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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

UFS presents unique rally
2006-05-11

On Friday 9 June 2006 the University of the Free State (UFS) will present the second Amazing Race Rally in Bloemfontein. 

The rally is presented in aid of children and babies with serious diseases in the Department of Pediatrics and Child Health in the UFS Faculty of Health Sciences.  These children are in need of intensive care, and suffer from cancer, heart disease, neurological diseases and conditions, endocrinological diseases or gastro-enterological conditions.

By raising the necessary funds, equipment can be acquired to meet the unique healthcare needs of these children and babies and it will also enable the UFS to maintain the high standards of education, training and research in this field.

Last year about 12 corporate teams from among others Vodacom, Medi-Clinic, Eskom, Mimosa Mall and Nedbank and four teams from the UFS competed in the rally.  The Medi-Clinic team was the winner.

This year the teams will again follow a specific route with various check points by car.  Here they will have to complete activities or solve clues before receiving their clue to the next checkpoint.  The teams will be travelling with cars branded with the logo of the company they represent.

Companies and institutions in Bloemfontein can enter in the rally by means of sponsoring a check point, entering a team of two persons or sponsoring some aspects of the day. 

The rally will give participants an opportunity to test their knowledge of the city, as well as their time management skills, communication skills, team work and even their relationships! 

The programme will start at 12:00 on the UFS Main Campus and the first team to complete this task is the winner of Bloemfontein’s second Amazing Rainbow Rally.

Extensive publicity of the event on OFM in the weeks running up to the day will ensure that participants are easily recognised and will create a measure of excitement.

Enquiries about the rally can be directed to Ms Adéle van Aswegen at (051) 401-3535 or Ms Ilse Olivier at (051) 401-2415.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel:  (051) 401-2584
Cell:  083 645 2454
E-mail:  loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
11 May 2006

 

 

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