Newsletter August 2017
Friends of UKZN Agriculture | Newsletter 3 2017
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01 August 2017
Greetings friends and alumni

Over the last little while, we've been celebrating milestones, welcoming new staff, seeing staff and students succeed, and reaping the fruits of the labour of pursuing new programmes.

We hope you enjoy reading some of the news coming out of the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences at UKZN, and that you see opportunities to partner with us.

40 years at UKZN

Michael Savage’s career at UKZN started in 1977 in the discipline of Agrometeorology in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES), and he has been recognised for his innovative approach to teaching that has seen students in his discipline flourish academically.
For forty years, he has been responsible for the development of all Agrometeorology course content. A passionate teacher, he is the recipient of UKZN’s 2014 Distinguished Teacher Award (DTA), known for being a teacher who will reach students on their level.

Savage’s research focus is on topics such adverse weather, biometeorology, energy balance of various surfaces, micrometeorology and open water evaporation. He developed a unique Agrometeorological Instrumentation Mast (AIM) web-based data and information teaching, learning and research system for the agro-environmental sciences. The AIM system is used by many undergraduates and postgraduates and features real-time data for a number of agrometeorological measurements, provided by a number of instruments set up around campus, which can be viewed and downloaded for use in research and as a visual teaching aid. It has also led to the publication of papers in local and international journals.

Savage has also initiated the creation of an isiZulu-English glossary of terms for Agrometeorology, to attempt to counter the language barrier to learning encountered by many second language English speakers entering university in South Africa. He emphasises the use of live data, visual literacy, technology and glossaries to stimulate growth in the isiZulu language’s capacity for scientific understanding. He believes that technology can play an important role in the learning of students, and mentions the importance of visual literacy or ‘iconic’ learning to transcend cultural and linguistic barriers. He is keen to see scientific societies contribute to the creation of technical dictionaries in traditional African languages so that knowledge can be transferred equally.

Noticing that many of the students entering the second year courses in Agrometeorology are seriously lacking in basic computer skills, Savage and his colleagues include an intensive computer literacy training element in their second-year practical sessions, leading to a marked improvement in the students' skills. Savage has begun advocating for this kind of intensive computer literacy training at second-year level to take place across the University, having seen what a difference it has made to his students' development and eventual marketability as employees.

‘Teaching is about imparting more than just knowledge; it is also about life skills,’ said Savage.

His enthusiasm for the process of Teaching and Learning was demonstrated in 2014, when Savage, despite being one of the most highly qualified academics at the University, pursued and graduated with his Master’s cum laude. Publication in an international journal in 1979 had enabled him to convert his Master’s then to a PhD. Savage also made history as the first recipient of UKZN’s Doctor of Science in Agriculture degree in 2010; the only previous DScAgric degree in the University’s history was awarded in 1998 under the then University of Natal.

Savage’s work reflects the integration of teaching and research and community engagement in a uniquely engaging, student-focused way through linking undergraduate projects to postgraduate and staff research and vice versa. He has arranged a number of workshops for the training of academics, scientists and practitioners across the country on a variety of topics, including eddy covariance.

He has also been actively involved in making science relevant and comprehensible to the general public, participating in a project with The Witness newspaper in Pietermaritzburg to investigate the temperature and human comfort conditions inside locked cars.

After 40 years at the University, Savage remains enthusiastic and passionate about his subject and still pursues innovative research and dedicates time to training.

He described his teaching approach as an empathetic one; he invests himself in his students and take their differing backgrounds into account as he interacts with them directly. Savage emulates the model of a teacher whose primary goal is to see his students succeed.

Coldest places in PMB

From The Witness newspaper, 10 July 2017

"An experiment measuring the coldest place to live in Pietermaritzburg revealed that the chilliest places around town at a bracing 5°C on the morning in question were between Woodhouse Road in Manor and Blackburrow Road in Hayfields.

The experiment was conducted at the request of The Witness by UKZN agrometeorology Professor Mike Savage on the morning of July 6."


Masters Candidate Establishes Student Mentorship Programme for Impact Assessment

Masters candidate in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) and intern at the Institute of Natural Resources (INR), Mr Kusasalethu Sithole, has established the International Association for Impact Assessment South Africa (IAIAsa) Student Mentorship Programme (ISMP) to close the gap between university and the working world for environmental science graduates.

