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UKZN Hosts Fifth Annual Ukulinga Howard David Memorial Symposium

Highlights from the symposium

The University of KwaZulu-Natal’s College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science collaborated with The Adaptation Network to host the fifth Ukulinga Howard David Memorial Symposium at the University’s Ukulinga Research Farm in Pietermaritzburg.

Focusing on the theme of Small-Scale Farmers and Climate Change Adaptation, the three-day event incorporated the annual Southern African Adaptation Colloquium and featured presentations from the technical to the storytelling on topics related to agronomy, water resources management, innovative technologies, sustainability and farmers’ experiences.

First hosted in 2016, this symposium was established to demonstrate theoretical and applied research carried out at UKZN’s Ukulinga Research Farm to the scientific community, agribusiness sector and farming community. It facilitates formation of relationships with agribusinesses and skill development and knowledge transfer for the benefit of emerging and current small-scale community-based farmers.

The event has benefited through the UKZN Foundation from the support of the Howard Davis Farm Trust based in the Jersey Islands and honours the educational legacy of Durban-based businessman TB Davis whose endowments enabled the building of UKZN’s Howard College in the 1930s in memory of Davis’s son who was killed in World War I.

More than 200 delegates representing a wide range of interested stakeholders including academic staff and students from UKZN and Mangosuthu University of Technology, small-scale farmers, civil society organisations, agribusiness, farming organisations and more attended the event.

At the opening of the Symposium, The Adaptation Network co-chair Ms Charissa da Costa said, ‘The Adaptation Network recognises that small-scale farming is the catalyst for maintaining livelihoods in vulnerable and disadvantaged families and communities. We are excited to engage with others who are also passionate about promoting awareness and implementing activities that empower communities to innovate and adapt to climate change.’

UKZN’s Farmer Support Group (FSG) is a member of the Adaptation Network and contributed to organising the Symposium, and facilitated the attendance of small-scale farmers that the FSG works with who displayed their farm produce.

The opening keynote address was delivered by Professor Stanley Liphadzi, Group Executive for Research and Development at the Water Research Commission (WRC) who spoke about the knowledge, education and impact of a research-informed institution. He referenced UKZN’s influence and leadership in the water and agricultural sectors; the institution was awarded 12 WRC projects in 2021, three of which fell within the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences with significant resources attached to further this research.

‘This School has expertise and people that are driving the research agenda of this country, and agriculture plays an important role,’ said Liphadzi. ‘Agriculture has created a value in how we are using water, even in our programmes at the WRC, and it is important to see tangible outcomes [from research].’


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