Analysis of Food Retailing and Consumer Demand
I wish to express my interest in undertaking my graduate studies in your esteemed institution. In particular I am interested in the Master of Science in Agricultural and Resource Economics programme at the department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology in the faculty of Agricultural, Life and Environmental Sciences. My choice of your institution is informed by the reputation of your institution in agricultural research in addition to being located in Canada; a multicultural, multiracial and multilingual country, where I feel I will easily fit in as a foreign student from China. In addition I am interested in working with Sven Anders, an assistant professor at the institution, due to his research experience and publications (as outline in the staff profile link) in the field of my interest.
For my undergraduate studies I majored in philosophy at Xiamen University, rated among the top 20 universities in China. My average score for the last two years is 87.6% and thus I have been awarded a third scholarship by the university due to my excellent performance. While at the university I have had the privilege to participate in an exchange programme earlier this year (between January and July). The exchange programme was an opportunity to appreciate a multicultural educational setup. I also had a chance to attend the Model United Nation forum last year where students from the major universities in China interacted and exchanged ideas on both local and global issues. Late China I represented China in the same forum where I made a speech on food safety, food security and the marketing challenge particularly with regard to Agricultural products. This event was particularly important because it was the turning point in terms of changing my career path. It is while researching for my speech that I realized that the issues of food safety and agricultural economics are of great concern and indeed of greater concern than the philosophical issues that I had set out to explore at the start of my undergraduate education.
Though my major is in philosophy, which may be considered unrelated to Agricultural economics, I have done an introductory course in economics in which I scored 80%. In addition I am a very fast learner with a tremendous ability to absorb new knowledge thus I believe I am up to the challenge of venturing into the new field albeit lacking in experience and background education. Several other factors have considerably contributed to my changing my career path, the choice of my research subject as well as the choice of your institution for my further studies.
Having been born and brought up in the suburbs of Beijing introduced me to agriculture not only as a source of food but a source of foreign exchange due to the many sightseeing parks and fields that attract thousands of tourists every year. As the population of China has grown some of the agricultural fields have been invaded by the populace yet the increasing population demands more food. Therefore as the population of China has grown, hence the demand for food, exponentially the fields for food production have decreased hence the amount of food produced. As a result of this discrepancy between food production and food demand China has had to rely on import hence my interest in evaluating food retailing vis-à-vis consumer demands.
The discrepancy between the food demand and production has also presented another challenge related to food safety. The high food demand has prompted retailers and suppliers of food stores to engage in tricks in a bid to maximize the profit at the peril of the consumers. Recently the media has reported several food scandals such as the lacing of baby formula milk with melamine (which resulted in the death of at least 6 children); the overuse of growth hormones that resulted in explosion of melons; injection of dyes into buns so that they appear of higher quality and pumping steroid hormones into pigs to make them produce lean meat. These food scandals have revealed the risk the consumers are being exposed to the extent that some professionals have taken to producing food for themselves hence diminishing the market for the agricultural products including those produced by poor farmers without using chemicals. The discrepancy between the consumer demand and the food production in China has therefore drawn my interest in studying agriculture economics not just for the sake of achieving personal career objectives but also because I feel through research in this area would be a major contribution to my country.
BBC. China arrests 2,000 people in food safety crackdown. 4 August 2011. 26 October 2011
Patience, Martin. Wealthy Chinese begin farming after food-safety scares. 4 August 2011. 25 October 2011