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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

About 4 000 UFS students to graduate
2010-05-03

 The University of the Free State’s (UFS) autumn graduation and diploma ceremonies will once again be held in the Arena on the South Campus (formerly known as the Vista Campus) this year.
This arrangement has been made because this year’s graduation ceremonies coincide with the examinations for which the Callie Human Centre on the Main Campus will be used.

The various graduation ceremonies will take place on 18, 19, 20 and 21 May 2010.

A total of 2 775 degrees, 833 diplomas and certificates, 40 doctorates and two honorary doctorates will be conferred.

The full programme is as follows:

  • Tuesday, 18 May 2010:

    - From 08:30, a total of 488 degrees and eight doctorates will be awarded to students from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, including 3-year B.Sc. degree.
    -At 14:30 on the same day 285 degrees and five doctorates will be awarded to students in the Agricultural and Building Sciences, still in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, including 4-year B.Sc. degree. An honorary doctoral degree will be awarded to Dr Ben Ngubane, the current SABC Board Chairperson.
     
  • Wednesday, 19 May 2010:

    - From 08:30, 293 B.Com. and B.Com. Honours students in the Faculty of Economic and Management Sciences will graduate.
    - At 14:30, 477 students in BML, B.Admin., B.Pub., B.Acc. and related Honours degrees and all Master’s and Doctoral degrees in this faculty will graduate. An honorary doctoral degree will also be awarded to the Minister of Finance, Pravin Gordhan.
     
  • Thursday, 20 May 2010:

    - A total of 345 degrees and 12 doctorates will be awarded to students in the Faculties of Health Sciences, Law and Theology at 08:30.
    - At 14:30, 349 degrees and two doctoral students in the Faculty of Education will receive their degrees.
     
  • Friday, 21 May 2010:

    - From 08:30, 581 degrees and 10 doctorates will be awarded to students in the Faculty of the Humanities.
    - At 14:30 on the same day, 833 diplomas and certificates will be awarded to students from all of the university’s faculties.

Academic dress must be booked at fimt@ufs.ac.za before Tuesday, 18 May 2010 and can be collected from Monday, 3 May to Monday, 17 May between 08:00 and 16:00 at the Robe Storeroom in Rector’s Avenue (opposite Armentum Residence).

Please note that academic dress will not be available on the South Campus.

Furthermore, the graduation and diploma ceremonies at the Qwaqwa Campus will take place on Saturday, 8 May 2010, at 10:00 where 187 degrees, two doctorates and 63 diplomas will be conferred.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt@ufs.ac.za
3 May 2010
 

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