Undergraduate Modules

AGEC210 - Introduction to Agricultural Economics

Aim: (a) To understand the basic economic principles of production, market demand and supply and how these principles can assist farm decision-makers in making improved decisions, and (b) to learn basic accounting principles to develop a sound farm record-keeping system. Content: Market demand for agricultural products. Market supply of agricultural products. Price movements. The firm (farm) as a decision-making unit. Production functions of the farm business. Determining the optimum level of production. Farm costs of production. Agricultural input substitution. Decisions on the choice of agricultural products.

Practicals: Elementary farm accounting.


AGEC220 - Farm Management

Corequisite: AGEC210 or (ECON110, 120).

Aim: To understand the economic and management principles which guide the practice of managing farms. Content: Farm management - definition, planning environment, managerial functions and management by objectives. Key economic principles and planning concepts. Farm information systems, data analysis and budgeting. Organisation of capital. Farm machinery management. Land economics. Labour management.

Practicals: Application of economic principles to farming, analysis of farm records, budgeting, capital use and machinery and labour management decisions.


AGEC240 - Applied Farm Financial Management

Prerequisite: AGEC220 (Bioresources Engineering students are exempt).

Aim: To learn and apply the principles and tools of finance to managerial problems in agriculture. Content: Farm financial management objectives. Information flows in farm financial management. Financial leverage, farm firm growth and liquidity. Risk management in agriculture. Impact of time and risk on managerial decisions. Farm land values. Estate duty and the farmer.

Practicals: Risk analysis, information flows, farm firm growth model, capital budgeting and discounted cash flow problems.   


AGEC270 - Agribusiness Finance & Marketing

Corequisite: AGEC220 or (MGNT21M, 21P).

Aim: (a) To apply finance principles to solve managerial problems in agriculture, and (b) to study food marketing principles, and to craft and implement strategy in food and agricultural firms. Content: Financial management objectives and information flows. Financial leverage, farm firm growth and liquidity. Risk management. Impact of time and risk on managerial decisions. Farm land values. Estate duty. Food marketing margins and marketing efficiency. Agricultural and food business strategy. Marketing alternatives.

Practicals: Risk analysis, information flows, farm firm growth model, capital budgeting and discounted cash flow problems, and agribusiness case studies.


AGEC370 - Production Economics & Price Analysis

Corequisite: AGEC270, FINA202 or 16C in level 200 Economics modules.

Aim: To apply principles of production economics in making enterprise choices, to quantify demand and supply relations in agriculture, and to assess the economic effects of policies that distort markets. Content: Empirical farm-level production functions. Cost minimising and profit maximising criteria. Linear programming. Farm planning under risk. Market demand and supply functions in agriculture. Relationships between price, income and cross-price elasticities. Import tariffs and export subsidies. Econometric and non-econometric price analysis.

Practicals: Application of production and cost functions to agriculture. Farm planning with linear programming. Regression analysis of demand functions.


AGEC380 - Agricultural Development

Corequisite: AGEC220 or 32C in level 200 Economics modules. 

Aim: (a) To identify constraints which limit agricultural and economic growth in less-developed regions, and (b) to analyse policies that will alleviate these binding constraints. Content: Characteristics of developing regions. Role of agriculture in economic development. Theories of economic and agricultural growth. Adoption of technology. Impact of property rights (land tenure), credit, risk and information on technology adoption. Demand for children. 

Practicals:  Field Trip


AGEC730 - Applied Linear Programming

 Prerequisite Modules: AGEC370 or (MATH130, 140).

 Aim: (a) To identify and formulate farm and agribusiness problems as linear programming (LP) problems, and (b) to solve these LP problems by computer and interpret their solutions. Content: LP models for farm planning. MOTAD and game theory models for income risk. Multiperiod models for cash flow. Mixed Integer Programming for plant selection. Transport and trans-shipment models. Least cost ration and forage planning models. Economic equilibrium models.

Practicals: Using the computer to solve farm planning, cash flow, plant selection, feed blending and policy orientated models.


AGEC740 - Agriculltural Policy Analysis

 Prerequisite Modules: AGEC370

Aim: To provide insight into the application of economic theory to a wide range of issues in South African agriculture. This module contributes towards an understanding of the macro-economic situation facing South African agriculture. Content: Private versus collective choice. Product and resource market policies. Forecasting product demand. Trade issues. Demand for resources. Farmland use and value. Agricultural risk and crop insurance. Environmental policy, recreation and conservation. Policy Analysis Matrix.


 AGEC790 - Agricultural  Economics Projects and Seminars

 Aim: To equip students with the ability and confidence to: (a) Critically review literature, write scientific papers, and formally present and defend their work; and (b) integrate theory and techniques covered in earlier modules. For the project, students must identify a relevant research problem, develop models to test hypotheses, collect and analyse data, intepret results, recommend how to solve the problem, and prepare a comprehensive research report. Content: This module integrates topics covered in earlier modules.


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