Latest News Archive

Please select Category, Year, and then Month to display items
Years
2017 2018 2019 2020
Previous Archive
29 January 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Anja Aucamp
Prof Francis Petersen speech
“We can create an institution that operates and lives in the times of embracing and celebrating diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence by ensuring that students own their time at university,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

25 January 2019 marked the official welcoming of the University of the Free State’s (UFS) first-year students, as they moved into their respective residences and were warmly welcomed on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. This day also marked the start of the registration process for first-year students.

According to first-year Psychology student Keisha Claasen, who moved into her residence earlier on 25 January, her first experience of the UFS was daunting but exciting, as she had never been in a similar environment. According to Given Gwerera, who dropped his son off at the Karee residence earlier the day, “the UFS is an institution with great culture and an overall good academic record.” He further explained that he trusts his son to make full use of the opportunities presented to him, as he has a cool head on his shoulders.

On the evening of 25 January, an eager group of millennials, joined by their parents, took the first sip from their cup of varsity life as they assembled on the Red Square of the Bloemfontein Campus to meet the Rector and Vice-Chancellor, Prof Francis Petersen, members of Rectorate, the deans of all faculties, and the Student Representative Council (SRC) of the UFS.

“2019 will be a year of continued change; the UFS is thrilled about the prospect of bringing about opportunities for adaptation and realignment to the future,” said Prof Francis Petersen.

He further explained that the university prides itself in moulding its students into well-rounded individuals who will develop into globally competitive graduates as required in a diversity of landscapes. Prof Petersen urged first-years to remain open to the technological developments that go with globalisation, because of its permanent effects on society today.

First-years were further advised to take advantage of the rich pool of academic research and knowledge that is characteristic of the university and is piloted by UFS scholars, by engaging with and learning from them.

The inspiring night concluded on a colourful note, as the audience enjoyed an artistic laser show in front of the Main Building. Caption:

“UFS academics conduct research that forces the world to take note,” said Prof Francis Petersen at the official first-year welcoming ceremony on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus.

News Archive

Out-of-the-box thinking a plus for next generation of agribusiness leaders
2017-07-07

Description: Agribusiness leaders Tags: Agribusiness leaders 

The winners of the 12th IFAMA International Student
Case Competition from Team South Africa are from
the left: JW Swanepoel, University of the Free State,
Melissa van der Merwe, University of Pretoria,
Heinrich Jantjies, Stellenbosch University, and
Johann Boonzaaier, also from Stellenbosch University.
Photo: Supplied



The International Food and Agribusiness Management Association’s International Student Case Competition, in its 12th year, brings together students from around the world to demonstrate their investigative and problem-solving skills to provide innovative solutions to practical problems.

JW Swanepoel, a PhD student at the Centre for Sustainable Agriculture at the University of the Free State (UFS) was part of an advanced case study team, representing South African universities, who won IFAMA’s International Student Case Competition. Swanepoel also presented results from his PhD study at IFAMA’s conference in Miami, Florida, where the winners were announced.

Competition a global stage to showcase solutions

The competition provides a global stage for students and their associated universities to showcase the next generation of agribusiness leaders.

This year the featured agribusiness was Bayer Crop Science. Although this company managed to expand its global footprint through its Food Chain Partnership, it faced some challenges to expand in emerging economies through small-scale farmers. Being from the African continent, Swanepoel and his team not only understood Bayer’s unique challenge but could also pre-empt some of the potential problems faced by agribusinesses that wanted to grow their footprint in emerging economies. This provided them with a competitive advantage in going head-to-head with some of the best universities in the world such as Purdue, Wageningen, Michigan, Texas A & M and Santa Clara to mention just a few.

The South African team’s presentation “Selling Lindiwe’s story” told the story of a small-scale woman cassava farmer in Mozambique who, after the death of her husband, became the main breadwinner. The South African team indicated how Bayer could play a major role in not only selling chemicals to these farmers but even more importantly to change the stories of small-scale farmers like Lindiwe. They recommended a strategic partnership with AB InBev as the main buyer for the cassava produced by these small-scale farmers, as a cheaper beer base substitute. They also recommended a local partner (Value Chain Insights) that understood the political, social and economic environment of these countries to facilitate the relationships between Bayer and its small-scale farmers.

Understanding the challenge a competitive advantage

According to the panel of judges, the innovative approach and motivations for investing in strategic partnerships with AB InBev and Value Chain Insights went beyond financial benefits, to include corporate social responsibility and rural development. Lindiwe’s story was, however, the decisive factor. The South African team was the only team to put a face and a story to the often invisible small-scale farmers.

We use cookies to make interactions with our websites and services easy and meaningful. To better understand how they are used, read more about the UFS cookie policy. By continuing to use this site you are giving us your consent to do this.

Accept