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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

Achieve academic goals with an online presence
2016-11-02

Description: Academic Reboot Pack 2.0    Tags: Academic Reboot Pack 2.0

The Academic Reboot Pack 2.0 of the
University of the Free State introduces
an online academic approach to help
students complete the 2016 academic
year.
Photo: iStock

With the recent break in the academic activities at most of the countries’ universities, higher education managers are pressured to come up with ways of completing the rest of the 2016 academic year.

An approach introduced by the University of the Free State (UFS), is the use of online learning platforms.

For the remainder of the year, students will be required to do the majority of their work online. To support students during this time, the UFS has created an Academic Reboot Pack 2.0, which included #8 Habits of Highly successful online students.  

Stay informed and prioritise your work

Make the online environment the top priority in your daily schedules. Be extra vigilant in your studies and use online learning platforms such as Blackboard to check your modules for new announcements and academic information.

You will also need to prioritise between important and less important tasks. This will give you an indication as to which tasks to focus on first.

Optimise your environment and work until you achieve goals

You need to optimise your study environment in a space where you can be productive and study efficiently. Continue working until you have achieved your goals, but also remember to reward yourself when you have reached them.

Staying organised

Remember, you need to stay organised and declutter your environment. It will be best to create a filing system for your paper-based notes, as well as the electronic files on your computer.

Get study buddies and keep a healthy body and mind

Get study buddies as this provides a good opportunity to share knowledge. If you are not sure about something, contact your lecturers via email or on their office numbers.

Lastly, keep a healthy body and mind because you will need to keep going a little longer than anticipated this year.

Get your copy of the Academic Reboot Pack 2.0 on Blackboard under announcements or click here to download it.

 Also see the first Academic Reboot Pack.

If students have any question or queries regarding the Academic Reboot Pack 2.0, they can send an email to: advising@ufs.ac.za

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