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									Postgraduate Diploma/MSc in

Co-operative Organisation,
     Food Marketing
  & Rural Development


   Department of Food Business & Development
        & Centre for Co-operative Studies
              Postgraduate Diploma in
      Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing
               and Rural Development


  MSc in Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing
              and Rural Development

For graduates from a wide range of disciplines who are interested in
careers in Co-operatives, Food Marketing or Rural Development,
University College Cork will offer a postgraduate course leading to a
Postgraduate Diploma/MSc in Co-operative Organisation, Food
Marketing and Rural Development, commencing in September 2009.
The Postgraduate Diploma is a postgraduate full-time course, and
extends over one year. The MSc is a postgraduate full-time course,
extending over two years, the first year of which consists of the
Postgraduate Diploma in Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing
and Rural Development.

The programme aims to equip graduates             with the marketing,
organisational and management skills they         will need to make
innovative contributions to the development of   local economies, with
particular emphasis on co-operatives, social     enterprises and food
businesses in Ireland and overseas.

“Huge asset in getting me on the career ladder – use presentation
skills, team/group research and IT everyday in my position as a
national education welfare officer.”

“I found the course excellent; it offered a refreshingly alternative
perspective on development, organisations and business.”

“It gave me a good understanding of basic business principles.”

“Motivated me to shift direction from engineering to

“It helped lay a solid foundation towards my current academic
career – mostly in the area of co-operatives and rural

“Simply wouldn’t be doing the job I love without the MSc. I have
spent the last years working on development in West Africa.”

“It was the start of my academic career, dovetailing into a PhD

“The multidisciplinary nature of the course provides students with
many career opportunities.”

“It put me on a career path towards working in the rural
development sector.”

“The course provided me with my crucial first experience in
working in a developing country.”

“The course bridged the gap between being an undergraduate with
no work experience to getting started on the career ladder.”

“I got my current job as a result of the work placement
component of the course.“

“The course gave me a good understanding of working with
development groups, including LEADER.”

“I acquired the information and skills that I have built upon
through work experience enabling me to support community

“It provided an alternative perspective on social and economic

GRADUATE EMPLOYMENT (Graduates 1991-2006)
Graduates of the programme are qualified to take up a wide range of
employment opportunities. This is because of the unique
interdisciplinary, problem-centred nature of the programme. Some of
the positions currently held by graduates of the programme include:

Trade Marketing Specialist, Bord Bia
Social Inclusion Analyst, Local Authority
Credit union consultant
Marketing Manager, Supermarket Chain
Rural Childcare Project Manager
Food Safety & Quality Assurance Manager
Administrator, Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and
Senior Community Dietician, Health Services Executive
Manager, Rural Partnership Company
Project Manager, VEC
Programme Development Officer, local development company
Desk Officer, Concern
Gender/Equality Officer, County Council
Community Development Officer, national development organisation
Lecturer, UCC
Secondary School Teacher
Trócaire – Ethiopia Country Representative
Area Manager, International Development Consultants
P.R. Officer
Director, Event Management Company
Senior Sales Executive, food company
Researcher, Investment Company
Corporate Accounts Manager, IT sector
Community and Enterprise Development Officer, County Council
Gallery Assistant
Analyst, Food Safety Authority of Ireland

The Postgraduate Diploma/MSc programme provides students with
opportunities to travel during the period of study. Training placements
are undertaken during the Postgraduate Diploma year in Ireland and
abroad, and have included placements to Scotland, Italy, Germany,
France, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, UK, US, Senegal and Sweden. The
MSc year provides opportunities to conduct research in Ireland and
abroad. An overseas development research programme facilitates
travel by students to developing countries, including Tanzania, Ethiopia
and Zimbabwe (see under Developing Country Work Experience).
Recently, students specialising in co-operative business have
conducted MSc research in Canada, France and the US.


YEAR I: Postgraduate Diploma in Co-operative Organisation, Food
Marketing & Rural Development

YEAR II: MSc in Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing &
Rural Development

                 Postgraduate Diploma in
    Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing & Rural
Candidates for the Postgraduate Diploma must:
   (a) pursue a full-time course for three terms
   (b) pass an examination on the course
   (c) undertake and report on a short training project.

Students take core modules to the value of 55 credits plus an
elective to the value of 5 credits as follows:

Core Modules
    FE 5100 Co-operative Organisation (15 credits)
  FE 5101 Food Marketing I (15 credits)
(For students who have not previously studied marketing)
  FE 5102 Food Marketing II (15 credits)
(For students who have previously studied marketing to a sufficient
 FE 5103 Rural Development (15 credits)
    FE 5104 Practical Training Placement (10 credits)

    FE 4008 Food Security and the Developing World (5 credits)
     Any other 5 credit module which may be made available by any
     Department in the Faculty of Food Science and Technology,
     depending on the prior qualifications and interests of each student
     and subject to the approval of the course leader.

The 50 course credits will be examined in summer and a report on the
Practical Training Placement will be submitted in September. Course
leadership will be provided by the Department of Food Business and
Development and the Centre for Co-operative Studies.


