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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

Faculty of Theology hosts annual meeting of Society for Practical Theology
2015-01-30

From the left are: Prof Yolanda Dreyer (Chairperson of SPTSA, University of Pretoria), Prof Johann Rossouw (UFS), Prof Hussein Solomon (UFS) and Prof Johan Cilliers (Stellenbosch University).
Photo: Michelle Nothling

The privilege of hosting the annual meeting of the Society for Practical Theology in South Africa (SPTSA) fell to the University of the Free State (UFS) this year. Delegates from across the country recently convened on the Bloemfontein Campus to attend the event from 21 – 23 January 2015.

The three-day congress saw several high-profile keynote speakers discussing the topic of ‘Power of religion and religions of power’.

Dr Johann Rossouw from the UFS Department of Philosophy presented a paper on ‘Power, the state and the church in South Africa’. Dr Rossouw regards the cooperation between theologians and philosophers as integral to help us understand the time we live in. Twenty years since the dawn of South Africa’s democracy, “the gap between the country we were promised and the country we received is bigger than ever,” Dr Rossouw said. “A South-African Church … cannot but make her voice heard regarding this gap.”

Expert on conflict resolution and fundamentalism, Prof Hussein Solomon from the UFS Department of Political Studies and Governance scrutinised the compatibility of Islam with democracy. He warned, though, against “the labelling of a conflict as religious on the mere basis of its religious overtones.” Prof Solomon’s paper, ‘Political Islam: trends, trajectory and future prospects,’ not only advocated tolerance and political pluralism, but also pointed to the fact that it is “in the common good of all humanity” to avert a “Clash of Civilizations”.

‘God in granite?’ – Prof Johan Cilliers’ paper – investigated the phenomenon of the monumentalization of religion. Prof Cilliers from Stellenbosch University explained that monuments often have “spiritual character and iconic value, in the sense that it offers a space for the formation or discovery of meaning.” In his presentation he showed, though, that monuments – even those connected to religious motifs – “seldom escape the lure of power”.

The event was organised by the University of the Free State’s Faculty of Theology, Department of Practical Theology.

  

For more information or enquiries contact news@ufs.ac.za .

 

 

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