Kusasa is on the National Executive Committee (NEC) of IAIAsa as a National Student Representative and initiated the programme in the hope that it will provide students with experience and opportunities as they connect with mentors working in the Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) field.

The ISMP was trialled in 2016 with eight mentors and ten mentees (including three UKZN students). As of 2017, the ISMP is being offered to the wider IEM community. Kusasa and his team have successfully increased the participation and geographical reach of the programme.

The ISMP targets mentors from IEM practitioners working in government, consultancies, research institutes, academia, and industrial corporates. All mentors volunteer their time and experience, spending  80 hours (equivalent to ten working days) providing mentorship support through giving the mentee the opportunity to assist with tasks or projects the mentor is engaged in, within ISMP’s nine-month timeframe.

‘Too often students have to make big career decisions without having had any first-hand interaction with their potential working environments, and are required to acquire experience beyond the limits of university in order to secure employment,’ said Kusasa.

‘They face the dilemma of either going into the job market for experience or furthering their studies; the ISMP is tailor-made for environmental students who wish to acquire exposure and experience of their working environments without jeopardizing their postgraduate studies.’

Kusasa is also a co-founder and co-director of Geographers for Change, a registered Non-Profit Organisation (NPO), and runs the ISMP with Sue George, IAIAsa’s operational manager. The IAIAsa National Executive Committee (NEC) and provincial IAIAsa committees provide necessary authority and support in order to work towards their goal of preparing students for the professional sector.

Kusasa hopes the programme will grow to become a calendar event in almost all environmental departments in South Africa (including universities, government and companies).

Interested potential participants will find the annual calls for ISMP participants on the IAIAsa website and/or IAIAsa Facebook page. The call for 2018 ISMP will be issued in the last quarter of 2017.

Plant Pathology Masters Candidate Wins Best Poster Award in San Diego

Thembani Nxumalo
Mr Thembani Nxumalo, a Master’s candidate in the Discipline of Plant Pathology in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) recently travelled to the second International Conference on Food Security and Sustainability, held in San Diego in the United States. At the event, he received the best poster award for his poster entitled ‘Application of Lecanicillium muscarium as a biological control agent of rust pathogens’.

The conference theme encouraged ‘Producing Sustainable Thoughts to Bolster the Future’; Nxumalo said the experience of visiting the USA was an exciting one and that the conference was well organised.

Nxumalo, supervised by Professor Mark Laing and Dr Kwasi Yobo, presented the results of the second chapter of his Master’s dissertation. He is the recipient of a VinPro Foundation and Arysta LifeScience bursary, which enabled him to travel to the conference.

An alumnus of Nhlalakahle High School in the Nqutu area of KwaZulu-Natal, Nxumalo followed his passion for agriculture into a four-year Plant Pathology degree at UKZN, progressing to Master’s studies at the institution. He hopes that, once he has completed his Master’s, he will progress to PhD studies and later to a career in research.

Nxumalo’s work involves investigating a viable biological control treatment for rust pathogens that affect numerous commercial crops such as wheat, soybean and maize. He began his research using the common Oxalis plant as a proxy for commercial crops to test his biological control agent formulated from the Lecanicillium muscarium fungus. This fungus occurs naturally in small quantities with the rust pathogen; Nxumalo isolated the fungus and grew it under laboratory conditions for use as a biological control agent. Following successful control of rust on the Oxalis, Nxumalo is testing the agent on wheat at the Ukulinga Research Farm.

Development of biocontrol agents for the treatment of disease on commercial crops is important, as these treatments are often considerably cheaper than chemical agents, safer for human health, environmentally friendly, and will not result in the development of resistance to treatments in the crops concerned. Researchers like Nxumalo aim to improve the yield of commercial crops and reduce wastage by treating these plant diseases, thereby increasing food security.

Nxumalo, who is an avid soccer player and works as an assistant at UKZN’s Disability Unit, thanked his funders for their support of his studies, and his supervisors for their invaluable academic guidance.

UKZN Enactus Team Recognised for Innovative Farming App

The UMtate WamaBovu project of the UKZN Enactus team has introduced an innovative App called Kandu which they believe is the solution to many problems faced by farmers in uMsinga in KwaZulu-Natal. 