Core Modules
FE 5100 Co-operative Organisation
Overview of co-operative activity in Ireland and abroad, of different co-
operative sectors:
    -    Agricultural, worker, community, food, service, energy, water
         and sports co-operatives and credit unions.

Topics covered include: Overview of co-operative principles and
structural characteristics; co-operative history. Sociology of
organisations, co-operative and conventional: different theoretical and
practical approaches to organising (scientific management,
bureaucratic approach, human relations/human resources, Japanese
model, contingency theory, 'new age' organisations, representative co-
operative, collective co-operative). Economic and financial aspects:
business planning, business objectives in a co-operative, application of
surplus, co-operative accounting; Co-operative law and administration:
fundamentals of co-operative law, shareholding structures, value of
shares in a co-operative and recent developments in agricultural co-

operatives, roles and functions of members, Board of Directors,
managers, co-operative strategy, business success and member
identity. Co-operative training and education: steps in starting up a co-
operative (group aims, meetings, feasibility studies, business plan),
decision-making and meeting processes, team work, social goals.
Sociology of communications. Two-way communication and
presentation skills.

After completing this module the student should be able to:
   Review co-operative activity in Ireland and abroad across the
    different co-operative sectors;
   Analyse co-operative principles and characteristics;
   Examine different theoretical and practical approaches to
    organising across the organisational spectrum, from
    conventional to co-operative;
   Explore the co-operative management and decision-making
   Apply co-operative theory to practice;
   Evaluate co-operative performance in social and economic
    terms and as effective vehicles for development in Ireland and
   Assess the relationship between the co-operative and its
    members, especially in food processing and marketing co-
   Evaluate the relevance of co-operatives, especially to the agri-
    food business chain; and
    evaluate the potential competitive advantages of co-operatives.

FE 5101 Food Marketing I
Topics covered include: Introduction to marketing skills and
techniques. Structure and organisation of Irish food industry - farm
production, processing, trade, distribution.    Consumer demand,
industry performance. Market segmentation, product choice, pricing,

promotion and distribution in relation to food. Environmental and
ethical considerations in marketing. Should co-operative marketing be
different from conventional marketing? Examination of Fair Trade mark
and analysis of alternative trade movements. Detailed study of
Community Regulations which influence product choice and trade
strategies of Irish firms. Analysis of single-tier and multi-tier co-
operative marketing systems -strengths, weaknesses, success and
failure factors. Particular attention will be given to the nature of the
relationships (financing, payment pooling, contracts etc.) between the
co-operatives and their members especially in food processing and
marketing co-operatives.

After completing this module the student should be able to:
        Evaluate the relationships between the different
         components of the food and agricultural supply chain.
        Interpret government policy as applied to food and
         agricultural markets.
        Interpret the role of market orientation in new product
        Evaluate the role of market-oriented techniques in
         designing new products.
        Challenge the role of ethics in the food supply chain and
         food marketing strategies.
        Develop detailed marketing strategies for both large and
         small food companies and co-operatives.

FE 5102 Food Marketing II
Topics covered include: Detailed development of food marketing
strategies by firms and by sectoral groups with particular emphasis on
international food marketing. The application of quantitative techniques
to the main issues arising at various stages of the Food Business chain
such as demand analysis, operational efficiency, pricing efficiency, raw

material supply, income distribution, market entry,                 product
development. Intermediate marketing skills and techniques.

After completing this module the student should be able to:
        Analyse the determinants of human behaviour and food
        Assess the importance of social & cultural environment to
         marketing efforts and business relationships.
        Summarise the causes and effects of consumer behaviour
         on the health and wellbeing of a society.
        Analyse the different marketing strategies that firms utilise
         in competitive food markets.
        Design marketing strategies for novel food products that
         achieve sustainable competitive advantage.
        Question the role of market orientation in new product
         success and be able to design a new product development
         strategy for a firm.

FE 5103 Rural Development
Topics covered include: Theories of rural development. Definition and
measurement of development. Trends in the rural economy - changing
rural labour market, cross sectoral links; the context of rural
development policy. Diversification of the rural economy: traditional
farm activities vs. new/'organic' farm activities vs. farm-related activities
(agri-tourism, forestry, etc.); small farmer viability, part-time farming,
pluri-active rural households; non-farm enterprises, the role of local
organisations including co-operatives in development; links between
co-operative sectors in promoting rural development. Community-
based strategies for small business development. Rural development
policy at EU, national and local level - LEADER, county enterprise
boards and area partnership companies, etc. Application of new
technology to promote equitable rural development.                    Rural
environmental issues and sustainable development. Rural public

management appraisal techniques for rural development projects.
Rural development in developing countries and lessons for Ireland.
Food security and poverty reduction including impact of HIV/AIDS.

After completing this module the student should be able to:
    Explain the different approaches to rural development.
    Discuss the links between regional and rural development.
     Identify and explain the changing policy context for rural
     development in the EU and Ireland.
    Appreciate theory and practice in regional and rural
     development in Ireland.
    Define and explain development, poverty and food security.
    Explain sustainable development and the linkages between
     poverty and the environment.

