Value Chains and Rural Development

In this major, you may focus on value chains or on rural development or combine the two. You will be concerned with the different steps in the life span of agricultural and forest products from primary production to consumption. Using market economy approaches, you will investigate value chains, which are important drivers of rural development.
You will also be concerned with other aspects of rural development, such as infrastructure, social and political organisations, knowledge exchange, promotion of innovation, and recreational and environmental uses of rural areas. At all times, you will consider the interdependencies among nature, economy and society.

Kaese in der Presse


You will study the optimisation of value chains and other approaches for the development of rural regions. Core topics are:

  • product quality and safety, quality management
  • logistics and supply chain management
  • strategic decision-making, market positioning
  • analysis of political and institutional environment
  • economic and trade models, international trade relations
  • investment analysis and planning
  • rural infrastructure and organisational development
  • rural development in practice
  • success factors for development and innovation
  • the multifunctionality of agriculture and forestry
  • research design and statistical analysis

Structure and modules


Master’s thesis

The Master’s thesis is generally embedded within a HAFL project or is conducted together with a HAFL research partner. You may, however, also do it together with another research or industry partner, for example your employer.


Typical topics for Master’s theses in this major range from mountain cheese marketing through potato quality or fair trade coffee, to the marketing of wood products from developing countries.


Open thesis topics (pdf)

Theses in progress (pdf)


Abstracts of completed theses

Who benefits from certification? Analysis of third-party audited certification schemes in the cocoa sector in Ghana (Angela Deppeler) (pdf)

Structural changes in Swiss private forests – case study in the canton of Bern (Alexandra Dittgen) (pdf)

Ansätze zur Optimierung organisierter Weiterbildungs- und Beratungsveranstaltungen mit betriebswirtschaftlichen Schwerpunkten in der Landwirtschaft (Florian Sandrini) (pdf)


Career prospects

After completing this major, you will have sound knowledge and skills necessary to successfully manage value chains. You will be able to analyse markets and develop proposals for improving processes. You will also be able to develop and implement concepts to improve the living and working conditions of rural populations.


You will be optimally prepared for leading positions in SMEs and large companies in agricultural and forest value chains. You will also be able to take over project leader positions in rural development. You will be qualified to give scientific support in decision-making processes in regional development projects, politics, development organisations and inter-professional associations.


Prof. Dr Urs Scheidegger


Phone +41 (0)31 910 21 11

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