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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

Diversity gains ground in SRC election
2005-08-19

 

The University of the Free State (UFS) reached another milestone in its transformation process last night (Tuesday 16 August 2005) when a more diverse group of students than ever before were elected to serve on the Main Campus SRC.  

In addition to this, the UFS experienced a smooth and problem-free election process – unlike recent years when the Main Campus SRC elections were frequently disrupted or marred by attempts of intimidation or obstruction.

The election took place on Monday 15 August 2005 and the results were announced last night (Tuesday 16 August 2005) by Dr Ezekiel Moraka, Vice-Rector:  Student Affairs at the UFS.

Seven black students are to serve on the Main Campus SRC, the highest number of black students ever to be elected on the Main Campus SRC since black students were admitted to the UFS in the late 1980’s. 

Nine of the 18 SRC members were directly elected and nine on the basis of proportional representation (PR).   The PR system was introduced after amendments to the constitution of the Main Campus SRC were approved by the UFS Council in June 2005. 

According to Dr Moraka the elections on the Main Campus were a resounding success.  “We received double the amount of votes this year: A total of 4 846 votes were cast, while 396 votes were spoilt.  Last year only 2 192 votes were cast,” said Dr Moraka.

Dr Moraka said that there were no disruptions of the process and no objections regarding the voting process were received.

Mr Graeme Bradley, thirdyear student in B Com Human Resource Management, was elected as SRC President of the Main Campus for 2005/2006.  Mr Bradley was SRC representative for Sports, Arts and Culture in 2004/2005.

In the PR section of the election, Here XVII (with 36,1% of  the vote) and Sasco (with 36% of the vote) received an equal amount of seats (3) for the SRC.  These percentages also provided them with fourteen (14) seats for the Student Parliament, which consists of 40 seats. 

“This outcome is significant to us as, for the first time we have a clear indication of what the actual support of these affiliated organisations is on campus,” said Dr Moraka.  


Media release

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

17 August 2005
 

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