Capstone Seminar Course
This course will build on the material offered in the other sections by
focusing indepth on the concept of co-operative organisation and its
application and feasibility in food marketing and rural development in
differing socio-economic and political systems. As such it will serve to
integrate the other course units. Conventional and co-operative
assumptions and beliefs will be challenged and debated in both
theoretical and practical terms by drawing on indepth analytical studies
from around the world. The course will be taught in a seminar format
involving considerable student input and interaction between lecturer
and students. Students will be required to prepare and present one or
more papers for the seminar course.

Group Research Project
Students will be given an opportunity to test and apply in a practical
integrated manner the various theoretical concepts introduced during
the course by working in small co-operative teams to conduct a group
research project on an approved topic. This exercise will also provide

students with experience of co-operative decision-making and in
general help them to acquire team work and leadership skills.
Preparation for this project will involve tuition on research methods and
presentation skills.

Computer Skills
Students in both the Postgraduate Diploma and MSc years attend
tutorials on the practical use of computers in research analysis. They
enjoy unrestricted access to the Department of Food Business and
Development‟s computer laboratory.

FE 5104 Practical Training Placement
A training project is to be undertaken on an approved aspect of Co-
operative Organisation, Food Marketing or Rural Development and is
to be submitted by September. A placement co-ordinator will advise
and facilitate students on this programme. Students are encouraged to
be actively involved in identifying suitable placements.

After completing this module the student should be able to:
        Work in an organisational and/or development setting,
         arising from practical work placement.
        Conduct and report on organisational research.
        Reflect analytically on organisational operations in co-
         operatives, social enterprises, food businesses and
         development agencies.

Training project placements are normally in co-operatives, food firms
and development agencies in Ireland, Europe and elsewhere. So far,
students have obtained overseas summer placements in English
workers' co-operatives; Welsh and Scottish food co-operatives and
community enterprises; Danish, US, Italian, German, Russian and
Swedish agricultural co-operatives and agencies; Spanish, Polish,
Greek and Cypriot rural development projects; marketing Irish tourism

in Italy and working in French food firms. Students have also obtained
placements in the head offices of Irish Third World agencies and the
International Co-operative Alliance, Geneva.

FE 4008 Food Security and the Developing World
This module will explore the impact of changing patterns of world
food trade, structural adjustment and other intervention programmes
on rural livelihoods and survival strategies in the developing world.
Topics covered include: the economic and environmental
sustainability of livelihood portfolios and the impact on food security
of structural adjustment programmes, trade liberalisation, bilateral
and multilateral donors and changing governmental policies and

After completing this module the student should be able to:
          Assess the impact of institutional policy on developing
           countries e.g. SAP, PRSP etc.
          Summarise the contributions of financial institutions to food
          Measure various changes in governmental policies in trade
           liberalisation, privatisation and donor agencies.
          Evaluate the sustainable livelihood framework using
           livelihood portfolios.
          Debate the roles of bilateral and multi-lateral agencies in
           developing countries.
          Predict the forces and nature of sustainable livelihoods in a
           complex world.
          Describe the differences between the North - South on
           issues of sustainable development.

Or students may also take another approved 5 credit module.

The course will adopt an analytical attitude towards co-operative
organisation, exploring its strengths, weaknesses and potential in the
context of a market economy, using relevant case studies. Students
will be encouraged to develop their awareness through critical group
analysis of theoretical concepts and existing practices, using a number
of case-studies in food marketing, rural development and co-
operatives. During the year practitioners in the fields of co-operative
management, rural development and marketing will be invited in to
conduct workshops and seminars. Students will also be afforded the
unique opportunity to interact with the Department‟s distance learning
mature students on issues such as practical rural development and
social integration. In addition, students will be brought on field trips so
as to observe and study at first hand.

                      MSc in
 Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing & Rural

The MSc programme enables honours graduates of the
Postgraduate Diploma to specialise, through research, in their
chosen area of interest. Every attempt is made to match the
researchers‟ interests with an identified research need, thus enabling
the researcher to make a social contribution as well as meeting the
programme‟s academic requirements.

While students specialise for MSc research they are nevertheless able
to draw on the wider knowledge of business and development gained
from completing the Diploma. For example, co-operatives play a major
role internationally in the marketing of food, a rural commodity which is
produced in the context of EU and world policy as discussed in rural
development classes.

Previous MSc graduates have conducted research into development
studies, incorporating developing country work experience, co-
operative business and social enterprise, rural development and all
aspects of marketing.

Developing country work experience
Opportunities are available for some Diploma holders to undertake a
fully-funded work experience assignment in an appropriate project in a
developing country. Such assignments may lead to MSc dissertation
topics. Diploma holders have undertaken work/study assignments in
Burkina Faso (West Africa), Ethiopia, and the Philippines. To date,
areas studied for MSc dissertations have included sustainable
agriculture, food security, rural livelihoods, small-scale enterprise

development, credit and micro-finance, gender issues, natural
resource management, soil and water conservation, solar energy,
small-scale dairy development, land tenure issues, tourism in the
developing world, dairy marketing issues, product development,
nutrition, and HIV/AIDS impact on development.

Co-operative business and social enterprise
Issues chosen for dissertation topics have included financing
agricultural co-operatives, plc co-op conversion, credit union
regeneration, managing workers‟ co-operatives, role of co-operatives in
provision of housing, community-supported agriculture (bringing
consumers and farmers together), education and training in co-
operatives, international comparative co-operative studies, role of co-
operatives in organic food production, tourism and craft co-operatives,
and forestry co-operatives, role of donor funding in social enterprise
and cooperatives.

