Agriculture for Food and Nutrition Security


Course Objective

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.

Course Content

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.

Teaching Methods

Lectures (7 x 2 hours),
Lecture 1. Introduction. A short history of agriculture (two hours; Ben
Lecture 2. The natural resources base (two hours; Roel Voortman)
Lecture 3. Balancing agronomic interventions (two hours; Ben Sonneveld)
Lecture 4. Farming Systems (two hours; Ben Sonneveld)
Lecture 5. Natural resource management and institutions (two hours; Ben
Sonneveld/Remco Oostendorp)
Lecture 6. Global drivers of agricultural production: coping and
adaptation (two hours; Peter Verburg)
Lecture 7. Can we feed the world? (two hours; Max Merbis)

workgroups (6 x 4 hours).
I. Identifying hot spots of critical crop and fodder supply (Roel
Voortman and Ben Sonneveld)
II. Land sparing and grabbing (one afternoon; Peter Verburg)
III. Guest speaker: remote sensing and crop production

Method of Assessment

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

Target Audience

Bachelor students interested in Food Security

Additional Information

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
- 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

Recommended background knowledge

Basics of geography; basics of biology

General Information

Course Code E_MG_AFNS
Credits 6 EC
Period P1
Course Level 200
Language of Tuition English
Faculty School of Business and Economics
Course Coordinator dr. ir. B.G.J.S. Sonneveld
Examiner dr. ir. B.G.J.S. Sonneveld
Teaching Staff

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Computer lab, Study Group, Lecture
Target audiences

This course is also available as: