Agricultural commodities Market
cod. 1010424

Academic year 2022/23
1° year of course - First semester
Academic discipline
Economia ed estimo rurale (AGR/01)
Scienze propedeutiche
Type of training activity
24 hours
of face-to-face activities
3 credits
hub: PARMA
course unit

Integrated course unit module: Agricultural commodities market and marketing

Learning objectives

Understanding the Italian and international lagricultural system, both with a supply chain and sectorial perspective. In particular, the course aims to:
- develop the knowledge of issues concerning the role of agricultural system in the economic development, the characteristics of the demand and supply of agricultural products, the functioning and organization of the agri-food system and the companies involved;
- deepen the theoretical and operational implications deriving from the presence of market failures (externalities / public goods, transaction costs and information asymmetry);
- provide the tools to understand current agricultural policies on international markets and the role of the agri-food system in environmental conservation, sustainability, promotion of rural and territorial development, and health protection.
The expected learning outcomes are:
1) Knowledge and understanding: knowledge of the organization of the agri-food system of the demand and supply of agricultural products, of the trade balances; knowledge of the main pillars of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) and current frame of the agricultural support and rural development policies.
2) Application skills: apply the principles of calculations of the trade balances; apply the organizational knowledge of the agri-food system to real case studies; apply the financing policies of agriculture and rural development to case studies.
3) Independent judgment: evaluation and interpretation of simple models of demand and supply, and trade balances; critical use of data from scientific literature; evaluation of teaching.
4) Communication skills: written and oral communication through the scientifically correct vocabulary of the subject; ability to present, transmit and disseminate information on topics related to agricultural products; ability to communicate with experts or non-experts in the agricultural production sector, and when initiated to work to superiors and / or customers; ability to communicate and collaborate in working groups.
5) Ability to learn: ability to consult bibliographic material, databases relating to agricultural products (including international market data) and agricultural policy tools; ability to critically consult specific websites (e.g.,, etc.); ability to participate in seminars and training study days.


Propaedeutic courses are not required

Course unit content

The course aims to investigate some specific aspects related with the market of agricultural products. In particular, the course will focus on the characteristics of agricultural supply, on the marketing channels in the production market, on the trends of the demand, supply and price variables and the relationships among these.

Full programme

1) Introductory elements of micro-economics: supply and demand; perfect competition market. Equilibrium of a competitive market (consumer and producer surplus), theoretical assumptions and reality of agricultural markets (information asymmetry, qualitative differentiation, size of buyers); oligopoly market; monopoly market (equilibrium in a monopoly market).
2) Specificity of agricultural product markets. Elasticity of supply and demand, Engel's Law, price formation (stock products, Cobweb model), public control of agricultural product prices (the Common Agricultural Policy – an introduction).
3) Cooperatives and producer organizations (POs): role of cooperatives and POs in the agri-food system.
4) Regulation of international trade in agricultural products. The WTO and multilateral agreements on trade in agro-food products.
5) The supply and trade balances. Effects of the price crisis on world markets, agri-food trade with foreign countries and Italian community exchanges.


Readings uploaded on the Elly website.

Teaching methods

Lessons will be organized face-to-face with the possibility of using the lessons also remotely, if necessary, in synchronous (via Teams) and asynchronous mode (uploaded on the Elly page of the course).
The teaching will be carried out through lectures in the classroom with the help of slides that will represent teaching material, in addition to the recommended readings. The slides will be available online on the website Elly in pdf format for students. The lessons also include the discussion of examples of the most recent real cases. For this reason, the slides, which are gradually updated for each topic, will be uploaded to Elly before each topic covered and not all together at the beginning of the course. During the lessons, the appropriate use of technical language will be reiterated, and the links between the various parts of the course will be emphasized. For this reason, the presence and active participation of students is strongly encouraged.

Assessment methods and criteria

At the end of the course, the learning level of the expected results will be verified for all the contents offered during the lessons.
The final exam will be written with 30 closed-answer questions and at least one open-ended question.
The student’s knowledge will be evaluated with questions concerning the whole program. The competences that will be evaluated concern the student's ability to apply these concepts to case studies proposed during the exam by the professor.
In the test, each of the closed-ended questions will be awarded one point for each correct answer, while there are no penalties for incorrect answers. Therefore, the maximum score obtainable will be 30/30. The open question(s) will be corrected only if the student has obtained a minimum score of 18/30 in the test.
The criteria used to evaluate the student on the open answer question(s) are: a) ability to elaborate the knowledge transmitted during the course, applying them to the concrete cases proposed by the teacher in the exam question(s); b) ability to argue their answers with references to economic theories, possibly through the use of formulas and graphs, to analyze from an economic point of view the proposed case studies, c) methods of linguistic exposure and use of specific terminology . For each open-ended question, these three indicators will be weighed as follows: a) 50%, b) 30%, c) 20%. Closed-ended questions will be multiple-choice questions in which the student must indicate the correct answer(s), or the wrong answer(s).
The final score will be determined as follows: a score out of thirty will be assigned for the open-ended question(s) using the weights for the three criteria. A weighted average of the scores will be carried out, considering a weight of 50% for the evaluation of the test, and of 50% for the evaluation obtained in the open-ended question(s). To obtain the sufficiency the candidate needs an overall score greater than or equal to 18.
The exam results are published on the ESSE3 portal ( within a reasonable time compatible with the number of students enrolled. Students can view the exam by making an appointment with the teacher.
If it is impossible to take the written exam in classroom due to rules imposed by the University, the exam will be carried out remotely through an online test and an interview through MS Teams.
The assessment of the level of knowledge acquired also takes into consideration how the student is able to express himself correctly, with the specific scientific language of economics.

Other information

In case of serious health emergency, the methods of teaching and verifying learning may undergo changes which will be promptly communicated on Elly and/or on the course website.