ECON5002 Agriculture and Economic Development

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
This unit examines the role of agriculture in development, mainly in developing countries but with relevance to developed countries. The focus is on contemporary issues that need solutions. Thematic areas include global food systems, agricultural markets and market failure, food security, productivity and technology adoption, health and nutrition, farming systems, rural land reforms, climate change and water crisis, agriculture and natural resource conservation, and international trade. A variety of topical questions are addressed, potentially including—What caused the global food crisis? How can we evaluate the appropriateness of government policies, such as fertiliser subsidies? What is the impact of water scarcity in Australia on global food security in an era of climate change? Why is land reform a thorny issue in developing countries? Are there opportunities to increase the efficiency of resource-poor producers? What are the effects of trade and globalisation on poor economies? What strategies and policies are needed to promote agricultural development? The unit is issue and problem solving oriented; it requires critical thinking and active participation. Policy implications of the topics explored are discussed throughout the unit. Students are given the opportunity to discuss issues, to design policy briefs, and to carry out research on topics covered.
Students are able to (1) discuss, explain and review current debates in agricultural development such as food security and rising food prices, land reform and property rights, market failure and government interventions, obesity and malnutrition; (2) analyse alternative agricultural development policies in terms of their potential impact on rural livelihoods, sustainability, equity and economic growth, taking account of different personal, regional and geographical circumstances; (3) critically analyse agricultural development issues such as different approaches to the management of land and water resources and their potential impact on rural development goals; (4) understand and articulate the important characteristics of agriculture and its role in economic development; (5) have a conceptual understanding of what can be done to promote agricultural development through policy interventions; and (6) develop the capacity to apply economic tools of analysis to problems of agricultural development such as food insecurity assessment and evaluation of farming systems.
Typically this unit is assessed in the following ways: (1) examination; (2) policy briefs; and (3) assignment. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Amin Mugera
Unit rules
enrolment in the Master of Agricultural Science (coursework
coursework and dissertation) (72510)
Master of International Development (coursework
coursework and dissertation) (71550)
Master of Geographic Information Science (coursework
coursework and dissertation) (71570)
Contact hours
lectures: 4 hours per fortnight; Practical Classes: 2 hours per fortnight for 10 weeks
Unit Outline
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available at the University Co-operative Bookshop (from early January) and appropriate administrative offices for students to consult. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.