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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

Address by the first Inaugural President of the Central SRC
2005-08-03


 

The UFS Central SRC

Address by the first Inaugural President of the Central SRC of the University of the Free State, Mr Tello Motloung on Wednesday 3 August 2003

The Chairperson of the UFS Council, Judge Faan Hancke,
The Vice-chancellor and Rector of the UFS, Prof Frederick Fourie
The Vice-Rector Student Affairs of the UFS, Dr Ezekiel Moraka
The Presidents of the main campus SRC and the Vista campus SRC
Colleagues in the Central SRC, campus SRCs, students and fellow South Africans

Please receive my heartfelt revolutionary greetings

Vice-chancellor and rector what I bring here with me assisted by facts, is just the work of my imagination. Like a love letter addressed to a sweetheart miles away, even though you do not know how she feels, what she wants to hear, and do not even know what she looks like.

I value speech as just an honest intimation, that’s why I got into a habit of establishing a dialogue with people, looking at each other’s face, and persuading one another of what we are saying.

Vice-chancellor, today marks an important milestone in the history of the existence of the UFS. Today reflects the confidence and trust that students of the UFS have placed in us. They are confident that the Central SRC has both the will and the capacity to take our university forward as we confront the challenge of transformation.

Students are confident that they are correct to trust the Central SRC as the principal agent of change in our university that is genuinely committed to the objective of building a non-racial, non-sexist and democratic university. We need to frankly ask ourselves, as CSRC members, whether are we up to all these challenges?

All Central SRC members have to understand this fully, internalize it, and ensure that everything we do, does not betray the confidence and trust of students, or disappoint their expectations. I say this knowing that all Central SRC members have committed themselves to serve the students of the UFS, black and white, and no one among us (CSRC) needs any special lectures about this central commitment.

The UFS should be an omnibus, welcoming everybody on board. But we should be a bus with a clear direction. We will certainly lose our way if we, as an institution, don’t have a clear road map spelling out where we are heading to.

There should be clear guidelines on the role of students in the transformation process. Students should also be viewed as role players in transformation along with the University management, and not just opposing forces. There is no right time, other than this one, to move away from the politics of opposition to politics of transformation.

However, we need the support of management to do so. The University should value the role and contribution of student leaders, hear our legitimate claims and consider them as part of political and policy decision making.
     
Vice-chancellor and Rector, it remains our task to ensure that the UFS is transformed into an institution that is seen to be playing a vigilant role in developing students academically, intellectually, socially, culturally, politically and otherwise. The process of transformation is not ending tonight, it is just beginning tonight.

Judge Hancke, Prof Fourie, Dr Moraka, fellow students and fellow South Africans, I lead students at this university with a sense of pride and duty, and I know very well that I lead men and women, students who are all determined that we reach our destination safely and on time.

A navy divided within its ranks will be destroyed and vanquished by the enemy, but the navy united in purpose and action, loyalty and commitment will not sink but sail on to victory.

It is befitting to mention that every drop of my blood is telling me that the UFS is my home. I firstly became a student here, I became the SRC treasurer in my first year here, I became the deputy president here, and I became the first president of the Central SRC of the UFS.

Therefore you should never doubt my commitment towards the transformation of this university. To paraphrase what was said by students at another institution, “If there is no UFS in heaven, then I am not going.”

Let me conclude by thanking my ancestors for teaching me that even if I wined and dined with kings and queens, I am not a king myself, so I should not turn my back on people who made me what I am today.

Most importantly, I would like to thank the Almighty God and the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ for giving me time and power to lead this university.

It will be theoretically irresponsible if I ended my speech without indicating that “Only a Kovsie knows the feeling”.

I thank you.

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