cod. 1006313

Academic year 2017/18
3° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Economia ed estimo rurale (AGR/01)
A scelta dello studente
Type of training activity
Student's choice
42 hours
of face-to-face activities
6 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Learning objectives

At the end of the course students will have acquired the knowledge to understand the market environment in which a food chain enterprise operates. The workshop is organized around the following themes:
• agrifood system and supply chain;
• food consumption of households;
• the Supply-Demand Sheet and the foreign trade;
• the futures markets for agrifood products.
Information available on key issues on internet will be identified and interpreted under the guidance of the instructor.
The sequence of topics and case studies is tentative, actual allocation of time will depend on the overall class progress.
The instructor may make adjustment as necessary: please check the teacher’s website for announcements, additional readings and resources.
On the basis of the topics, the student will be able to apply the knowledge gained in taking management decisions in a food company in any functional area. His/her sphere of action will range from market research initiatives to improving economic efficiency, including the supply of raw materials.
After completing the course, the student will have the critical skills to address the agrifood business in a broader perspective than purely operational, and will have full understanding of supply chain dynamics.
Communication skills developed will allow him/her to use appropriate terms and to know how to work in groups in order to interact at the various functional levels pf a business organization.
The study method is "learning by doing" through team or individual work to master the sources of statistics and information on the food system, with particular reference to the key issues. Three major topics (food consumption, Supply-Demand Sheet and futures markets) will be addressed from a theoretical and general point of view and will also be the subject of in-depth operational analysis. In particular, following the directions of the teacher, the quantitative information and statistics available on the web will be identified and elaborated for use in group or individual work.
This activity is aimed at enhancing the ability to learn by applying a logical method to identifying problems and stimulating a critical evaluation of the solutions adopted.


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Course unit content

Markets play a particularly important role in the Italian food system which, being open to foreign trade, must be particularly attentive to international prices and market fundamentals. The availability, of a substantial body of information on food markets online offers the possibility of more informed choices but, at the same time, requires effort in searching for information and data processing. Data management must be developed in a consistent manner to be worthwhile in business decisions.
The workshop has two objectives. Firstly it presents the sources from which to draw quantitative information on food chains at domestic and international levels. Secondly, it enable students in to interpret the functioning of food markets and price dynamics.
The lab allows students attending to use important electronic databases, and will offer insights into analysis methods that are useful for the solution of important problems in the assessment of the markets. During the course, each participant will write three papers that will be evaluated by the teacher.Attendance at the workshop is compulsory.

Full programme

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The reference texts include the teaching materials used during the workshop, which will be made available on the instructor's webpage.
Certain chapters of the following textbooks are important class materials for the exam:
- S. Serra, M. Zuppiroli: Il commercio dei cereali, Edagricole - Edizioni agricole del Sole 24 Ore, Milano, 2009 ................... [Chapters 2, 4 and 7].
If students wish to study lab topics in more detail, they can use the following text as additional reading:
- F. Messori F. Ferretti: Economia del mercato agroalimentare, Bologna, 2010, Edagricole.

Teaching methods

The teaching methods are designed for the objectives stated above.
The course consists of lectures combined with case studies. The lectures will discuss general issues related to the operation of the agri-food markets and of supply chains in particular.
The meanings of common terms used in the markets of food commodities will also be presented.
The ability to apply knowledge will be assessed with exercises and the projects carried out and discussed in the classroom with the teacher. These activities improve independence of judgment and the ability to communicate with appropriate technical language.
Attendance at the workshop is compulsory. Attendance is essential to complete the papers successfully and is the best way to earn a better grade for the class. The teacher recognizes only two types of excusable absences: family emergencies and personal illness. Please notify the instructor in advance if either situation should arise.

Assessment methods and criteria

The assessment of students who attend a high proportion of the course assiduously is through an evaluation of the papers in which they discuss the results of the case studies and the whole process of their development. The case studies, organized according to a scheme agreed with the teacher, should be delivered within the time limits set during the course, including the week after the completion of the lessons in the classroom.
The factors that will be taken into account to determine the final score are as follows:

Factor and approximate weight:
Class participation 25%
Compliance with deadlines for submission of papers 20%
Ability to discuss the project discussion with the teacher 15%
Knowledge and understanding ascertained 25%
Communication skills and knowledge of specialist vocabulary 15%

Participation is included as a factor in assessment because it is difficult to obtain satisfactory results without active participation in the classroom. It requires a substantial contribution to the quality of classroom discussion and implies interest and ability on the part of the student, rather than mere attendance.
Details on exam procedures and the academic behavior can be found in the Guidelines ( and in the Code approved by the Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Aziendali (

Other information

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