Course overview

The Sustaining Quality in Raw Material Supply Chains course will introduce you to the sustainability issues that impact on the quality of fresh and processed arable and horticultural crops. You will explore the quality and sustainability issues for a number of major crop species, as well as the impact of different production systems (including organic, GM, conventional, fairtrade, and locally traded). In addition, you will investigate the effects of breeding to sustain quality and the management of water, fertiliser, and crop protection chemicals.

Upon completing the course you will have a wide-ranging and in-depth knowledge of the science and practical techniques for identifying and sustaining quality across the raw material supply chain. As a result, this course would have direct applicability to professionals working in, or tangentially to, these raw materials supply chain. 

Contact Name for Enquiries: Cathy Crips and Craig Farrell

Email address:

Telephone Number: 0118 378 8722 or 0118 378 7746

    Learning outcomes

    On completion of the course participants should be able to:

    • Evaluate how sustainability plans imposed by their own business or those around them will impact on raw material quality.
    • Be able to recommend changes and improvements to the sustainability plan for their business.
    • Understand how and why raw material quality will vary throughout the year and to be able to make informed judgements of how they will adapt to this variation

    Topics covered include:

    • Sustaining Crop Quality
    • Breeding and Production Methods
    • Managing Inputs
    • The Power of Breeding
    • Production Methods
    • Challenges of implementing sustainable practices
    • Mycotoxin Expertise
    Areas of focus

    This course is designed to provide an understanding of the role of diet in tackling key sustainability issues affecting the quality of fresh and processed arable and horticultural crops. Areas of particular focus include:

    • Defining and reviewing quality and sustainability for different crops
    • Different production systems (organic, GM, conventional, fairtrade, locally traded)
    • Sustaining biodiversity without compromising crop quality or yield
    • Managing inputs of water, fertiliser, crop protection chemicals
    • Breeding for sustained quality
    • Interpretation of crop quality assessment data and the implications for processing and risk management

    Problem-based learning supported by lectures (delivered via distance learning and face-to-face) together with presentations by invited speakers from different areas of the food industry and experts in the area of fresh and processed arable and horticultural crops.


      Key facts

      Course Dates
      3 days of campus workshops preceded by online learning
      Entry Requirements
      Graduate level or relevant experience
      Fee info
      Discounts available for multiple bookings
      CQFW Level
      Course Provider
      University Of Reading
      Provider Reference Number
      Course Arrangements
      Full joining instructions will be confirmed by the course provider.
      Course Location
      University of Reading
      AFTP Cohort
      Course Logistics
      3 days of intensive campus workshops consisting of seminars, presentations, and practical sessions are preceded by a period of online study delivered through the University of Reading's Virtual Learning Environment. The course is awarded 10 academic credits where participants successfully complete the formative assessment requirements of the course within four weeks of completing the campus workshops. The course may also be taken as Continued Professional Development by completing the online learning and campus workshops or at a reduced fee, just the campus workshops.

      Professor Carol Wagstaff

      My AFTP training course has given me greater confidence day-to-day and more insight into the impact of new techniques and technologies.
      Andy Russell - Fresh Produce Technologist, Bakkavor

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