APMA41-Agriculture in the Tropics

Module Provider: Agriculture
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Autumn term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2017/8

Module Convenor: Dr Alistair Murdoch

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

Summary module description:

This module will consider tropical agriculture and horticulture and farming systems, focussing on the physical, climatic, edaphic and biological factors affecting crop and animal production, and using case studies to show how these factors are interrelated and integrated in farming systems and livelihoods.

The module is highly relevant for students following GIIDAE MSc programmes and caters for students following agriculture or horticulture pathways of the MSc in Agriculture and Development.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be able to:
- Agriculture Pathway - Describe the major crop and livestock species and farming systems in the tropics and sub-tropics
- (Horticulture pathway) Describe the major horticulture crops and their contribution to farming systems in the tropics/ sub-tropics.
- Explain how the distribution of tropical farming systems and their component parts are influenced/constrained by biological, environmental/physical, edaphic and socio-economic factors.

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:
Introduction: agriculture and horticulture and major issues facing tropical farming systems in the 21st century
• Characteristics of agriculture including horticulture and agroecosystems in the humid tropics, seasonally arid tropics, semi-arid tropics and highland tropics;.
• The analysis and classification of tropical farming systems and the influence of climate on these;.
• An introduction to the major crops and trees used in tropical agriculture;
• Role of biotic constraints (pests & diseases) on agricultural productivity;
• Tropical soils: nutrient use and management.
• (Agriculture pathway) The role of livestock in the production system, and ways in which their contribution can be increased.
• (Horticulture pathway) An introduction to fresh produce in the tropics

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures/seminars and class discussion.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 18
Tutorials 2
Guided independent study 80
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

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

Other information on summative assessment:
1. Paper on a tropical farming system of the student’s choice (80%) 3000 words
2. Group presentation on a farming system (must differ from that in (1)) (20%)

Formative assessment methods:
(i) creation of a farm system diagram for a maize-dairy farming system, and, for a location with two wet seasons,
(a) Gantt chart showing monthly crop management calendar and/or
(b) Seasonal feeding calendar for livestock

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:
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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