Rural development
Dissertation research has included women in rural development,
cultural tourism, role of development agencies such as LEADER,
Pobal, and County Enterprise Boards, marketing rural products and
services, community participation in development, measuring
development, stand alone rural housing and job creation in rural areas,
evaluating national rural development policies and programmes and
community ownership of renewable energy projects.

Research has included consumer foods, consumer buying behaviour,
organic food production and distribution, food packaging and display,
health enhancing foods, traceability of food supplies, new product
development, speciality food marketing, marketing the Irish sport horse
industry, marketing mineral water, marketing tourist accommodation,
and the marketing function within small enterprises.

Interdisciplinary food research
Research in the department is also focusing on alternative food
networks. PhD researchers are looking at different aspects of this
topic, such as effective structures for farmers‟ markets and patterns of
development in Ireland‟s alternative food sector. This is a newly
emerging area of food research in Ireland with interesting issues for
research at the MSc level.

Eligibility to proceed to MSc
Graduates who have obtained at least Second Class Honours in the
Examination for the Postgraduate Diploma will be eligible to transfer to
the MSc in Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing and Rural
Development Year Two. The Diploma Year will be deemed to have
constituted Year One of the MSc course.

Candidates must submit a written research proposal to the relevant
Department, be recommended by the Professors or Lecturers
concerned and be accepted by the Faculty and Academic Council. To
proceed to the MSc in Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing and
Rural Development candidates must:
1.        Pursue an internal postgraduate course for at least three
          terms after completing the Postgraduate Diploma in Co-
          operative Organisation, Food Marketing and Rural
2.        Submit a dissertation based upon the work done during such
          a course on an approved topic within the fields of Co-
          operative Organisation, Food Marketing and Rural
3.        May be required to pass an examination on the subject matter
          of the Dissertation if the examiners so decide.
Dissertation attachment arrangements will be made with individual
firms/agencies/organisations. Scholarships for this second year of the
programme (both public and private) are sometimes available
depending on research interests.

         “To ensure their continued employment prospects, research
         graduates need to rapidly acquire a complex array of
         knowledge-related skills, for instance, in communications,
         problem-solving, preparing research proposals and research
         budgeting and management, while at the same time keeping
         abreast of developments in their own fields.”
                       Rural Ireland 2025 Foresight Perspectives, p.22

Co-operative business and social enterprise
In recent years there has been an upsurge of interest and activity in the
application of public participation in general and of the co-operative
approach, as a vehicle for promoting employment and provision of
services. This is being reflected in a range of rural and urban settings,
particularly in the renewable energy and organic food sectors. Side by
side with this, there is an on-going structural reorganisation of existing
agricultural co-operatives and credit unions in order to increase
business efficiency.

In December 2007, Forfás published a profile of the co-operative
sector in Ireland and internationally. The report, Ireland‟s Co-
operative Sector, forms part of a review of the legislative and
organisational framework for co-operatives in Ireland being
undertaken by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and
Employment. The report identifies some of the key challenges and
opportunities for Irish co-operatives in the future which are included
in the Department‟s legislative review. The issues include:
encouraging a greater appreciation of the co-operative model as a
distinct form of organisation and ensure there is a level playing field
between co-operatives and other legal options for structuring
enterprises. Legislation reform aims to provide a framework so the
full potential of the co-operative model can be achieved, in areas
such as childcare, housing, education and healthcare. The report is
available at www.forfas.ie.

The concept of social enterprise was rarely discussed almost a
decade ago. Defourny and Nyssens (2008) suggest: “it is now
making amazing breakthroughs on both sides of the Atlantic,
especially in EU countries and the United States. It is also attracting
increasing interest in other regions such as Eastern Asia (especially
Japan and South Korea) and Latin America”. The social economy
and social enterprises are a particular focus of this course, more
specifically those located and serving rural communities. The growth
of this sector as a strategy of rural service provision and social
inclusion is increasingly acknowledged in academic and political
circles, both nationally and internationally.

The Irish government‟s commitment to the development of a vibrant
social economy sector has been evident since the 1990s, initially
with the implementation of the national Social Economy Programme
launched in 1999, and more recently with the implementation in late
2006 of the Community Services programme. This programme,
administered by POBAL (www.pobal.ie), supports voluntary and
community groups to provide essential services and businesses to
their communities with the objectives of alleviating disadvantage in
those communities through the provision of essential services,
creating local employment opportunities and strengthening local
ownership through participation in decision-making.

The co-operative is the ultimate form of organisation structure to
facilitate this local ownership and participation in decision-making
The Co-operative Movement brings together over 800 million people
around the world. The United Nations estimated in 1994 that the
livelihood of nearly 3 billion people, or half of the world's population,
was made secure by co-operative enterprise. These enterprises
continue to play significant economic and social roles in their
communities. In 2004, the top 300 co-operative and mutual
businesses share a turnover of approximately $1,000 billion (USD).

