Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Current Issues in Agribusiness

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Mathematics and Science Education

DESCRIPTION This study-unit focuses on current issues in agribusiness that reflect new trends in agribusiness with farmers as essential players in any agricultural innovation system. These include the ethical, environmental and socio-cultural dimensions of agribusiness.

The study-unit explores adult education and agricultural extension as a means of helping learners engage their own learning processes, and methods such as Participatory Rural Appraisal and Participatory Learning and Action. Transformative Education pertaining to agribusiness education is explored, as are the specific contexts that influence change, including organisational learning, hegemony, power, culture, strategy, and systemic pressures.

Another central current issue in agribusiness is Education for Sustainable Development, and this study-unit offers an opportunity to learn about important milestones in the development of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development, the double challenge of eradicating poverty and preserving the environment, and paradigms of development. Students will explore how such considerations can impact on the agribusiness curriculum, whole school approaches, as well as examine case studies in ESD and gardening/agriculture, including “Learning through landscapes” and school vegetable gardens.

Another current issue to be explored is the comparative dimension of agribusiness, analysing different contexts, models and realities across Europe, agribusiness in the majority world, small holders in the majority world, agriculture and community development, agribusiness and globalisation, and agribusiness and localisation. Students will contrast and compare how different actors are responding to and shaping new pressures and opportunities in the food system, exploring urban agriculture, fair trade, food security and food sovereignty, permaculture, Niche Markets, and agroecology.

Study-Unit Aims:

The aims of this study-unit are:
- To explore transformative education in the context of agriculture education;
- To equip student teachers with the basic skills of extension fieldworkers;
- To provide the student teacher with competencies related to the transversal/pedagogical aspects of Initial Teacher Training;
- To discuss the role and practice of environmental responsibility within agribusiness;
- To identify principles of good practice in research for sustainability and Education for Sustainable Development;
- To prepare student teachers to respond critically to demands for innovation and improvement;
- To prepare students teachers to consider and integrate ethical issues in the specific professional contexts of teaching and learning about agribusiness.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Describe the key milestones related to the developments of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development;
- Summarise the key literature relating to research approaches used in the study of Environmental Education and Education for Sustainable Development;
- List current issues in agribusiness pertaining to non-formal education;
- Illustrate with examples how agribusiness is conducted across different contexts, in Europe and internationally.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Design innovative lesson and topic plans that integrate the objectives, concepts and learning experiences of Education for Sustainable Development with Agribusiness studies;
- Evaluate ethical issues in agribusiness;
- Appraise appropriate methodologies in infusing Education for Sustainable Development in agribusiness studies;
- Appraise appropriate methodologies in teaching agribusiness to adults;
- Demonstrate a positive attitude to continuous professional development, collaboration, and innovation;
- Contrast and compare how different actors are responding to and shaping new pressures and opportunities in the food system and agroecology.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

- Who Really Feeds the World? The failures of agribusiness and the promise of agroecology by Vandana Shiva.Pub. Publisher: North Atlantic Books. Date: 06/28/2016.
- Farmer First Revisited: Innovation for Agricultural Research and Development. Scoones, I. and Thompson, J.. Book. Publisher: Practical Action Publishing. Publication date: 04/28/2009.
- Permaculture in a Nutshell, 3rd Edition by Patrick Whitefield (Author), Jonathon Porritt (Foreword). Publisher:Permanent Publications. Publication date:09/28/2004.
- Lecturer's Notes.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Lecture, Independent Study, Fieldwork and Tutorial

Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Project Yes 50%
Assignment Yes 50%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2021/2. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.