This innovation which seeks to make farming in uMsinga viable by increasing production and efficiencies while involving the youth, creating job opportunities for women and the disabled and boosting income, won  the UKZN team a place on the shortlist of eight finalists competing in the Barloworld Social Innovation Youth Awards (BSIYA).

From a survey conducted in the area by Enactus UKZN, more than 70% of farmers are above the age of 50 and their highest education level is Grade 7. Most farmers have up to eight unemployed household dependents.

The UMtate WamaBovu project involves more than 165 members and promotes gender equality. It is run on 66ha of land with healthy soil and sufficient water sources allowing emerging farmers to grow a wide variety of crops including potatoes, maize, tomatoes, beans, chillies, cabbages, and green peppers.

Enactus UKZN team leader Mr Lungelo Gabela says the team plans to introduce Kandu to potential customers so they are able to place orders online without going to the farm. When clients or the customers pay after the produce has been delivered, the secure payment option it offers goes directly through the farmer’s cell phone, eliminating delays of payment by the customer. This system can further assist in increasing the revenue of farmers and decreasing wastage of left over stock.

‘We believe our new Kandu App will be a solution to the struggles of the farmers by bringing new opportunities for large growth and sustainability,’ said Gabela. ‘We have started introducing this new technology to rural emerging farmers by showing them how it can increase their revenue through acquiring more customers  - wholesalers, retailers, supermarkets and individuals - who will buy their produce once they become aware of it.’

‘Though the uMsinga area is saturated with a large supply of crops from many different farmers, their expenses - seeds, fertilisers, tractor hire, labour and electricity costs - exceed income as one of their greatest struggles is not having access to markets to sell their produce,’

‘In addition, many farmers lack knowledge or the means to approach markets, retailers and wholesalers outside the uMsinga area. Farmers are also in need of important infrastructure like harvest processing hubs, trucks and tractors,’ said Gabela.

The team first worked with the municipality to pay the farmers’ electricity debt of R156 000, installing solar panels which are cheaper in the long run, more sustainable and environmentally friendly. Another challenge they wanted to address was increasing participation from the youth in uMsinga where unemployment is high.

This project is not only aligned with the National Development Plan and Integrated Development Plan, but addresses goals 1, 5, 8, 9 and 10 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Said Group Executive of Corporate Affairs at Barloworld, Mr Sibani Mngomezulu: ‘Barloworld seeks to be a catalyst for change and to contribute to empowerment and transformation initiatives that will ensure the sustainability of our broader society.

‘In supporting Enactus, we are able to play an important role in promoting entrepreneurship, encouraging young people to improve lives and strengthen communities, and developing responsible leadership,’ said Mngomezulu.

Words by: UKZNDabaOnline

Geology Professor Appointed Associated Editor of Tectonics Journal

Tesfaye Kidane Birke
Newly-appointed Professor Tesfaye Kidane Birke in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Science’s (SAEES) discipline of Geology has been appointed the Associate Editor of the Tectonics journal by the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He will fill the role until December 2020.

This appointment will involve contributing to the maintenance and enhancement of the quality of the journals of the AGU, the union’s top priority, as well as facilitating timely review processes. Editors are also encouraged to solicit important and thought-provoking articles. As an associate editor, he joins a global team of renowned senior professors working in geoscientific fields.

‘I am glad to be appointed as the editorial board member of this highly respected journal,’ said Kidane. ‘I am honoured by this international recognition of my expertise.’

Kidane joined UKZN in June 2017, coming from the School of Earth Sciences at Addis Ababa University where he worked since 1989 in between doctoral studies, a postdoctoral fellowship, and visiting professorships. He was drawn to UKZN thanks to the fascinating geology of South Africa, his appointment at the institution enabling him to study ancient, unique rocks as many as 3.6 billion years old.

He has extensive international experience, having previously worked as a visiting professor at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich as an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, a research associate professor at the University of Utah, a visiting professor at Kyoto and Kobe Universities in Japan and a guest investigator at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He is also an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London, a Fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science and a Fellow of the American Fulbright Scholar.

