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29 February 2024 | Story Leonie Bolleurs | Photo SUPPLIED
Dr Lindie von Maltitz
Dr Lindie von Maltitz spoke at DESTEA’s Free State Investment Conference (27 February), which was hosted on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus. In her presentation, she highlighted, among other points, the advantages of the UFS as a strategic partner in the agricultural sector.

Dr Lindie von Maltitz, a Lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics at the University of the Free State (UFS), contributed to the programme of the Free State Investment Conference (27 February), which was presented by the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism, and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA).

The primary objective of the conference, held in the Centenary Complex on the UFS Bloemfontein Campus, was to promote the province as an investment destination of choice and to showcase strategic investment projects across different municipalities. Additionally, the conference sought to connect local businesses with local and international investors and opportunities.

Representatives from financial institutions, academic institutions, national and provincial government departments, chambers of commerce, corporates, investors, and embassies attended the conference, which was opened by Councillor Gregory Nthatisi, the Executive Mayor of the Mangaung Metropolitan Municipality. The honourable Mxolisi Dukwana, the Premier of the Free State, delivered the keynote address.

The sectors covered by the presentations at this conference included mining and gas extraction, transport and logistics, energy, infrastructure, tourism, and the agriculture and agro-processing sector. Dr Von Maltitz’s presentation, ‘Required investment to improve the performance of the agricultural sector in the Free State’, focused on the latter sector.

Representing the UFS in the session ‘Driving Inclusive Growth and Food Security: Agriculture’ – Dr Von Maltitz first focused on what agriculture in the Free State entails, and how it relates to the rest of the country. She then provided a brief overview of the role and importance of agriculture in the South African and Free State economy, adding to that the advantages that investment in the agricultural sector in the Free State will bring.

Numerous possibilities for investment in the sector

According to Dr Von Maltitz, the agricultural sector in the Free State is of vital importance to its economy. “Our income from agriculture and its related industries is the second largest in the country, after the Western Cape. There are numerous possibilities for investment in the sector, not limited to production, but expanded to the entire agricultural value chain. Connecting with the right strategic partners can ensure the success of investment projects. The UFS can contribute as a strategic partner, bringing knowledge, expertise, research, and local and global networking to the table,” she stated.

The importance of investing in the agricultural sector, according to Dr Von Maltitz, is linked to two of South Africa’s biggest challenges: unemployment and poverty. “Investing in agriculture addresses both of these issues. Jobs are created for both unskilled and skilled labour while producing and processing food. The higher agricultural investment is on the agenda, the better for economic growth in our province and country,” said Dr Von Maltitz.

"With food security for a global population that has expanded from 2,5 billion in 1950 to 7,9 billion in 2021, agriculture and its related industries are the sector that will remain important until time immemorial,” remarked Dr Von Maltitz.

She is of the opinion that the Free State presents many opportunities for this sector. Dr Von Maltitz believes there are very few agricultural products that cannot be produced in the Free State. “For example, fruit produced in our province is market-ready before that of the Western Cape. This allows us to access local and international markets early, when prices are higher due to a supply shortage. Because we have cold temperatures in winter, our area has fewer livestock diseases than those found in other parts of the country,” she added.

“Assured by a supportive policy environment, functional infrastructure, and expert knowledge base, investors can be encouraged to invest in the agricultural sector in the Free State,” said Dr Von Maltitz.

In the Free State, however, the development of the agricultural sector is facing several challenges. In her view, failing infrastructure and load shedding are the biggest problems. “Our roads are among the worst in the country, making timely access to markets more difficult. Load shedding has an enormous impact on any processing facility. Climate change is something we need to incorporate into our planning process, continuously developing new risk management strategies for the sector,” she elaborated.

Advantages of the UFS as a strategic partner

She stated that the Free State is an agricultural hub open to many more possibilities. “Speaking as a representative of the UFS, I want to highlight the advantages for investors of the UFS as a strategic partner. Our Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences is one of the best in the country and offers knowledge, skills, and expertise in every field related to agriculture, including soil scientists, animal scientists, climate scientists, crop scientists, wildlife and grassland scientists, plant breeders and pathologists, agronomists, agrometeorologists, and agricultural economists. The value we offer can be attractive to investors who will be reassured by our competence, as supported in the university’s Vision130, which defines our values, namely excellence, innovation and impact, accountability, care, social justice, and sustainability,” Dr Von Maltitz said.

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Kovsie Advice – UFS committed to supporting students through academic year
2017-05-16

Description: Thabang Moselane, Kovsie FM Tags: Thabang Moselane, Kovsie FM

The Kovsie Advice mag covers topics such as how to best approach your studies, plan and cope with assessments. Photo: Supplied

As part of supporting and promoting student progression and success, the Centre for Teaching and Learning has developed the Kovsie Advice mag, an interactive document designed to help keep you on track while you are on your educational journey at the University of the Free State (UFS).

This mag aims to guide you from planning your academic year through to successful completion. A new edition of the mag will be released every quarter during the academic year.

It will help you focus and provide you with advice on how to best approach your studies, plan, cope with assessments, know the UFS better, manage your finances and ultimately pass.

Get your copy of Kovsie Advice on Blackboard under announcements or click here to download it.

If you have any questions, queries or would like to meet with an Academic adviser, send an email to: advising@ufs.ac.za.

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