This is put into context by considering that Canada, the world‟s 9
largest economy had a GDP of $979 billion (USD). Large segments
of the population are members of co-operatives:

        In Ireland, one in every two people is a member of a credit

        In Britain, there are about 1,500 worker co-operatives
         owned and controlled by the people who produce the goods
         and services

        In the United States, 4 in 10 individuals is a member of a
         co-operative (25%).

        In Argentina, there are over 17,941 co-operative societies
         with 9.1 million members.

        In Canada, 1 in 3 individuals is a member of a co-operative.

        In Kenya, 1 in 5 is a member of a co-operative or 5.9 million
         and 20 million Kenyans directly or indirectly derive their
         livelihood from the Co-operative Movement.

        In India, over 239 million people are members of a co-

        In Malaysia, 5.4 million people are members of co-

        In Singapore, 32% of the population (1.4 million people) are
         members of a co-operative.

                                               Source: www.ica.coop
Did you know that?
        Ocean Spray cranberry sauce and juices come from a
         cranberry-growers' co-operative in the USA?
        When American farmers found the giant electricity
         companies would not supply them with power, they set up
         their own electricity co-ops to do it for them?

        Europe's second biggest bank, Crédit Agricole, is a co-
         operative owned by French farmers?
        Sean Connery earned a living driving a Co-op horse-drawn
         milk float in Edinburgh, Scotland before he turned to acting?
                            Source: http://www.cooponline.coop

In 1995, the International Co-operative Alliance, with headquarters in
Geneva, restated the co-operative principles (first developed in
Rochdale in 1844) and emphasised their relevance for the 21 century.
In 2000, the EU set up a Permanent Conference of Co-operatives,
Mutual Societies, Associations and Foundations (PEC-CMAF),
with a secretariat in Brussels. Among the stated aims of the PEC-
CMAF are the promotion of the values and roles of CMAFs in
economic, social and cultural areas, the facilitation of CMAFs in
accessing financial funds and instruments, the furthering of CMAF‟s
participation in community policies and programmes and enabling
CMAFs to play an increased role in the development of European

In April 2002, the Review Commission published its comprehensive
review of all aspects of the Irish League of Credit Unions, entitled A
Time for Change, so that it will better serve the interests of credit
unions and their members in a highly competitive financial services
arena. One of their recommendations is the formal recognition of the
potential contribution that can be made by organisations, such as the
UCC Centre for Co-operative Studies, to the credit union movement.
The European Commission adopted the Statute for a European Co-
operative Society in 2003 which aims to provide co-operatives with
adequate legal instruments to facilitate cross border and transnational
activities. Previous to this, cross border co-operation between
cooperatives was hindered by legal and administrative difficulties. This
signifies the importance of cooperatives to the European economy.

In 2002, the United Nations agency, the International Labour
Organisation adopted „Recommendation 193‟ on the promotion of co-
operatives, which recognises the importance of co-operatives in job
creation, mobilising resources and economic development. It also
recognises that globalisation has created new problems reasserting
the importance of stronger forms of human solidarity, such as through
the co-operative organisational form. The recommendation aims to
promote co-operatives and increase their use because there is
significant potential and benefit from their development.

In 2001, the co-operative movement was given its own top level
internet domain name - .coop - thus differentiating the co-operative
from other kinds of business. Co-operative values should be
particularly advantageous in the field of internet businesses. Malcolm
Corbett argues that the internet and electronic commerce could lead to
a whole new era of growth for co-operatives. He cites a recent best-
seller, Net Gain: expanding markets through virtual communities, which
argues that power will shift dramatically from the producers of goods
and services to the customers who buy them.

The following websites provide detailed international information on co-
operatives,    demonstrating    their    significance     worldwide    -
www.ncba.coop, www.ica.coop, www.woccu.coop

Co-operatives have been leading businesses in adopting social audit
practices in management and marketing. For example, visit the Co-
operative Group‟s website (www.co-op.co.uk) and in particular, the UK
Co-operative Bank (www.co-operativebank.co.uk).

Visiting lecturers in the co-operative organisation section of the course
are drawn from organisations such as those mentioned above.

Training and education for co-operative development will be needed for
those involved in advisory services, as well as those more closely
involved as, for example, managers or member development officers
employed by co-operatives. Advisory services to co-operative start-ups
are needed in State Agencies and existing co-operative support
agencies. There will also be scope for private consultancy services in
this field.

The role of managers in a co-operative is markedly different from their
role in a private company and requires specialised training. Research
at the Centre for Co-operative Studies and elsewhere has shown that
conventional management styles and an inability to work co-operatively
have hampered the success of co-operatives as businesses and
distinct organisations.

Many member development officers such as those currently employed
by agricultural co-operatives have little formal training for their role.
This contributes to a commonly observed situation in the agricultural
co-operatives where the majority of members have no active role in, or
identity with, their co-operative.

Developing countries
The global development challenge in the coming decades is
enormous. The problems include a failure to have fundamental
human needs met:

   More than four billion people worldwide live on less than $2 a
   day. Every day, more than 20,000 people die from hunger or
   hunger-related causes…Today, 30,000 children will die from
   preventable diseases and more than 130 million will not go to
   school. Tonight, over 100 million people will go to bed hungry.
                       Government White Paper on Irish Aid, 2006.

