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ACE8114 : Principles and current topics in Agro-food economics & Policy

  • Offered for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Diogo Monjardino De Souza Monteiro
  • Lecturer: Professor Lynn Frewer, Dr Luca Panzone
  • Owning School: Natural and Environmental Sciences
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


1) Introduce students to the basic principles of agro-food economics and policy;
2) Discuss current food security and sustainable agriculture topics through the lenses of economics and social sciences.

More specifically the goals of this module are to enable students to:
I.       Underline and explain the economic drivers of consumption and the determinants of food demand;
II.       Describe and state how farmers and food business decide what and how much food to produce and supply
III.       Discuss and appraise the role of markets as institutions and their role on food security
IV.       Recognize and assess why markets fail and propose policies to mitigate such cases
V.       Examine and assess using economic, social, environmental and ethical principles alternative policies to tackle food security problems
VI.       Discuss and debate on current issues and local, national and international policies in food security and sustainability.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module runs over 2 weeks and has two distinct parts reflected on the syllabus and assessment below. The first part defines and describes the economic principles governing food markets. These are going to be taught in the context of food markets and will assume students had an introduction to microeconomic theory. The material will conveyed through a set of lectures and case studies, and student’s participation and engagement is expected. The second part of this module comprises a set of talks based on CRE staff research as well as from guest speakers from other parts of the school and University, IAFRI staff as well as from public agencies, industry and third sector. Students are also encouraged to identify and suggest guest speakers and to lead discussions on the topic based on suggested readings and their own searches. These seminars can be held on campus, through webinars or be part of study tours to National or International agencies or businesses impact food security and sustainability. An illustrative outline syllabus is:

1.       The concept and dimensions of food security and the role of markets and economics
2.       Economic of agro-food markets:
2.1       Determinants of food consumption: Utility theory and Consumer research
2.2       Production economics and managerial decisions
2.3       Markets and market structures
2.4       A premier on game and contract theory
2.5       Economic principles of policy evaluation

Topics in Food security & Sustainable Development Goals (NB: these are likely to change over the years)
2.3       SGD 2 - Zero Hunger
•       International trade of food
•       Ethics in production and consumption
•       Food waste and social impact of food security
2.3       SGD 12 -Responsible production and consumption
•       True costs of food and natural accounting
•       The role of private standards
•       Agri-tech innovation and technology adoption

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesLecture53:0015:00Lectures on core module material by teaching staff and visiting speakers
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion150:0050:00Preparation for group course work assessments
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion155:0055:00Exam revision and completion.
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading54:0020:00Lecture preparation
Guided Independent StudyStudent-led group activity125:0025:00Formative assessment: write a critique of a current topic
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study54:0020:00Seminar preparation
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesScheduled on-line contact time53:0015:00These session will be based on case study, academic readings or games
Teaching Rationale And Relationship

Lectures will deliver the core knowledge based material to achieve the learning outcomes. Students will be provided with directed reading prior to each lecture to facilitate in-class group discussion where appropriate, and context to guest speakers. Seminars on current topics will enable students to use economic principles and frameworks to participate and discuss with staff and guest speakers the current topics in seminars.

Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Description Length Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written Examination402A40In class or online essay based exam based on material presented in Lectures, 2 answers out of 4 questions.
Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Report2M60Students will form a group up to 4 students & write report on current issue of their choice (up to 2000 words)
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MStudents will write a blog post based on one of the seminars (1000 word max). The best blog will be posted at CRE
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

The exam is designed to assess the comprehension of the economic principles. The individual report assesses students to ability analyze and evaluate an existing or proposed policy intervention addressing one of SDG goals from a social sciences perspective.
The formative assessment challenges students to master a novel form of communication and their ability to synthesize complex information in a compelling way.

Study Abroad students may request to take their exam before the semester 1 exam period, in which case the format of the paper may differ from that shown in the MOF. Study Abroad students should contact the school to discuss this.

Reading Lists