Kidane completed his BSc in Geology at Addis Ababa University and his Masters at the same institution while assisting with lecturing. He received his PhD from the Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris in 1999, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa for a time in the early 2000s.

Kidane’s expertise lies in the fields of geological mapping, paleomagnetism, structural geology and tectonics. His research at UKZN will involve studying and contributing towards constraining the paleogeographic positions of the terranes and mobile belts that make up the South African Craton region in deep geological time.

Agrometeorology Hosts Eddy Covariance Workshop

Ag Met Workshop
The discipline of Agrometeorology in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) recently held a two-day workshop on the topic of eddy covariance (EC) together with 37 representatives from a range of institutions. These included the University of the Free State (UFS), the University of Pretoria, the South African Environmental Observation Network (SAEON) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).

The workshop was the first of its kind in the country and was precipitated by the increased popularity in the use of the EC technique internationally and locally and the total lack of EC training available in South Africa.

According to Professor Michael Savage, Senior Professor of Agrometeorology, EC is a micrometeorological method for measuring the exchange of water, carbon dioxide and methane between the earth’s surface and the overlying atmosphere. These three important greenhouse gases play a significant role in global warming. The EC method allows for the direct measurement of these exchanges.

The workshop was held on the Pietermaritzburg campus. Thirteen masters and PhD postgraduates from Hydrology and Agrometeorology also attended. The School LAN used ensured that each participant was able to install the relevant software and then with guidance analyse high frequency EC data.

Dr Colin Everson from SAEON gave a presentation on his EC experiences and Dr Alistair Clulow of Agrometeorology presented a laboratory session on gas analyser calibration. An Agrometeorology PhD postgraduate, Nicholas Mbangiwa, presented a session on software templates.

Comments from participants highlighted the excellent planning and quality of the workshop, lauding the interactive sessions and the clear understanding communicated by Savage and his team. Participants left the workshop saying that they felt they had been well equipped to apply the theories and practices of EC to their work.

Savage plays a role in mentoring young scientists, academics and practitioners in his field, and views the hosting of these types of workshops as part of achieving that aim. He arranged a similar workshop in 2016 on a different topic, and indicated that future workshops on topics of relevance and importance in his field could take place.

Mapping the Antiquity, Pervasiveness and Uniqueness of Life on Earth

Serban Proches

Animals and plants found only in a certain area are important in creating a sense of place while those occurring throughout the world are recognisable wherever one goes. Both widespread and localised species contribute to a region’s unique flora and fauna.

So says Professor Serban Proches, a Biogeographer in UKZN’s School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences, who was speaking on the occasion of his Inaugural Lecture into the UKZN professoriate, during which he explored issues relating to biogeography, mapping the antiquity, pervasiveness and uniqueness of life on Earth.

‘My research into biogeographical concepts has crystalised around these three major themes,’ said Proches.  ‘Antiquity is one of the most important things to consider when deciding what is worthy of respect.  Pervasiveness refers to the ability to take over the world and to subsequently be found all over the world.  And uniqueness is relevant in the context of diversity.  In biodiversity our first and foremost measure is a species, which is made unique by a combination of traits.  A biodiverse area is made unique by a unique combination of species.’

Proches explained that biogeography studied the distribution of plants and animals. ‘It provides key data towards conservation with contemporary conservation theory particularly emphasising the preservation of ancient lineages.’

Proches presented his contribution to global biogeography, from mapping ancient lineages to cosmopolitan ones, and to redefining biogeographical regions.

‘I have mapped antiquity in both plant and animal lineages throughout the world, focusing particularly on the two last mass extinctions, 66 million and 201 million years ago respectively. I have mapped globally invasive species such as pine trees, focusing on both natural and human assisted invasions.  And I have mapped uniqueness by refining and redefining the world’s zoogeographical regions, initially proposed by Alfred Russell Wallace in the nineteenth century.’

Proches also used the opportunity to explore the conceptual relevance of his studies against the background of his own life story, both personal and professional.

Proches was born in Romania where he studied up to masters level at the country’s premier university, the University of Bucharest. He moved to South Africa in 1999 and completed a PhD in Zoology at the then University of Durban-Westville, looking at the ecology and biogeography of southern African secondary marine arthropods under the supervision of Dr David Marshall.

