Module: Agricultural and Rural Policy

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Dr Richard Baines
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    150 hours
  • Contact hrs

    45 hours

Module content

This module initially explores the role of international conventions and organisations including the United Nations and the World Trade Organisation before evaluating the role of policy formulation, implementation and review in providing a framework for sustainable development using the UK and Europe as cases in point.

The module also considers the role of development controls in other countries and under differing political ideologies in relation to delivering sustainable development strategies (Eastern Europe and Asia). Development policy and practice in Africa is then considered from NEPAD to national agricultural and rural development plans. At the same time the role of Governments (e.g. EU and China) and NGOs (e.g. Farm Africa, Water Aid and Tear Fund) on Africa’s development will be considered along with international strategies for aid and development post natural disaster and post conflict.

A professional development workshop allows students to further explore the integration of sustainability criteria into planning and policy, this covers:

  • Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) and its links to planning;
  • Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) in policy formulation, and
  • Environmental Due Diligence (EDD) in development funding.

The module also considers how agricultural and rural development policy may be put into practice through analysis of a case study

The Final written paper is a seen paper (2 weeks prior to examination date.)

Module outcomes

To achieve credit for this module, students must be able to:

  1. Critically assess the role of policy, including agricultural and rural development policy, in addressing the economic, social and environmental goals of societies (including the application of SEA methods).
  2. Identify different political and institutional approaches to planning and development control (including the application of EIA and EDD assessment methods) and critically evaluate their contribution to sustainable development.
  3. Critically analyse extension strategies in relation to the implementation of agricultural and rural development policies before applying your own strategies to a case study (linked to Module 4080).


Assessment Description Weighting
Coursework Conventions seminar and posters 25%
Coursework Workshop activities (EIA, SEA and EDD) 15%
Coursework Extension case study (small team) 20%
Examination Exam (2 hours) 40%

Assessments may differ in 2020/21 due to adjustments for Covid-19. Please check Gateway for the latest regulations.

Key texts

Students should be familiar with the content of at least one of the following: 

  • Adams, W. (1990). Green Development: Environment and Sustainability in the Third World. Routledge.
  • Berkes, F. (Ed). (1989). Common Property Resources: Ecology and Community Based Sustainable Development. Belhaven.
  • Blowers, A. (1993). Planning for a Sustainable Environment. Earthscan.
  • Buller, H. and Hoggart, K. (eds.) (2001). Agricultural transformation, food and environment: perspectives on European rural policy and planning - volume 1 Ashgate Publishing.
  • Connor, R. and Dovers, S. (2004). Institutional Change for Sustainable Development. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Cooper, J. (ed.) (2005). Global Agricultural Policy Reform and Trade: Environmental Gains and Losses. Edward Elgar Publishing.
  • Dalal-Clayton, B. and Bass, S. (2002). Sustainable Development Strategies: A Resource Book. Earthscan Publications.
  • Gardner, B. (1996). European Agriculture: Policies, Production and Trade. Routledge.
  • IIED (2001). The Future is Now: For the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development. International Institute for Environment and Development.
  • Ivera, W.M. and Qamar, M.K. (2003). Agricultural Extension, Rural Development and the Food Security Challenge. Food and Agriculture Organization.
  • Lundsgaard, E. (2011). Africa Toward 2030: Challenges for Development Policy. Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Moss, T.J. (2007). African Development. Lynne Reinner Publishers Inc, London.
  • Norton, R.D. (2003). Agricultural Development Policy: Concepts and Experiences. John Wiley & Sons.
  • OECD (2003). Agricultural and Rural Development Policies in the Baltic Countries. Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development.
  • Rydin, Y. (1996). The Environmental Impact of Land and Property Management. John Wiley.
  • Severino, J.M. and Ray, O. (2011). Africa’s Moment. Polity Press, Cambridge.
  • Wells, D.T. (1996). Environmental Policy: A Global Perspective for the Twenty-First Century. Prentice Hall.
  • World Bank (2011). Africa Development Indicators 2011. World Bank Publications. (African Development Indicators). 

Supporting texts