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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 management praise dean for achievement
2004-08-17

 

 

Prof Letticia Moja was praised by Prof Frederick Fourie, Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Free State (UFS), and other members of management today for winning the education category of this year’s Shoprite Checkers/SABC2 Woman of the Year Award.

“We are extremely proud of Prof Moja with this prestigious achievement. It is also a feather in the cap for the UFS that our leaders are being recognised on a national level,” said Prof Fourie.

Prof Moja was appointed as Dean of the Faculty of Health Sciences at the end of last year, becoming the first woman to be appointed in this position at any medical faculty in the country.

“Prof Moja was nominated by her colleagues at the faculty. It is heart-warming to me that she made such an impact in the faculty in the short period since she was appointed as dean to be nominated for this prestigious award,” said Prof Fourie.

“On the nomination form, her colleagues wrote: ‘Prof Moja is not only a remarkable woman, but also a person with gifted qualities of leadership, dedication and compassion. She is blessed with the ability to listen to others, is an extremely reliable person and a competent leader’ – this makes her, in my view, a true winner”, said Prof Fourie.

Prof Moja was recently chosen as vice-president of the Health Professions Council and also serves on the Medical and Dental Board. Her involvement in these councils and committees enables her to represent women in general, as well as previous minority groups.

Prof Moja headed the Gynaecologic Oncology Unit at the Ga-Rankuwa Hospital in Pretoria from 1997 to February 2002, where after she was appointed as Vice-Dean at the UFS’s Faculty of Health Sciences and at the end of 2003 she was appointed in her current position. During her career, she has attended four international and eight local congresses, presented eight oral papers and four posters, was an author to one publication, co-authored four publications, was a guest editor to one publication and supervised three postgraduate publications.

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

 

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