LOJK10292U  Agricultural Value Chains in Developing Countries

Volume 2014/2015
MSc Programme in Agricultural Development
MSc Programme in Agricultural Economics
MSc Programme in Sustainable Development in Agriculture (Agris Mundus)

Development of the agricultural sector is recognized as an important factor in the economic growth of most developing countries. As a consequence of the increasing globalization and internationalization of markets, farmers and agribusiness enterprises in developing countries are becoming increasingly integrated in global value chains. The recognition of the importance of the agricultural sector, including agribusinesses, has led to a growing interest among governments and development agencies in supporting business development and integration of farmers in markets. Local farmers and agribusinesses are offered new opportunities by increasing urbanization and globalization; however, participating in local as well as global markets is not without challenges as farmers are often faced with many institutional and economic barriers.

Professionals working in the agricultural sector need to understand the inherent complexity of agriculture-based value chains and the dynamic interaction among different types of actors. In this course we aim to provide the participants with knowledge and skills to analyze agricultural value chain development in developing countries. The course will address the following main topics:
• The nature and role of the agricultural sector in developing economies, as well as the nature of its markets including consumer behavior and retail structures
• Financial instruments and investment mechanisms used in agribusiness
• Different concepts of agricultural value chains
• Different value chain analysis approaches for value chain development and research
• Value chain trade-related issues such as value addition, value distribution, and innovation and upgrading
• Value chain management-related issues such as chain governance, the institutional setting, and the enabling environment
• Value chain interventions from different actors including NGOs, and businesses, e.g. international traders, wholesalers, and retailers
• Strategies for enhancing smallholders’ access to markets including different types of social and commercial organization, such as associations, partnerships and outgrowing schemes
• Gender, environment and poverty in the agriculture and agribusiness development

By focusing on agricultural value chains analysis, the course will target students that want to obtain an understanding of the mechanisms regulating agribusiness in developing countries. The students will perform mapping and characterization of agricultural-based value chains. The course will be useful for professionals working in international agricultural development organizations, donor organizations, public agencies, national extension services, agribusiness development services, and private agribusiness enterprises.

Learning Outcome

After completing the course the students should be able to:
• Describe and define theoretically value chain-related terminology
• Refer theoretical streams of the value chain literature
• Show overview of major approaches in value chain analysis
• Reflect on the complexity of institutional and management dynamics of the agricultural sector in developing countries
• Describe the social and economic importance of agriculture in economic development in developing countries

• Collect and process relevant information for analyzing agricultural value chains
• Reason about the institutional and management dynamics in the agribusiness sector
• Discuss policy and management tools for upgrading and developing agriculture and agribusiness
• Discuss the feasibility of interventions for upgrading and developing agricultural value chains
• Communicate ideas for agricultural value chain development in developing countries to stakeholders
• learn in an interactive learning environment

• Analyze the economic importance of agriculture in a developing country economy
• Apply relevant theories to analyze complex institutional and agribusiness systems
• Apply the value chain analyses approaches to design upgrading interventions
• Analyze and identify potential improvements of the institutional environment for supporting agricultural value chains
• Decide and argue for theories to apply in specific value chain analyses
• Assess and reflect on own learning outcome    

Will be announced in Absalon
The course will include a combination of class lectures, discussions, guest lectures, individual and group exercises, and student presentations. Student will be working in groups analysing a selected value chain case through a number of sub-assignments. Each student develops an individual written report based on the sub-assignments.
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Oral examination, 20 minutes
The individual assignment is based on a group project and must be handed in prior to the oral exam. In the oral exam, each student has a maximum of 15 minutes available. During the oral examination the student will be asked to elaborate and discuss specific issues related to the student’s individual assignment. The final grade is calculated as an average of the grading of the individual assignments (50%) and of the oral exam (50%).
Exam registration requirements
Participation in the group presentation is compulsory in order to attend the written exam.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
External censorship
Criteria for exam assesment
Fullfilment of Learning Outcome is required to obtain the grade 12

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 30
  • E-Learning
  • 10
  • Theory exercises
  • 30
  • Project work
  • 80
  • Preparation
  • 44
  • Exam
  • 12
  • Total
  • 206