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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

Law students triumph in Africa
2007-08-16

 

Pictured with the trophies they have won are, from the left: Ms Qaqamba Vellem (fourth-year LL.B. student), Prof. Johan Henning (Dean of the UFS Faculty of Law), Prof. Loot Pretorius (Head of the Department of Constitutional Law and Philosophy of Law), Ms Lucy Nthotso (fourth-year LL.B. student), Ms Thapi Matsaneng (moot coach and lecturer in Corporate Law at the UFS) and Mr Johnny Modipa (third-year LL.B. student).
Photo: Stephen Collett

Law students triumph in Africa

A team of students from the Faculty of Law at the University of the Free State (UFS) has won the first prize at the 16th African Human Rights Moot Court Competition held in Senegal last week.

The UFS team consisted of three L.L .B. students, namely Ms Lucy Nthotso, Ms Qaqamba Vellem and Mr Johnny Modipa, and beat teams from numerous South African law faculties as well as from the rest of Africa.

The Moot Court Competition is an event where students from law faculties across Africa argue a hypothetical case on human rights issues pertinent to the continent. This year’s competition dealt with the issues of refugee status, nationality, HIV/AIDS and the right to education.

Over and above the UFS team’s success as the overall competition winners, the UFS team came first in the written memorials category (written substance of the argument of the particular party), beating seventy teams from both the English and French speaking African countries.

To further add to their splendid overall team performance, team members Ms Vellem and Ms Nthotso were selected amongst the top fifteen students for their oral arguments out of the hundred and forty who took part in the competition. Ms Vellem came tenth and Ms Ntshotso eleventh.

According to the Dean of the Faculty of Law at the UFS, Prof. Johan Henning, the faculty is extremely proud of this achievement of its students in such a highly regarded competition.

“This success shows that the quality of legal education and training we provide here at the UFS, both through the 4- and 5-year L.L.B. options is rated among the best in Africa, if not the world,” Prof. Henning said.

He said it also showed that the faculty is committed to producing black law graduates of substance who are second to none.

The three students were coached by Ms Thapi Matsaneng, a UFS law graduate who is completing her Ph.D. at the University of London and who was groomed by the UFS as part of its Grow Our Own Timber programme, aimed at producing black academics.

Prof. Loot Pretorius, head of the department of constitutional law and philosophy of law at the UFS, acted as a consultant to the team. Ms Matsaneng also accompanied the three team members to Senegal.

The panel of judges who determined the winners comprised of the commissioners of the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, a South African Constitutional Court judge as well as other respected members of the legal community.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za
16 August 2007

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