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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

Kovsies honours its sport stars
2009-10-28

 

Heinrich Brüssow and Elzet Engelbrecht were respectively named Sports Man and Sports Woman at the University of the Free State's (UFS) Sports Dinner. At this event were, from the left: Judge Faan Hancke, Chairperson of the UFS Council, Elzet Engelbrecht, Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, and Heinrich Brüssow.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs

Heinrich Brüssow, Springbok and Cheetah rugby player and Protea netball player Elzet Engelbrecht were named Sports Man and Sports Woman of the year respectively at the University of the Free State (UFS).

The UFS honoured its sports stars during the annual Kovsie Sports Dinner that was recently held at Ilanga Estate in Bloemfontein with the theme: Striving towards excellence.

The rugby player, Lionel Cronjé and Mari-Lise Linde who was included in the training group of the SA netball team as well as in the U/21 World Cup team were named junior sport stars.

Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, was the guest speaker at this event. Addressing KovsieSport staff and Kovsie sports stars Prof. Jansen highlighted the benefits of sport. According to him sport is a great way to build bridges between people. “When we excel in sport we will also build the university’s image. Sport is also a wonderful way to build self confidence,” he said.

The following persons received ABSA awards in their different sporting codes:

Thandi Malindi: Athletics
Johan Cronjé: Athletics
Odie Swart: Hockey
Jaco Fourie: Hockey
Elzet Engelbrecht: Netball
Obus Pienaar: Cricket
Arné Grobbelaar: Rugby
Karin Coetzee: Tennis
Reon Henning: Tennis
Gabisile Hlumbane: Soccer
Thabiso Moloi: Soccer
Sara Shannon: Swimming an overall disabled sports star

Other awards were made to:
Mr James Letuka: Executive member of the South African Sport Confederation and Olympic Committee.
Ms Nomsa Mahlangu: Executive Committee member of the South African Football Association.
Mr Frans van der Watt: Executive Member of the South African Hockey Association.
Mr Mickey Gordon: Convener of the national ladies hockey team for the South African Hockey Association.
Mr Braam van Wyk: Convener of the national U/21 ladies hockey team for the South African Hockey Association.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Deputy Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@ufs.ac.za  
26 October 2009
 

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