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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

Knowledge in the blood
2009-08-05

Knowledge in the blood

The book Knowledge in the blood, by Prof. Jonathan Jansen, Rector and Vice Chancellor, is available at a bookstore on the Thakaneng Bridge.

Knowledge in the blood
Confronting race and the apartheid past
Professor Jonathan D. Jansen


978 1 91989 520 8
225 x 152mm
336 pages
Soft cover
May 2009
R250.00 (incl. VAT)
UCT Press
Southern African rights

This book tells the story of white South African students—how they remember and enact an Apartheid past. How is it that young Afrikaners, born at the time of Mandela’s release from prison, hold firm views about a past they never lived, rigid ideas about black people, and fatalistic thoughts about the future? Jonathan Jansen, the first black dean of education at the historically white University of Pretoria, was dogged by this question during his tenure, and Knowledge in the Blood seeks to answer it.

While Jansen originally set out simply to convey a story of how white students change under the leadership of a diverse group of senior academics, Knowledge in the Blood ultimately became an unexpected account of how these students in turn changed him.

“Brave, discerning, and deeply affecting. Bringing realism and rare moral generosity to the most difficult of conflicts, Jonathan Jansen illuminates the struggles faced by the inheritors of violence, as they move from pride and prejudice to a new and larger knowledge. An act of empathy as well as penetrating analysis, Knowledge in the Blood is an inspiring blueprint for thinking about social and personal transformation.”
—Eva Hoffman, author of After Such Knowledge

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