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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

NBT tests compulsory for all prospective students of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the UFS
2010-05-21

All prospective students who apply for study in the Faculty of Health Sciences (excluding Nursing) at the University of the Free State in 2011, must undergo die National Benchmark Tests (NBT) on 17 July 2010 or 31 July 2010.

Students who do not have an NBT test result will not be considered for selection at the Faculty of Health Sciences. The Health Sciences Placement Tests (HSPT) has been replaced by the NBT.

Applications for selection for 2011 close on 28 May 2010. A student who has not undergone the test will not be considered for selection and no exceptions will be allowed. If a student therefore does not undergo the test on 17 July 2010 or 31 July 2010, the university will not have the results in September 2010 before the preliminary selection takes place.

Prospective students who have undergone the test before 2010 will have to write the test again. Only students who have undergone the NBT in 2010 needn’t write the test again, but they have to fax their NBT reference number to 051 401 3226.

Prospective students have to register at www.nbt.ac.za  themselves and undergo the test. The cost of writing the test is R110.

The NBT is used by all universities in South Africa to improve the quality of education and learning in order to enhance the performance of students.

Students may visit the www.nbt.ac.za  web page for any further enquiries. Enquiries about applications en selection to the Faculty of Health Sciences at the UFS may be directed at AdminFHS@ufs.ac.za  or feel free to visit the UFS web page at www.ufs.ac.za/HealthSelection  . Students are requested to read the question-and-answer section regarding selection.

Media Release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Director: Strategic Communication (acting)
Tel: 051 401 2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl@ufs.ac.za  
21 May 2010
 

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