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03 April 2019 | Story Xolisa Mnukwa | Photo Vhugala Nthakheni
Uhuru Qwaqwa Arrival
The #UFSWalkToUhuru team arrives at the UFS Qwaqwa Campus on Friday 22 March.

The University of the Free State (UFS) Division of Student Affairs, in collaboration with the UFS Office for International Affairs, have joined hands to drive a fundraising and student-accessibility initiative dubbed, ‘The Walk to Uhuru’ (#UFSWalktoUhuru), which is aimed at raising funds and advocating for the educational rights of the less privileged. 

The project aims to raise funds in excess of R2 million from the public and stakeholders affiliated with the UFS (Kovsie staff and students). The project derives from the 2018/2019 UFS Institutional Student Representative Council (ISRC) mandate ‘Students Must Graduate’. The ISRC mandate aims to source funding opportunities for UFS students to register, and to complete their studies across all three campuses in 2020 and beyond.

The first leg of the project, a 350 km walk from the Bloemfontein to the Qwaqwa Campus, has already taken place and concluded on Friday, 22 March 2019 as planned. The #UFSWalkToUhuru team successfully completed the first leg of their journey to academic freedom for financially disadvantaged students at the UFS. The Uhuru team is now focusing its attention on the second leg and is determined to take on Mount Kilimanjaro (Uhuru) from 20 June to 20 July 2019.

The team sat down for a debriefing session to unpack the overall experience and result of the first half of the initiative, and they all agreed that the walk to Qwaqwa was an enlightening experience. It was a walk that comprised learning opportunities, team building, and goal crushing.

According to Rethabile Motseki, member of the #UFSWalkToUhuru team, the walk to Qwaqwa made a significant impact on the project, as the university community is now aware of the significant goals that the team is trying to accomplish. The team has also resumed their fitness-training programme to ensure that they are ready to take on the Uhuru climb in June.

A media briefing will take place shortly (date to be confirmed) to detail the ongoing fundraising initiatives rolled out by the #UFSWalkToUhuru team.  We implore you, and the nation as a whole, to help establish a better future for disadvantaged UFS students by donating to the initiative.

Students, staff, and the public can support the cause and make contributions/donations to the initiative by visiting the UFS Walk to Uhuru #givengain account page.

For more information, contact UFS SRC President, Sonwabile Dwaba, on DwabaSJ@ufs.ac.za  or Rethabile Motseki on MotsekiR@ufs.ac.za  

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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