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14 June 2018 Photo Supplied
Next Chapter Green Ribbon campaign addresses mental health
Members of Next Chapter and UFS Student counselling are working together to address mental health issues.

Next Chapter, a student support group at the UFS presented the Green Ribbon campaign, pledging their support to students and providing them with assistance in coping with life events that stimulate stress and contribute negatively to their mental health. The team aims to break the stigma surrounding mental health care, and continually assist students with mental health-related issues that they struggle with daily.

The Green Ribbon represents mental health awareness, which is a pressing matter for students and is the type of support students need in a stressful university environment. The campaign focuses on teaching students how to cope with life events that stimulate stress, and contribute negatively to their mental health.
 
A discussion by Dr Ancel George: practising clinical psychologist and lecturer from the UFS Department of Psychology, and Dr Mellissa Barnaschone: Director of UFS Student Counselling, took place, where talks were prominent about creating an inclusive environment for UFS students.

The panel shared a few tips on how students should work towards managing stress, and motivated them for the main mid-year examinations.
 
The follow-up Exam Cram Workshop, presented by Nadia Cloete and Lize Wolmarans, that combined time and stress management, took place on 2 June 2018, and saw students receiving advice on how to approach various issues during the examination period.
 
Mental health awareness does not end with the campaign and Next Chapter’s slogan “Your story continues” encourages students to regularly wear and commemorate the green ribbon in support of continual mental healthcare.
 
Should you have any enquiries or input for the ongoing campaign, contact the Next Chapter team on ufsnextchapter@gmail.com, or further email Tshepang Mahlatsi, founder of Next Chapter on tshepangmahlatsi767@gmail.com

News Archive

Producers to save thousands with routine marketing strategies, says UFS researcher
2014-09-01

 

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

Using derivative markets as a marketing strategy can be complicated for farmers. The producers tend to use high risk strategies which include the selling of the crop on the cash market after harvest; whilst the high market risks require innovative strategies including the use of futures and options as traded on the South African Futures Exchange (SAFEX).

Using these innovative strategies are mostly due to a lack of interest and knowledge of the market. The purpose of the research conducted by Dr Dirk Strydom and Manfred Venter from the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State (UFS) is to examine whether the adoption of a basic routine strategy is better than adopting no strategy at all.

The research illustrates that by using a Stochastic Efficiency with Respect to a Function (SERF) and Cumulative Distribution Function (CDF) that the use of five basic routine marketing strategies can be more rewarding. These basic strategies are:
• Put (plant time)
• Twelve-segment pricing
• Three-segment pricing
• Put (pollination)(Critical Moment in production/marketing process), and
• Pricing during pollination phase.

These strategies can be adopted by farmers without an in-depth understanding of the market and market-signals. Farmers can save as much as R1.6 million per year on a 2000ha farm with an average yield.

The results obtained from the research illustrate that each strategy is different for each crop. Very important is that the hedging strategies are better than no hedging strategy at all.

This research can also be applicable to the procurement side of the supply chain.

Maize milling firms use complex procurement strategies to procure their raw materials, or sometimes no strategy at all. In this research, basic routine price hedging strategies were analysed as part of the procurement of white maize over a ten-year period ranging from 2002–2012. Part of the pricing strategies used to procure white maize over the period of ten years were a call and min/max strategy. These strategies were compared to the baseline spot market. The data was obtained from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange’s Agricultural Products Division better known as SAFEX.

The results obtained from the research prove that by using basic routine price-hedging strategies to procure white maize, it is more beneficial to do so than by procuring from the spot market (a difference of more than R100 mil).

Thus, it can be concluded that it is not always necessary to use a complex method of sourcing white maize through SAFEX, to be efficient. By implementing a basic routine price hedging strategy year on year it can be better than procuring from the spot market.

Understanding the Maize Maze by Dr Dirk Strydom and Manfred Venter (pdf) - The Dairy Mail


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