MSc International Rural Development (Organic Agricultural Systems)
This pathway starts from the growing belief among consumers that intensive agriculture is leading to a worldwide degradation of natural resources whilst not producing food of the quality expected. Sustainable management of soil and water is key to the organic philosophy. It examines organic systems of production, market demand, the standards to be met and the business potential of such systems within the context of both financial and ecological sustainability.
The pathway will enable you to gain a good understanding of international organic markets and standards and how to meet these from a production management perspective, to address production methods from a temperate and tropical perspective and evaluate organic production as a strategy for poverty alleviation and food supply within developing economies.
On this pathway, you will study the following two focus modules plus any one other (in addition to the five core modules) and carry out a research investigation within this theme:
Organic Production and Marketing
The Organic Production and Marketing module initially focuses on regulatory, market and consumer attitudes to organic food before considering the actual and potential contribution of organic systems to food supply in both developed and emerging economies.
It also explores organic philosophies in relation to ecological, social and economic dimensions of sustainable development. Practical examples of farming systems and enterprise integration are then evaluated in relation to soil management and plant-soil relationships, animal health and nutrition, and enterprise performance.
Sustainable Management of Soil and Water
This module evaluates the traditional management strategies for soil and water as factors in food production and applies sustainable principles to their use and management in various agro-climatic zones and production systems. Soil is considered in terms of physical, chemical, and biological properties in relation to nutrient cycling processes, structural quality, risk of erosion and contamination. Water in agriculture links climate and hydrology to water collection and use, crop requirements, potential evapotranspiration and water balances, water quality and salinisation, drainage and leaching, and water conservation techniques.