Staff and students from UKZN’s Discipline of Agricultural Economics in the School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences (SAEES) walked away with a number of awards at the annual Agricultural Economics Association of South Africa’s (AEASA) conference held in the Western Cape in September.
PhD candidate Mr Collin Yobe accepted an award in recognition of the paper he contributed together with his supervisors, Dr Stuart Ferrer and Dr Maxwell Mudhara. The paper was selected as one of the top three contributed papers presented at the conference. His presentation, which took place in the upgraded papers session, concerned research done on a method of measuring the financial efficiency of agricultural cooperatives in South Africa.
Master’s student Mr Lungelo Cele, supervised by Professor Edilegnaw Wale, won second prize in the AEASA Best Masters Thesis Award category for 2017/18 for his work on land and water use rights in smallholder farming.
Honorary Professor at UKZN, Mike Lyne, based at Lincoln University in New Zealand, and one of his Masters students, Mr Machiweyi Kunzekweguta, and colleague Dr Karl Rich won the SJJ de Swardt prize for the best paper published in AEASA’s accredited journal Agrekon for 2017/18. The paper dealt with factors affecting adoption and intensity of conservation agriculture techniques applied by smallholders in Masvingo district, Zimbabwe.
Second prize in this category went to former UKZN PhD student, Dr Sikhulumile Sinyolo (now with the Human Sciences Research Council), and his supervisor Mudhara for work done on collective action and rural poverty reduction. Lyne, former Masters student Ms Nomonde Jonas and Professor Gerald Ortmann won second prize in the category ‘AEASA Award for Best Publication in a Professional Journal’ for a publication in the Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension concerning a quantitative assessment of an outsourced agricultural extension service in the Umzimkhulu District of KwaZulu-Natal.
Mr Njabulo Mtshali was recognised as the top final-year student in Agricultural Economics at UKZN in 2017, winning him complimentary registration for next year’s AEASA Conference.
‘These achievements reinforce the fact that the Agricultural Economics Discipline at UKZN, which has regularly won awards at national level, continues to produce quality research and graduates,’ said Ortmann.
Words: Christine Cuénod
Photographer: Simphiwe Ngqangweni