APMA103-Rethinking Agricultural Development (including Horticulture): Implementing Solutions

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn and Spring (Double presentation)
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: APMA41 Agriculture in the Tropics
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Alistair Murdoch

Email: a.j.murdoch@reading.ac.uk

Summary module description:

This course aims to teach and stimulate critical thinking and evaluation about the issues, role and impact of agriculture (including horticulture) for development and livelihoods. In many cases there is a diversity of views and the key aim is to give you the opportunity to evaluate evidence critically so that you will be able to defend your own evidence-based opinion. We will have succeeded if at the end of the module you feel comfortable about questioning and evaluating the wide range of opinions on agriculture and development!

Assessable learning outcomes:
Learning Outcome 1: For Knowledge and understanding Students will have knowledge and understanding of:
• key concepts, issues and current debates in the field of agriculture and horticulture for development;
• factors that promote or hinder agricultural and horticultural development;

• the needs of the growing world population for food/nutrition security;

• the scope for agriculture and horticulture to meet these needs in economically and environmentally sustainable ways. Some alternative and novel production practices will be introduced.

Learning Outcome 2: For Cognitive skills Students will be able to:
• develop strategic thinking in their own work now and in the future;

• critically analyse, evaluate and discuss relevant scientific literature and agriculture development documents, for example on strategy, policy, agricultural development economics, research, extension and new or alternative technologies and production practices;

Learning Outcome 3: For Key practical skills Students will be able to:
• write a critical literature review;

• develop team work and communication skills to formulate well-structured and well- reasoned arguments relevant to the module topics, integrating both qualitative and quantitative evidence;
• participate in discussions, produce a team presentation, and a final report appropriate to postgraduate work that constructs and deploys arguments around current policy and technical issues;

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
• key concepts and issues involved in the field of agriculture and horticulture for development including the role of agriculture for development including both economic, socio-economic, technical aspects;
• the need and scope for sustainable production intensification in order to satisfy the needs of the growing world population for food/nutrition security in a range of ecological and socioeconomic contexts;
• current debates on (1) use of (a) water in food production systems, (b) pesticides and IPM, (c) impacts and needs for ecosystem services including pollination, (d) genetically-modified organisms and plant breeding; (2) the green revolution and its relevance in Africa; (3) impacts and adaptation of agriculture to climate variability and climate change; (4) the relevance of agriculture in economic development and poverty alleviation and achievement of the sustainable development goals;
• factors that promote or hinder agricultural development;

• alternative and novel production practices including precision agriculture, Conservation Agriculture (CA) and System of Rice Intensification (SRI);
• The future tasks and challenges for national and international agriculture and food systems in the 21st century-modern’ era – how can private and civil sectors co-operate to support food and

agricultural development in the public interest?

• How do trade, markets and financial systems contribute to national and international agricultural development and civil society in the 21st century?
• Two outside visits will take place

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
The module consists of an interactive blended approach of lectures and seminars on development issues relevant to agriculture and horticulture, external international speaker(s), and team evaluation exercise. Students will work individually and in teams to analyse and evaluate an important topic of relevance to future agricultural development, and present their findings.

Information will be consolidated and exemplified by relevant outside visits.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 10 10
Seminars 10 10
External visits 20
Guided independent study 60 60 20
Total hours by term 80.00 100.00 20.00
Total hours for module 200.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 80
Oral assessment and presentation 20

Other information on summative assessment:
Autumn: one summative critical review (topic: preparing crops for climate change 20%).

Spring: one summative group agricultural development project proposal on how to intensify a specific farming system sustainably (40%), comprising tow components: (i) a group presentation, presented to a research sponsor (20%) and (ii) an executive summary of the proposal (max. 1000 words to be written individually 20%).

Summer term: a summative essay assignment for which students are given three days to write, giving them an opportunity to integrate all the material in this module but also framed so that students can integrated material specifically from the co-requisite module (APMA41) as well as other modules in the degree programme (40%).

Formative assessment methods:
Autumn: Two formative (an abstract of a paper and a critical review).

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information: http://www.reading.ac.uk/internal/exams/student/exa-guidePG.aspx

Length of examination:

Requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:
By submission of a set essay.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books:
2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 31 March 2017

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