Wageningen UR President Prof.Dr.Ir. Louise Fresco visited Pretoria

From 10 - 12 December 2018 Prof. Louise Fresco visited South Africa.

South  Africa is important for Wageningen University & Research (WUR). In most African countries agriculture is the motor of the economy. WUR contributes to this development in various ways. A number of students (during the 2018-2019 academic year there were 17 of them) from South Africa do study at WUR. Prof. Fresco expressed a wish that these numbers would increase the coming years. That’s why she announced WUR will support a number of MSc-students to come to Wageningen coming year. Besides this there are a number of research projects WUR does together with South African partners like the University of Pretoria, the Agricultural Research Council, University of the Western Cape, University of Venda and Stellenbosch University. Part of these are funded through through the EU-AU LEAP (Long-term EU-Africa research and innovation Partnership on food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture) Agri programme.

The last time Prof. Fresco visited was almost 5 years ago when she did an extensive lecture tour (amongst others at Fort Hare and UKZN) on changing Patterns of Food Production and Consumption in the World and Africa. This time she did deliver a keynote at the ‘ Does Africa need a Green Revolution’ symposium at the Univerisity of Pretoria and at the launch of the African Research Universities Alliance (ARAU) Centre of Excellence in Food Security in Pretoria. Also she participated in the opening panel discussion during the Ministerial opening session of the Science Forum of South Africa.

Prof. Fresco with Prof Korsten & Swanepoel, from the University of Pretoria, planting a wild mango tree

Part of the visit was dedicated to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Wageningen University & Research. Besides a welcoming dinner at the residence of Ambassador Han Peters a tree was planted as part of the  UniversiTREE1 project at Future Africa campus of the University of Pretoria.

At the well attended alumni event that was organised at the embassy Prof. Fresco stressed the importance of building relationships between Universities, Government and the private sector. This ‘Golden triangle’  is the base for the Dutch agrifood ecosystem. Student/staff exchange between WUR and South African Universities is something she is striving for. In this way we can as countries work together on strengthening food security. During the event a Memorandum of Understanding between WUR and University of Pretoria was signed to underline the importance of cooperation between the universities.

From right to left: Mervin Bakker from NUFFIC/NESO, Aldo Stroebel Executive Director of the National Research Foundation, Prof Cheryl de la Rey Vice Chancellor of the University of Pretoria holding the signed MOU, Prof. Louise Fresco, Ambassador Han Peters, Dr. Shadrak Moephuli CEO of the Agricultural Research Council and Agricultural Counsellor Jack Vera

1100 trees for 100 years Wageningen University & Research was an idea from a Wageningen alumnus. Trees are being planted worldwide to create a forest of UniversiTREES. The forest symbolically represents the international connection to Wageningen. The tree chosen is always a slow-growing species which can live to be very old and which fits into the specific environment. The UniversiTREES will collectively form a lasting reminder of 100 years WUR. At different locations trees have already been planted i.e. China (by minister Carola Schouten), Bangladesh, Brazil, Indonesia, Wageningen Campus (by His Majesty King Willem Alexander). More information see: https://www.wur.nl/UniversiTREE/UniversiTREE.htm