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Course Information Undergraduate prospectus

Economics, Agriculture and Marketing

Course summary

Course code: ECON1111
Level: 7
Credits: 15
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Course Coordinator(s): Hilary Claire Coote



The purpose of the course is to increase students' economic literacy, particularly pertaining to agricultural development and marketing. Under liberalised production and trade systems, farmers are no longer guaranteed a market for their produce. Technical innovation can lead to greater volumes of agricultural production but unless markets are available produce can go to waste. Particularly at a time of rising world food shortages and prices, it is important to have an understanding of economics and marketing issues.

The course aims to:

Introduce key elements of market economics.
Consider the constraints and opportunities that affect marketing and agricultural development.
Enable students to become more aware of the ways in which marketing can be supported, that are economically viable and likely to have a positive and sustainable impact on poor farmers.

Learning outcomes

On completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate critical awareness of:
1. Underlying drivers in sustainable agricultural development and key constraints.
2. Key economic concepts and tools and their application.
3. Marketing systems and the processes and services involved in efficient agricultural marketing.
4. How prices are formed, why agricultural product prices fluctuate and why farm prices constitute a low proportion of final food prices.
5. Value chains and the types of organisations and institutions involved in marketing and their advantages, disadvantages, strengths and weaknesses and issues relating to upgrading.
6. Demonstrate good presentation and academic writing skills.

Indicative content

Key issues in sustainable agricultural development, including the value chain approach, and marketing of agricultural produce.
Basic economic concepts and how these can be used to understand the operation of markets, formation of prices, imperfect competition, marketing, government intervention systems and opportunities for upgrading and improving market access.
Material from NRI research work will be used to provide practical examples of marketing issues in developing countries and how these can be addressed.

Teaching and learning activity

The approach to teaching and learning will be to provide information in a range of formats (PowerPoint lectures and handouts, small group review of case studies, quizzes) and to encourage knowledge retrieval through reflective discussion sessions and reading and review of supplementary texts. Use will be made, where possible, of supporting material such as videos and simulation games. Additional reading material will be provided as case studies.


A SWOT Review of marketing system of an agricultural product in the student's country. (LO 1,3,5,6) - 40%
2500 words.
Test comprehension, assimilation and synthesis of reading materials, application of concepts to a particular case study, written presentation skills.

10-minute presentation of planned approach to review. (LO 1,3,5,6) - 10%
Test oral and written presentation skills, and assimilation of ideas.

Exam (LO 1 - 6) - 50%
Test retained knowledge, ability to argue from different viewpoints, writing skills under time pressure.

Pass mark - 50%

Students must pass all elements to pass the course.