Proches subsequently completed three post-doctoral projects at the universities of Port Elizabeth, Stellenbosch and KwaZulu-Natal (Pietermaritzburg), hosted by Professor Richard Cowling, Professor David Richardson and Professor Steven Johnson, all A-rated scientists. ‘Six years of postdoc publishing without having to lecture did wonders for my research output,’ he quipped.

Proches was appointed as senior lecturer in Biogeography at UKZN in 2008, promoted to Associate Professor in 2011, and to full Professor in 2017. He has been in research for 20 years, during which time he has published 70 peer-reviewed journal articles, many in top journals, including one each in Nature and Science. He has over 2 400 citations and an h-factor of 24.

He received the NRF President’s award in 2008, the UKZN Vice-Chancellor’s research award in 2009, and the Distinguished Teachers’ Award in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science in 2015.

‘I feel quite happy and lucky to be an academic because I am in the privileged position of being paid to make sense of the world, and to teach others how to do so.’

- Dr Sally Frost

IMCDA Joint Partners Meeting Held in Durban

The Improved Masters in Cultivar Development for Africa (IMCDA) programme, funded by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) with funding received from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), held its fourth Joint Partners Meeting in Durban from the 11th-13th of July to bring together all those involved in the programme to review the progress in the implementation of the programme.

The programme is being implemented in three universities; Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Ghana, Makerere University in Uganda, and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa, which hosted this visit.

The IMCDA is designed to train plant breeders using modern breeding technologies, with a significant portion of the training delivered through e-learning materials developed by Iowa State University’s Plant Breeding E-Learning for Africa Project (PBEA) in collaboration with the African Partner Universities.

Programme Manager for UKZN, Dr Julia Sibiya, welcomed delegates to Durban, noting representation from Mexico, the USA, Italy, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Ethiopia, Malawi, Uganda, Ghana, Niger and the Regional Universities Forum for Capacity Building in Agriculture (RUFORUM). She welcomed the Vice-Chancellor and Principal of UKZN, Dr Albert van Jaarsveld, and Deputy Vice-Chancellor for the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) Professor Albert Modi, saying that the programme was honoured to have their support. The meeting took place over two days at the Southern Sun Elangeni-Maharani, with a working session on the final day at UKZN’s Howard College campus.

AGRA Programme Officer Dr Rufaro Madakadze delivered greetings from AGRA on behalf of its vice-president, Dr Joe DeVries and noted that Dr Gary Atlin, programme manager from the BMGF, would join via video conference during the event.
‘We are training a new breed of scientists/plant breeders with a product development mind-set that can work in the public or private sector,’ said Madakadze.

AGRA’s work is focused on small-holder farmers, seeking to transform how they do their work to improve livelihoods using numerous technologies, working with a wide range of partners to transform and kindle a green revolution in Africa.

‘The footprint of UKZN throughout the continent is enormous,’ said Madakadze. ‘Thank you for being one of our first key partners in capacity building and demonstrating how this can transform lives in Africa.’

She detailed that the programme had admitted 91 MSc students, graduated 21, and seen good progress on breeding programmes and academic staff skills upgrades. Seven of UKZN’s 2015 cohort graduated in April 2017, three of these cum laude.
The purpose of the meeting was to review the programme, learn, improve, sustain and scale-out. The meeting included articulation of progress of the programme including challenges and mitigation, feedback on e-curricula implementation and sustainability, lessons from internship students and hosts, and a strategy for scale-out of the programme.

Modi emphasised UKZN’s appreciation of the partnership with AGRA, which makes significant contributions to the mission of the university to inspire greatness in academia and in the lives of ordinary people.

Van Jaarsveld thanked organisers for the opportunity to welcome international partners and colleagues from the African continent to Durban and UKZN. He gave an overview of UKZN, noting especially the fact that half of the institution’s PhD graduates are from the rest of the African continent, making the IMCDA programme exemplary of what the university works to achieve.

UKZN’s new strategic plan is focused on transformation, supporting the African continent, and being a research-led university. Van Jaarsveld emphasised the institution’s continuing driving of its global competitiveness by focusing on its new research flagships, including African health, social cohesion and inequality, African cities of the future and big data and informatics.

