APMA109-Agri-Food Value Chains

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

Module Convenor: Mr Edward Collins

Email: edward.collins@reading.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

You’ll gain fundamental knowledge of the key concepts in agri-food value chains and their management, and develop an ability to critically analyse these. This distance learning module is available to students enrolled on the distance learning MSc by Research in Animal Science and the Advanced Training Partnership programmes and comprises a series of interactive, online sessions and discussions.


The module develops a systematic understanding and critical awareness of the Agri-Food Value Chain, its main components, and linkages between them. It also examines the main trends, drivers and issues within the chain, covering aspects from agriculture and its ancillary industries, through to food retailing and catering, with reference to market structure, government intervention and international trade.

This module can be taken as a stand alone module by students engaged in independent study and may be undertaken, without assessment, as part of an individual’s continuing professional development (CPD).  Students wishing to take the course as part of a CPD programme should ensure that they are enrolled on the CPD version of the module (APMA509).

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of the module students will be able to:
•Discuss and anlyse the structure and components of the Agri-Food Value Chain
•Critically evaluate the main drivers of change and historic and on-going trends
•Demonstrate a systematic understanding of the importance of supply chain management with the agri-food supply chain
•Critically evaluate the key problems of the different sectors and the role of governments and other bodies in the food industry sector

Additional outcomes:
•use appropriate tools to identify reliable information and literature on a given topic and demonstrate good academic practice in the use, citation and referencing of source material
•communicate research findings clearly, demonstrating both presentational and analytical skills

Outline content:
Topics covered will include the following:
•The actors within the agri-food value chain: agriculture and its ancillary industries; Food manufacturing and processing; Food distribution; Food retailing; Food service and catering
•Models representing different market structures – perfect competition, monopoly, oligopoly, monopolistic competition; and the influence that food retailers – through their market power – have on the food supply chain
•Food policy issues: food safety, food quality, farm animal welfare, sustainability and food, ethical supply chain management, food security, food self-sufficiency
•The rationale for government intervention in food markets, and policy regulatory mechanisms within the food industry
•Trends in food demand: determinants of dietary change and expenditure on food
•Trends in food supply: including international trade and the evolution of international food distribution and retailing over time

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 screencasts:
(a) Case studies of different livestock production businesses (60%).
(b) Screencasts uploaded for viewing by peers and academic staff on the opportunities and constraints associated with agri-food value chains in livestock production (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: 8 October 2020


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