The international community has committed itself to achieving key
development goals by 2015, including a massive reduction in those

living in extreme poverty. In September 2005, the Irish Government
renewed its commitment to reaching the UN target of contributing
0.7% of GNP to overseas development assistance by 2012, with the
overarching objective poverty reduction. In 2006, the Department of
Foreign Affairs published the Government White Paper on Irish Aid,
outlining the values and principles underpinning Ireland‟s assistance
programme to the developing world and how the aid programme will
be expanded until 2012. This includes supporting fair-trade coffee
producing co-operatives in Central America and providing funds for
food aid in countries such as Ethiopia, Darfur and Ghana. The Aid
programme also supports students from developing countries to
undertake post-graduate studies in Irish universities by providing
fellowships. The Hunger Task Force is one new initiative, aiming to
focus on alleviating hunger in Africa in the face of new and changing

  Over 860 million people are hungry – a denial of their
  fundamental human right to enough food…Rising food prices
  have created new, urgent challenges that are increasing
  hunger and humanitarian needs worldwide. These challenges
  hit the most vulnerable hardest. As a result of increased food
  prices, a new face of hunger has emerged, with an additional
  130 million people joining the ranks of the urgently hungry who
  were not there just one year ago. The most vulnerable people
  are running out of coping strategies.
      Hunger Task Force Report to the Government of Ireland, 2008.

Poverty reduction and sustainable development will not be brought
about through development assistance alone, because in an
increasingly interdependent and globalised world, the impacts of
economic actions in the developed world can have considerable
consequences for developing countries, for example in the area of
world food trade. The Postgraduate Diploma programme aims to
enhance critical understanding of some of the key linkages, as well
as introducing analytical tools and approaches relevant to practical

This Postgraduate Diploma programme is unique amongst courses
focusing on development in that it combines a thorough grounding in
development work with an understanding of business concepts and
organisational management, with a strong focus on co-operative
organisations. As such it is particularly relevant and attractive to
candidates from developing countries, who in many cases, have
valuable field experience which can be enhanced by advanced study
of analytical concepts and approaches undertaken through this
programme. It is also apparent that the interlinked areas of rural
development, marketing and co-operative organisation are central to
policies aimed at enhancing agriculture and food security in many
developing countries. Practitioners involved in agricultural development
will therefore find this programme of unique relevance.

Rural development and marketing
The publication of the United Nations World Commission on
Environment and Development‟s „Bruntland report‟ in 1987 put
sustainability firmly on the development agenda. Sustainable
development, as defined in the report, should meet the needs of
present generations without compromising future generation‟s ability to
meet their needs. World leaders agreed to implement a programme of
action for sustainable development, Agenda 21 at the Earth Summit in
Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The concept has made its way into the Irish
policy setting:

       Sustainable rural development must be put at the top of the
       agenda of the European Union.
                     The Cork Declaration, European Commission.

All rural policy should now support sustainable development. At a
national level, the government and social partners indirectly endorse
the objective of building sustainable communities through the
enhancement of the quality of life in rural areas and a diversification
of the rural economy, as stated in the latest ten-year framework

Social Partnership Agreement 2006-2015, Towards 2016. Emerging
from this agreement, the National Strategy for Sustainable
Development was published in 1997 and puts Agenda 21 into action in
the Irish context. The strategy was also reviewed last year.

The Postgraduate Diploma/MSc seeks to equip students with a
theoretical grounding and the practical experience to tackle current
challenges facing rural areas.

More broadly, Cuddy (2005) suggests there are two distinct sectors of
rural society, in which different issues must be tackled:

  Tier I is urbanised and integrated into the global and consumer
  society; Tier II is traditional and continues to face conventional
  challenges of low value-added creation opportunities with out-
  migration and declining but increasingly costly social services as
  a result of low-scale economies. (30)

The statutory commitment to supporting practitioners in this area is
evident in recent initiatives such as the Agri Vision 2015 Action Plan
that was launched in March 2006. This sets out:

  “a new vision for the future of the sector in the light of new
  changes impacting on it, such as the change to the decoupled
  payment regime, a more liberalised trade policy, changes in
  lifestyle, the clear emergence of technology and Research and
  Development (R&D) as significant market drivers and major
  changes in the structure of farming and retailing. It highlights
  three drivers for success: competitiveness; innovation; and
  consumer-focussed marketing.”
                              Annual Review & Outlook, 2005/2006

Over the next seven years, the National Development Plan (NDP)
2007-2013 proposes to invest to invest €461 million in promoting the
diversification of the rural economy under the LEADER/Rural Economy
Sub-Programme. An additional €8 billion is to be spent under the
Agriculture and Food Programme specifically in the promotion of
“continuing modernisation and competitiveness of the farming sector
and the food processing sector as well as enhance quality of the rural
environment”. The current National Rural Development Strategy
(2007-2013) reflects the Lisbon Reform Programme. At the EU level
the focus on rural development has moved with the establishment of
the 2006 EU Rural Development Policy framework with a four axis
strategic approach. Gradually, EU policy programs are shifting from
a sectoral to a broad based rural development approach. There is
then a need for professionally trained rural development

The National Rural Development Strategy seeks to “enhance the
competitiveness of the agri-food sector” and is said to “complement
Ireland‟s overall strategy for science, technology and innovation,”
The strategy runs until 2013 and which provides a major commitment
for research and development in agriculture and food, focusing
particularly on research in sustainable agricultural production; food
quality, safety and nutrition; product innovation and the rural
economy”. Sustainable rural development and the promotion of rural
social inclusion are all features of this rural development strategy.

