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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

SRC elections: A first for UFS main campus
2005-08-14

Students on the main campus of the of the University of the Free State (UFS) will this week for the first time vote for the Student Representative Council (SRC) using two voting systems: proportional representation (PR) and first-past-the-post. 

According to the Vice-Rector, Student Affairs, Dr Ezekiel Moraka, this year’s elections are a milestone for the UFS as it will be the first time that the main campus SRC will be elected according to the amended SRC constitution, which was approved by the UFS Council in June 2005.

“It is also a major breakthrough for student governance and transformation of the UFS main campus and constitutes a legitimate basis for the democratic participation of all students at the UFS main campus in the governance of the university,” said Dr Moraka.

The amended constitution of the main campus SRC determines that nine of the 18 SRC members must be elected by means of proportional representation and nine on the basis of an individual, first-past-the-post election.
 
According to Dr Moraka, the introduction of the proportional representation system follows earlier calls by some student formations, notably Sasco and the ANC Youth League, for such a system to be introduced at the UFS main campus in Bloemfontein.

The new main campus SRC constitution is the result of consensus reached during a lengthy negotiation process involving diverse student formations such as Sasco, the ANC Youth League, the Young Communist League, the ACDP, HEREXVII, KovsieAlliance, as well as the democratically elected SRC members of the main campus.

“Independent persons such as Mr Jack Klaas and Mr Kobus van Loggerenberg, a former SRC President, facilitated the negotiation process,” said Dr Moraka.

Students on the main campus in Bloemfontein will vote for a new SRC on Monday 15 August 2005.

SRC elections will also take place on the other two campuses of the UFS, which have their own SRC structures.

Students on the UFS-Vista campus in Bloemfontein will vote for a new SRC on Monday 15 August 2005 and Tuesday 16 August 2005.

At the Qwaqwa campus of the UFS, students will vote for a new SRC on Friday 26 August 2005.

The election processes on all three campuses will be closely monitored by independent electoral bodies. 

After the three campuses have elected their respective SRCs a central SRC will be constituted.  The central SRC will have 12 members made up of delegates of the three campus SRCs, including the presidents of these three SRCs. The main campus will have five representatives, the Qwaqwa campus will have four representatives and the Vista campus will have three representatives.

Main campus voting schedule:
Monday 15 August 2005 from 07:00-21:00.  Ten voting stations will be set up across the campus.  The results will be announced on Tuesday 16 August 2005.

Vista campus voting schedule:
Monday 15 August 2005 and Tuesday 16 August 2005 from 09:00-18:00 in the administration building.  The results will be announced on Wednesday 17 August 2005.
 
Qwaqwa campus voting schedule:
Friday 26 August 2005 from 09:00-18:00 in the Senate Hall.  If there is no objection to the final results, it will be announced on the same day.


Media release

Issued by:  Lacea Loader
   Media Representative
   Tel:  (051) 401-2584
   Cell:  083 645 2454
   E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za

14 August 2005
 

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