Van Jaarsveld noted UKZN’s desire to pursue integration with private and public sectors and deliver relevant research, ensuring that UKZN will drive these partnerships through relevant curriculum and graduates.

‘I hope that in your few days here, you will take hands with colleagues from UKZN to collectively inspire greatness through everything that you do over the next couple of days,’ said van Jaarsveld.

New Staff

Zikhona Rani
Dr Zikhona T Rani joined the discipline of Animal & Poultry Science in July 2017 as a lecturer. Dr Rani is from East London in the Eastern Cape. Despite initially being interested in Economics, she completed her studies in a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science through to a PhD in Animal Science at the University of Fort Hare (UFH). She graduated with her PhD in 2016, having undertaken research on the effect of post-slaughter handling on physico-chemical and microbiological quality of red meat along the distribution chain. She worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at UFH in 2016. The supervision and guidance of Professor Voster Muchenje was a key factor in Dr
Rani’s success at UFH. A red meat specialist, she enjoys conducting animal research, and particularly visiting abattoirs and examining the process of meat distribution. She enjoys meeting with commercial farmers and meat traders and trying to assist them in identifying and solving some of the challenges they encounter.

Ever since completing her BSc, Dr Rani has dreamt of moving to the province of KwaZulu-Natal, a dream which was realized when the position at UKZN came up. She was drawn to the institution by its excellent reputation in agriculture, and looks forward to contributing to her discipline’s continued excellence. Currently lecturing Companion Animal Nutrition, she looks forward to expanding her range and expertise, and to supervising postgraduate students and seeing them succeed. She hopes to be able to introduce more meat science expertise and projects to the repertoire of the discipline. Married with one child, Dr Rani is happily settling into life at Agric thanks to the support of her new colleagues, and looks forward to interacting with academia, alumni and the industry in the province.


AEASA Conference 2017 - KwaZulu-Natal

AEASA 2017
The 2017 Annual Conference of the Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa (AEASA) will be hosted by the KwaZulu-Natal Branch from the 19th -21st September 2017 at the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani Hotel on Durban’s famous Golden Mile - the spectacular 6km long sandy beach and promenade that is amongst Durban’s main tourist attractions. The Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani is one of Durban’s landmark hotels and amongst its premier conferencing venues. Besides its extraordinary views of the Indian Ocean and fantastic beach access, it is also located in close proximity to other tourist attractions including Africa’s largest marine theme park, uShaka Marine World, as well the Suncoast Casino and the iconic Moses Mabida Stadium.

This theme of this year’s Conference is “ADDRESSING CONTEMPORARY CHALLENGES IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN AGRICULTURAL ECONOMY”. It invites us to explore the contributions of agricultural economists to addressing contemporary challenges in the sector. Sub-themes that will be addressed in plenary sessions of the Conference include;
  • Land reform
  • Employment in agriculture
  • The future availability and use of water in agriculture
  • Expansion of commercial agriculture and agribusiness
The Conference programme contains a stimulating mix of invited papers, contributed papers, panel discussions, mini-symposia, and a poster session. It is designed to appeal beyond academia to agricultural economists in the public and private sectors, farm managers and agribusiness practitioners. The social functions, including a cocktail party, a braai and a gala dinner, will provide ample opportunity for renewing old acquaintances, making new friends and networking.

Early bird registration applies until the 10th of August. Register here.
Keen to enable student attendance at the event? Contact Christine about this opportunity.

Take Part in Postgraduate Research Day

Research Day 2017
The College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science (CAES) comprises of five schools (1) Engineering, (2) Chemistry & Physics, (3) Agricultural, Earth & Environmental Sciences, (4) Life Sciences and (5) Mathematics, Statistics & Computer Science. CAES would like to invite all relevant external stakeholders, industries (that recruit our students), research institutions and centres across South Africa to participate in the CAES PG Research and Innovation Day.   
Please find details of the UKZN, College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science Postgraduate Research and Innovation Day:
Venue: Westville campus (T-Block)
Date: 26 October 2017

For exhibition and sponsorship queries, please contact Leena Rajpal  | 031 260 7065



The Department of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries presents exciting opportunities/positions for unemployed graduates between the ages of 18 and 35 through its Experiential Training and Internship Programme. Successful applicants will be appointed as interns for 12 months and will undergo on-the-job development training in technical, professional, public service, business and life skills relevant and crucial for them to enter the formal job market.
DAFF internships 1
DAFF internships 2
Read more about the specific positions here; closing date is 8 August 2017.

