Fresh Produce Production - (15 credits)

Fresh produce sales in UK supermarkets are worth approx. £10.8 billion. A supply of nutritious affordable foods for public health that meets the five a day campaign requires production and supply systems that assure high standards of quality and safety. The UK is currently reliant on imports and this a sector that is seeing fast paced change and innovation both in the UK and world agricultural systems. The module will give students the opportunity to assess developments and the potential of fresh plant produce production including root, salad and fruit crops which are of increasing importance in certain parts of the UK and overseas, where they contribute significantly to farm output. It will look at the role of this sector to the UK economy, EU imports and from a global perspective. This module will connect with other key modules to consider production systems and consumer behaviour in terms of dietary needs and food preferences in the UK. Its content will keep pace with rapid change through industry engagement and will be delivered in the context of food security, imports and exports, the resilience of supply changes, marketability, consumer demands, waste and sustainability. The content will look at products that can uphold standards of quality, plant health and sustainability. The opportunity to focus on the ornamental and flower production sector is also included part of the module. Specific crops will be evaluated and the agronomy discussed within the framework of Integrated Farm Management to promote the sustainable techniques and the production of high quality produce for multiple retailers and specific markets. Management issues will be evaluated to assess the factors necessary to produce high value field crops profitably while operating within the parameters of environmental sustainability and social values. The opportunity to apply concepts to novel crops and production systems and evaluate developments will also be included. Current developments in technology and those intended to operate within circular economic principles, to reduce ecological footprint and minimise waste output, will be evaluated along with the requirements of highly perishable crops as these are likely to make significant contributions to the efficient production of marketable produce in the future. The opportunity to work with the sector and visit local farmers, processors, packers and retailers will form part of the module.