respectively.  Much of his research has focused on persuasive and political communication, journalism and general communication theory. 

He is the founding and current editor of Communitas, a nationally-accredited academic journal on community communication and information impact.  He was appointed professor and chairperson of the Department of Communication and Information Studies at the UFS in January 2004.

MEDIA RELEASE
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:  (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
15 March 2005

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