ECONOMICS OF AGRICULTURAL DEVELOPMENT
Learning outcomes of the course unit
The course has two main aims. It aims to help students understand the role and contribution of agriculture in the economies of less developed countries. It also aims to describe the characteristics of organisation and production of farms and farming families in the social context.
Regarding the first aim, the sector contributes to food security for the rural and urban population as well as having an economic role. This is linked to the type of production, how supply is aggregated and strategies used by different actors along the food chain. These are elements of an efficient market, and justify economic production and the population involved in rural areas. The production decisions of farms express family strategies developed in a context where inefficiency of options, technological progress and the integration of the farm in the rural system are all taken into account.
So development in a rural context requires knowing how to mange resources such as land, capital, labour and water as well as structural, social and economic characteristics of farming families. All this in a framework of multifunctional agriculture at the service of society.
Course topics include farmer choices with constraints of market and technological uncertainty, the role of technical progress, forms of organisation of the farming family unit, basic elements of agri-food economics, the role of the sector in the fight against hunger and economic development and basic requirements for a virtuous cycle of rural development using a “bottom up” approach.
There will be supplementary seminars on issues concerning agriculture as an engine of development in the globalized economy.
Course contents summary
1.Main aspects of the agricultural sector
The agricultural sector in a national economy
Causes of disequilibrium compared to other sectors
Functions and instability of the price system
Aims and instruments of agricultural policy
2.Main aspects of farm business administration
Farmer choices in conditions of uncertainty
Organization of the farming family
Strategies and adaptation of farming family units
Role and effects of technical progress
3.The role of the agri-sector in devlopment
Organisation of agri-food food chains
4.Elements of agrarian policy
Rural development policy
Selected texts on agrarian development, 2005-2006, Photocopy office, Economics Faculty, University of Parma.
Colman, D. Trevor Y. (1995), Principles of agricultural economics, market and prices in less developed countries, Cambridge University Press.
De Benedictis M., Casentino V. (1995), Economia dell’azienda agraria, Il Mulino
De Stefano, F. (1985), Principi di politica agraria, Il Mulino, Bologna.
Devereux S., Maxwell S. (2001), Food security in Sub Saharian Africa, Unversity of Natal Press. Institute of Development Studies, Glasgow.
Ellis F. (1992), Agricultural policies in developing countries, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.
Hallet G., (1995), Economia e politica del settore agricolo, il Mulino.
Based on written exam of theory and assessment of reading indicated during the course