APMA108-Livestock, Livelihoods and Food Security

Module Provider: School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Summer term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Ainslie

Email: a.m.ainslie@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

Livestock exact a heavy toll on the planetary system: you will learn about their outsized contribution to the climate emergency and to the global loss of biodiversity and topsoil. Simultaneously though, they underpin the cultural identities and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people, who survive in some of the world’s harshest and more marginal environments. Through a series of interactive, online lectures, online discussions and case studies, you will examine livestock’s changing role in livelihoods and food security in a range of settings at a household, national, regional and global level.

To develop a deep understanding of the key opportunities and challenges associated with keeping livestock in terms of supporting livelihoods and contributing to food security at a household, national, regional and global level.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module, students will be able to:

  • critically evaluate the key opportunities and challenges in terms of supporting livelihoods associated with keeping livestock

  • critically appraise the contribution livestock make in a range of different settings to the development of food security

Additional outcomes:

  • use appropriate tools to identify reliable information and literature on a given topic

  • communicate research findings clearly

  • demonstrate good academic practice in the use, citation and referencing of source material

Outline content:

Topics within this module will include:

  • Introducing the Sustainable Livelihoods framework – Key Issues in the role of livestock in building and sustaining livelihoods

  • Differentiating between food sovereignty and food security

  • Key contributions of different livestock and livestock-cropping systems to food security at the - global level - regional level - national level - household level

  • Case-studies of curre nt topics in sustainable livestock production, livelihoods and food security – for example, innovations in the value chains of specific livestock systems, country-specific environmental impacts and controversies, climate change mitigation/adaptation strategies, dietary shifts and transitions, niches markets and economies of scale, the role of cultural preferences and ethical concerns, livestock and human health issues

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Each topic will be introduced with some interactive online material and downloadable materials that will be available to the student permanently. There will be a series of online discussions and exercises. Contributions to the discussions will be monitored, and may form part of the assessment. Feedback and contributions from the module convenor or deliverer will be the main source of formative assessment.

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 10
Guided independent study: 70
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Report 60
Set exercise 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:
The module will be assessed by written coursework and a screencast:
(a) Case studies of different livelihood activities and their impact on livelihood outcomes (60%).
(b) Screencast uploaded for viewing by peers and academic staff on the role of livestock in the maintenance of food security (40%).

Formative assessment methods:
Online exercises and quizzes, and feedback and contributions from others in the online discussion fora will provide the basis for formative assessment.

Penalties for late submission:

Work that is submitted up to one calendar month after the submission deadline (and time) will be subject to a deduction of 10%.  Work that is submitted after one calendar month beyond the submission deadline will not be marked (unless extenuating circumstances have been agreed).

Assessment requirements for a pass:
A mark of 50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
Re-submission of coursework

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: 17 July 2020


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