LEADER funding allocations under the 2007-2013 program were
announced in November 2008. At €425.4 million the allocations are
almost treble the 2000-2006 amount and the largest ever package for
rural development. The funding will be delivered to communities
through local action groups, such as rural development organisations,
and will be channelled into measures such as support for business
creation, agricultural diversification, rural tourism, conservation of the
rural heritage and service provision.

A combination of marketing skills, organising skills and an
understanding of multi-sectoral rural development processes are key
skills necessary to implement such national and EU priorities.

Several studies and reports have pinpointed weaknesses in food
marketing as a major constraint on the development of a competitive
food industry in Ireland. The Agrifood 2010 Report underlines the
key role of effective marketing. “Investment in marketing will be
critical to the food industry‟s capacity to compete and win market
share in a rapidly changing marketplace.” (27)

The importance of marketing applies across a wide range of sectors,
especially the small and medium enterprise sectors in which worker
and community co-operatives normally operate. To quote from
Heane‟s paper on „Innovation and Rural Development‟, presented at
the National Rural Development Conference 2008:

  “there is a need to ensure a steady stream of off-farm
  employment opportunities – in innovative, competitive and
  dynamic rural enterprises – to absorb surplus labour from the
  farming sector and provide employment opportunities for part-
  time farmers (thereby increasing the viability of their farming
  lifestyles), their farming and non-farming family members and
  the broader rural community” (63).

Graduates of the Postgraduate Diploma programme in Co-operative
Organisation, Food Marketing and Rural Development are already
contributing substantially to the development of small firms and the
creation of new jobs (see Table 1).

In its report, the Committee on Rural Development Training called for
training and employment of animators to act as catalysts for
development in local areas and to stimulate rural enterprise:

     As rural development acquires an enhanced status through
     policy orientations and special funding, new openings are
     emerging for careers in project management. These may be
     with established organisations like co-operatives which have
     undertaken to diversify activities, or with new structures such
     as IRD (integrated rural development) companies or LEADER
     groups. Strategy for Rural Development Training Report, p.15

The Operational Programme for Human Resource Development
(1994-1999) specifically refers to the desirability for Local Development
Animators to have an "academic qualification or equivalent in business
or commerce, community education and development, facilitation and
group work, or rural development" (p.54). This is precisely what this
course has been doing for the last eighteen years (See Table 1) and
this continues to be an important strategy. As part of the Common
Agricultural Policy Rural Development Programme for Ireland (2007-
13), a funding measure „Running Local Action Groups, Acquiring Skills
and Animating the Territory‟ has been introduced aiming to provide
sufficient resources and expertise to efficiently implement integrated
and wider community rural development programming in rural areas.

Placement Statistics
As can be seen from the placement statistics in Table 1, many UCC
graduates in Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing and Rural
Development have already secured employment as project managers,
development officers and researchers with LEADER groups, area
partnership companies and county enterprise boards. Approximately
two-thirds of graduates in Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing
and Rural Development are women and these women graduates have
been very successful in obtaining positions in rural development
organisations. This is in line with the Irish Government policy for
LEADER II groups when it stated that "groups will be requested to
devote particular attention to encouraging the participation of women in
LEADER and in the rural development process generally" (Operational
Programme for LEADER II Initiative, p.19). The National Development

Plan 2000-6 included an educational disadvantage measure. This
aimed to assist education and training projects that address gaps in
provision for the educationally disadvantaged and facilitate their
progression to mainstream learning, especially focusing on women.
The current plan (2007-13) follows on from this with the Education
Equality Initiative.


                 Postgraduate Diploma Survey 2006
          Destination of Diploma/MSc Graduates 1991-2006
                        Random Sample of 80 graduates

                              Sector                                  No.   %
Development & Community Work (Includes overseas development)          17    21
Educational Services (Includes Teaching and Lecturing)                16    20

Sales, Marketing & Customer Relations (Including Food Businesses &
Co-operatives)                                                        13    16

Project Management & Research (Including Co-ops, Rural
Development & Food Businesses)                                         9    11
Business Director/Owner/Self Employed                                  7    9
Management & Administration                                            7    9
Further Study                                                          4    5
Miscellaneous                                                          3    4
Finance & Accounts                                                     2    3
Seeking Employment                                                     2    3
Source: Survey by Department of Food Business and Development, 2006

In the future, there is likely to be increasing demand for personnel in
administration and policy-making with a thorough knowledge of rural
development coupled with an understanding of the special needs and
nature of co-operatives, in recognition of the continued importance of
agricultural and community co-operatives in rural development. In

addition to this, social enterprises are emerging in response to social
exclusion and are engaged in the provision of a range of community
based services such as care for the elderly, family resources
centres, rural transport and community childcare.

