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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

Students speak at Faculty of Law as part of Blackstone Legal Fellowship Programm
2012-08-01

 
At the event were, from the left: Elizabeth Oklevitch, Ewelina Ochab, Prof. Shaun de Freitas and Prof. Andries Raath, also from the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law.
Photo: Leonie Bolleurs
1 August 2012

Two students from abroad, Elizabeth Oklevitch, studying at the Regent University School of Law, Virginia Beach in the US, and Ewelina Ochab, a postgraduate student with a Diploma in Law who received her LLB from the University of Kent at Canterbury, have each delivered a 15-minute presentation at the Faculty of Law. These presentations are part of the six-week practical leg of the Blackstone Legal Fellowship Programme, held annually in Phoenix, Arizona.

This is the fourth consecutive year that the Faculty of Law has been involved in this initiative.

Oklevitch spoke on the impact of the natural law grounding of Sir William Blackstone’s system of rights and Ochab about the margin of appreciation in the case A, B and C v Ireland.

According to Prof. Shaun de Freitas from the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law, the programme is aimed at teaching law students the importance of religious freedoms and rights. The programme is run by Alliance Defending Freedoms (ADF) in the US.

“The programme (in its 14th year) accommodates more than 130 students at the moment, representing schools of law in the United States (which include the universities of Duke, Harvard, Notre Dame, New York and Yale) and Europe. To date, approximately 1 100 students have completed the programme,” said Prof. De Freitas.
 

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