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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

Launch of the Africa office of the IIDE
2006-05-25

Attending the launch of the Africa office of the IIDE were from the left Prof Sytse Strijbos (Chairperson of IIDE Europe), Rev Kiepie Jaftha (Chairperson of the IIDE in Africa’s Board of Directors and Chief Director: Community Service at the UFS) and Prof Frederick Fourie (Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS).

 

Attending the launch were from the left Prof Lucius Botes (Director: Centre of Development Support at the UFS), Dr Samuel Kareithi (Head: Community Development at the Cornerstone Christian College, Cape Town), Rev Kiepie Jaftha (Chairperson of the IIDE in Africa’s Board of Directors and Chief Director: Community Service at the UFS), Prof Sytse Strijbos (Chairperson of IIDE Europe) and Dr Ezekiel Moraka (Vice-Rector:  Student Affairs at the UFS).

Africa office of IIDE launched on UFS main campus 

The Africa office of the International Institute for Development and Ethics (IIDE) was today (26 May 2006) launched on the Main Campus of the University of the Free State (UFS) in Bloemfontein.

“The IIDE specialises in the studying and research of general questions of developmental theory and practices and provides services and support in education, strategic planning, policy formulation, advocacy and capacity building of development agencies,” said Rev Kiepie Jaftha, Chairperson of the IIDE in Africa’s Board of Directors and Chief Director: Community Service at the UFS.

According to Rev Jaftha the IIDE in Africa will focus on the conceptual and normative aspects of developmental processes in Sub-Saharan Africa.  “We want to foster local and international partnerships with various relevant role-players in civil society, the private sector and public sector in the SACD region and later expand our operations to the rest of Africa,” said Rev Jaftha.

The IIDE in Africa cooperates with a similar foundation in Europe, functioning as the IIDE Europe.  This institute was founded in 2003 and its head office is situated in the Netherlands.  The UFS is a funder of the IIDE in Africa together with the Paul Foundation and private sponsors from the Netherlands.

“We have already started with various projects which are in various stages of implementation,” said Rev Jaftha.  Some of these projects include, among others, the broadening of the master’s degree in Christian Studies of Science and Society (MACSSS) which is currently housed at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam to tertiary institutions in South Africa such as the UFS, the University of Stellenbosch and the Potchefstroom Campus of the Northwest University.

“Another project is an investigation into the possibility of initiating a broad development initiative in the poverty stricken Qwaqwa area.  This initiative will attempt to concentrate on issues like the training and empowerment of prospective entrepreneurs in the region, the identification of prospective entrepreneurs for the rendering of development support and the monitoring of the impact of information and communication technology on local communities during the implementation of sustainable development initiatives,” said Rev Jaftha.

“The establishment of the Africa office of the IIDE on the UFS Main Campus is an indication of one of the aims of the UFS to play a role in South Africa and Africa.  It also signifies our aim to contribute meaningfully to research and development and to establish links between the academe and practice,” said Rev Jaftha. 

 

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

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