In view of these developments, there is an increasing need for
graduate personnel having co-operative organising skills combining
both business success and a knowledge of co-operative processes.
The application of this core skill of co-operative organisation is required
in the following distinct areas: integrated rural development, marketing,
training and education for co-operative development.

While the areas of rural development, marketing, and co-operative
training are in some respects distinct, in other respects they are quite
complementary. For example, those wishing to specialise in co-
operative organisation and training should benefit from a thorough
grounding in marketing and the business skills involved; conversely,
those wishing to specialise in co-operative marketing should benefit
from the communications and presentation skills learned in the module
on co-operative organisation. Similarly an understanding of the
evolving nature of rural societies and their development is essential for
personnel wishing to apply marketing or co-operative organisation
techniques as part of the rural development process.

Apart from specific co-operative applications, it is considered that the
course will provide a good critical education for those entering into a
wide range of administrative, business and personnel appointments in
both the private and public sectors. The course will also offer a
thorough and stimulating grounding in organisational studies to those
wishing to pursue academic careers in this field. A PhD programme in
Co-operative Organisation, Food Marketing and Rural Development is
also available for those who complete the Masters programme.

Students who demonstrate a high standard during the MSc programme
may be considered for transfer to the PhD programme.

Since its inception in 1990, the course has attracted students from
Canada, China, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Poland,
Czech Republic, Finland, Sweden, Malaysia, Zimbabwe, Tanzania,
Nigeria, Guinea, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom and the United States,
in addition to Irish students.

The Course will be open to graduates from a wide range of disciplines,
including: Sociology, Geography, Food Business, Food Science, Food
Nutrition, Economics, Psychology, Languages, Law, Commerce and
Agricultural Science. Applications are also welcome from mature
graduates currently employed in co-operatives or other development
organisations who can arrange a one year leave of absence to attend
the Postgraduate Diploma Course. The course normally attracts an
interdisciplinary group of students with a variety of orientations towards
theoretical and practical issues. Students are thus encouraged to
examine issues from different perspectives in an interactive manner as
a learning feature of the course.

All Applicants (EU & non EU)
All applications for the programme must be made on-line at
www.pac.ie. The course code is CKP01. The closing date is 1 July
2009 for EU applications and 1 May 2009 for non EU applicants.
Applications will continue to be accepted after the closing dates for any
places still remaining, or for inclusion on a waiting list. Applications
must be accompanied by a non-refundable application fee of €45, paid
by Bank Draft, Postal Order or Credit Card - Laser and Visa

Candidates Statement
All applications must be accompanied by a separate typed
Candidate’s Statement, outlining in less than 300 words, the benefits
the candidate expects to gain from studying for this Postgraduate
Diploma/MSc. Any other information considered relevant, including a
Curriculum Vitae, may also be submitted. Applicants will be prompted
to post this information to the Postgraduate Application Centre.

Selection will be based on academic achievement, candidate's
statement and possible interview. Referees‟ reports may also be
requested and therefore, in the interests of efficiency, candidates
should nominate referees on the application form but are not initially
being requested to have reports submitted.

The Postgraduate Diploma is run over a 12 month period rather than
the 9 month academic year. Field projects and field visits are
subsidised. The fee for the Postgraduate Diploma course in 2008/2009
was €4,730 (surcharge applicable to non EU students). The fee for
2009-10 has not yet been set (a change in line with inflation can be
expected). The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs, via the Irish Council
for International Students, may offer a limited number of scholarships to
students from developing countries who are offered places on the
course. In recent years Tanzanian, Zimbabwean, Nigerian and
Ethiopian students were funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
No commitment can be given at the time of writing. Candidates from
developing countries interested in scholarships should make direct
enquiries to the Irish Council for International Students (ICOS),
www.icosirl.ie, telephone +353-1-6605233, email office@icosirl.ie

The Department of Food Business & Development and the Centre for
Co-operative Studies will be endeavouring to organise research

scholarships to offset at least some expenses incurred during the
MSc, year 2 of the programme.

  Dr. Olive McCarthy or Professor Michael
  Centre for Co-operative Studies and
  Department of Food Business and Development
  University College Cork
  Tel +353-21- 4903354 / 4902113 / 4902570
  Fax +353-21-4903358
  E-mail: foodbusiness@ucc.ie

     Ms. Katherine Lehane
     Postgraduate Admissions
     University College Cork
     Cork, Ireland
     Tel (021) 4902876/4902645
     Fax (021) 4273072
     E-mail: postgrad@ucc.ie

Enquiries from non-EU applicants should be
addressed to:

  Tracy Murphy
  International Student Office,
  University College Cork
  Cork, Ireland
  Tel +353 21 4904729
  Fax +353 21 4904735
  Email: tracy.murphy@ucc.ie

For general information on the Department of Food Business &
Development, and the Centre for Co-operative Studies, please visit
our web page: http://www.ucc.ie/ccs

Perusal of this website will enable the reader to become familiar with
the Department and Centre‟s comprehensive research programmes
which continue to attract considerable funding from both the public
and private sectors. The extensive publications lists of both
Department and Centre, covering all aspects of co-operative
organisation, food marketing and rural development, are to be found
on this website.


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