Agriculture for Food and Nutrition Security

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Course Description

  • Course Name

    Agriculture for Food and Nutrition Security

  • Host University

    Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

  • Location

    Amsterdam, The Netherlands

  • Area of Study


  • Language Level

    Taught In English

  • Course Level Recommendations


    ISA offers course level recommendations in an effort to facilitate the determination of course levels by credential evaluators.We advice each institution to have their own credentials evaluator make the final decision regrading course levels.

    Hours & Credits

  • ECTS Credits

  • Recommended U.S. Semester Credits
  • Recommended U.S. Quarter Units
  • Overview

    After successfully completing this course, students will:

    • be familiar with main concepts of agronomy relevant for Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) analysis;
    • understand the relation between locational (environmental) factors and the food production system;
    • understand the relation between food production systems and FNS;
    • be able to analyze these relationships with empirical data, including spatial analysis, and to interpret the results;
    • be able to critically reflect and communicate on contemporaneous land use issues.

    In this course you will learn the basic agronomic principles underlying the interlinkages between food production and agricultural production systems on the one hand, and between agricultural production systems and environmental resources on the other hand. You will learn how various crop and livestock production techniques are employed across different farming systems and how they interact with the environment. Given that the nature of these linkages also vary across space and time, the course will have an explicit temporal (dynamic and historical) and spatial focus to understand long term trends and diversity in food production and environmental impacts. Also alternative agricultural production systems to the dominant systems currently in use will be discussed, such as low input farming systems, including their potential for up-scaling and sustainability. You will also be taught the basics of GIS and how spatially explicit analysis can be utilized to better understand land use patterns and production possibilities and restrictions.

    - Understanding the interlinkage between locational (environmental) factors and the food production system;
    - Understanding the interlinkage between agricultural production systems and food productivity;
    - Understanding the position of agriculture in total land use.

    Course guiding questions
    - What is the spatial division of agricultural production possibilities
    across the globe?
    - What are the main agricultural production systems responding to this
    spatial variety?
    - Are current systems environmentally sustainable?
    - How can production be increased sustainably?
    - Which uses compete with agriculture for land use?
    - What is the energy efficiency loss when crops are replaced by meat

    - Crop physiology
    - Animal husbandry
    - Existing agricultural production systems
    - Supply and demand of natural resources in agriculture
    - Distribution of global agricultural production
    - Environmental constraints on agriculture across the globe
    - Competing land use
    - Energy efficiency crop vs meat production

    Key methods / tools (applied by students)
    - AEZ classification
    - GIS
    - combining data of different origin to arrive at production limitation
    maps (GIS)
    - analysis of yields and main limiting factors
    - energy efficiency calculations for crop and meat production

    Lectures, workgroups.

    Exam (60%), assignments (30%), presentation (10%)

    Basics of geography; basics of biology

    Bachelor students interested in Food Security

Course Disclaimer

Courses and course hours of instruction are subject to change.

Some courses may require additional fees.


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