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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 sets deadline for applications
2004-11-11

The University of the Free State (UFS) calls on all prospective students wishing to study at the UFS in 2005 to submit their applications for admission by no later than 30 November 2004.

“This applies to first-year students, senior students who have interrupted their studies for at least one year and undergraduate students from other educational institutions,” said Mr Vernon Collett, Registrar: Academic Student Services at the UFS.

According to Mr Collett, all applications for admission that are received after 30 November 2004 and up to no later than 15 January 2005, will be regarded as pending.

“Since student numbers are now limited by government policy and depending on availability in educational programmes, these applications will be subject to consideration by the relevant dean,” said Mr Collett.

Prospective students who want to apply must pay a non-refundable fee of R100 into a designated account, which will be provided when the application form is sent to them. The signed application form must be accompanied by a certified copy of the prospective student’s identity document or passport and a proof of payment of the application fee. The application form of a minor must be signed by his/her parent or guardian and the field of study should be clearly indicated.

“A total of 21 049 students are registered at the UFS main campus this year. We expect a considerable number of applications and foresee that our numbers for next year will be similar to what it is now,” said Mr Collett.

First-time entering first-year students will be welcomed by the Rector and Vice-Chancellor of the UFS, Prof Frederick Fourie, on 15 January 2005 at 11:00 in the Callie Human Centre on campus.

Prospective students who want to apply or who have any enquiries can call (051) 401-3000 or visit the UFS web site at www.uovs.ac.za.

Media release
Issued by: Lacea Loader
Media Representative
Tel: (051) 401-2584
Cell: 083 645 2454
E-mail: loaderl.stg@mail.uovs.ac.za
11 November 2004

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