UNESCO seeks a Natural Sciences – Science, Technology & Gender Programme Specialist

UNESCO is looking for a programme specialist in Natural Sciences - Science, Technology and Gender. This Paris-based position is for a candidate who will be responsible for planning, managing and implementing activities on science policy, particularly those related to the Science, Technology and Innovation (STI), Science-Policy interface and Gender in Science policies. S/he will prepare inputs for the UNESCO Medium-Term Strategy (C/4), the Programme and Budget (C/5), and related work plans in the field of Science Policy and Partnership.

An advanced university degree (Master’s or equivalent degree) in the field of natural sciences, engineering, economy, political sciences, international relations or in a related area is required. A first-level university degree in combination with two additional years of qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. A minimum of 7 years of progressively responsible professional experience in the field of STI policy, science-policy interface, or gender in science is required, of which preferably 3 years acquired at the international level.

Strong conceptual, analytical and organizational skills are required, including oral and written communication skills, partnership-building, leadership and management skills, and good IT skills.

Excellent knowledge of English and/or French and good knowledge of the other language is required.

DESIRABLE QUALIFICATIONS include a PhD or equivalent in the field of natural sciences, engineering, economy, political sciences, international relations, or in a related area.

Work Experience in high level university teaching including in developing countries, and experience in assisting governments in science policies would be advantageous. Working experience with science related agencies of the UN System and/or Professional NGOs and/or organizations for international technical cooperation would be desirable. A good understanding of the work and general functioning of international organizations and/or knowledge of the United Nations Common System would be advantageous, as would knowledge of other official UNESCO languages (Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish).

See here for more detail. Applications close on the 7th of August 2017.

Toyota New Harvest of the Year Competition

Historically disadvantaged farmers (or “New” farmers) find it challenging to compete with farmers with sufficient resources. Over and above the normal impediments of agriculture, these HDI’s (black, coloured and Indian farmers) have, in most cases, to overcome limited access to farming land and capital, as well as insufficient knowledge of farming and business practices. Nevertheless, some of these farmers had overcome all these barriers and, by utilising all the available opportunities, had become very successful and competitive commercial farmers and is performing extremely well. The objective of this competition is to recognize and reward exceptional farmers by identifying and selecting them by means of a competition for “new” farmers.

The challenge will be to identify the most deserving farmers. Many institutions/organisations are involved in the development of newly settled, historically disadvantaged farmers, as well as with well established successful commercial black farmers. By challenging these institutions to identify their most successful candidates, deserving finalists will be identified and rewarded.

Advantages of entering:
By entering this competition, the winner will receive the prestigious “2017 Toyota New Harvest of the Year” trophy and a Toyota Hilux bakkie. The nominating agency will receive a cash prize of R10,000 from Toyota SA which could be used for the development and assistance of more (HDI) farmers.

Entry requirements:
All competition entrants will be nominated by representatives of a nominating agency. These agencies include companies, organisations or institutions (e.g. farming enterprises, AFASA, NAFU, National and Provincial Department of Agriculture, DLDLR, Provincial Agricultural Unions, commercial banks, commodity organisations such as NWGA, MPO, RPO, NERPO, Grain SA, private commercial farmers, etc.).

The completed Sections A and B must be submitted by the nominating agency via email, post or fax to the chairperson of the adjudicators, Prof. Carlu van der Westhuizen, to reach his office no later than 25 August 2017.

Download the entry/nomination forms here for more entry requirements and details.

Citrus Academy Bursary Fund

Citrus Academy bursary applications are open from the 1st of June to the 30th of September. Applications can be made online. The Academy is looking for students who are studying:
  • Agricultural Economics
  • Agricultural Management
  • Plant Production
  • Plant Pathology
  • Entomology
  • Horticulture
  • Soil Science
  • Industrial Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering

Kind regards,
Christine Cuénod
Networking Facilitator
(w) +27 33 260 6557
(c) +27 83 314 3317
on behalf of
Duncan Stewart
Committee Chairman
(c) +27 82 491 1912

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