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UFS academics to submit proposal on innovative research for smallholder agriculture
2009-08-04

 
Here are, from the left: Dr Bennie Grové, Department of Agricultural Economics; Prof. Schalk Louw, Department of Zoology and Entomology; Prof. Bland; Prof. Swart; and Prof. André Pelser, Department of Sociology.
Photo: Arthur Johnson


Prof. Wijnand Swart, Director of the Strategic Research Cluster (Technologies for sustainable crop industries in semi-arid regions) at the University of the Free State (UFS) recently hosted Prof. William (Bill) Bland, Chairperson of the Department of Soil Science, University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. Prof. Bland’s visit to the UFS was linked to an initiative by Prof. Swart to forge closer links with this university by signing a Memorandum of Understanding in the near future.

Opportunities for collaborative research were discussed with various academics at the UFS, including Prof. Teuns Verschoor, Vice-Rector: Academic Operations, and Prof. Aldo Stroebel, Director: Internationalisation. A definite outcome of these talks is that six researchers from the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, in collaboration with Prof. Bland and scientists from the Universities of Makerere and Umutara in Uganda and Rwanda respectively, will submit a joint proposal for a research programme, supported by the National Science Foundation of the USA and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The objective of this programme, referred to as the BREAD programme (Basic Research to Enable Agricultural Development), is to support innovative scientific research designed to address constraints to smallholder agriculture in the developing world. Prof. Bland also delivered a lecture in the Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences entitled, Holon Agroecology: A Conceptual Framework for a New Agricultural Expertise. The lecture was followed by a multi-disciplinary panel discussion.
 

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