WEF 2012: placing the focus on food security and agriculture

Strengthening food security was high on the agenda at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2012

Swiss Re is highly committed to enhancing food security and stabilising agricultural production. Both topics were high on the agenda at the World Economic Forum 2012 Annual Meeting in Davos, where a broad network of leaders from business, governments, international agencies and NGOs demonstrated that they, too, share this high level of engagement and commitment.

Ensuring food security

Stefan Lippe, Swiss Re CEO until 31 January 2012, shared his thoughts on food security during the plenary session “Ensuring Food Security”. He made a point that the way to increase food security was to increase farmer security.

“A farmer is an entrepreneur under an open roof. His business is exposed to many risks – like extreme weather.”

Lippe highlighted the ripple effect that adverse weather conditions and failed crops could cause. “If there’s a severe drought, small-holder farmers have no crops and no income. Many would give up and move to cities. In many cases, this means that farmers from the rural areas end up in urban slums.”

Other panelists included Microsoft founder Bill Gates, Unilever CEO Paul Polman, Food and Agriculture Association Director-General Jose Graziano da Silva, Nigerian Finance Minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala and French Agriculture Minister Bruno Le Maire. The UN World Food Programme’s Josette Sheeran moderated the session.

Planting the seed for green growth

Swiss Re also led discussion groups at two sessions at the WEF focusing on the importance of agriculture and its relationship to food security. In the session “New Vision for Agriculture: A Leadership Agenda” a group of over 90 global leaders, including representatives from Tanzania, Mexico, Indonesia, Vietnam and Nigeria participated. Mr Lippe led a breakout group dscussion on innovative risk transfer instruments to manage risks in the agricultural value chain. The session coincided with the launch of the WEF publication, “Putting the New Vision of Agriculture into Action: A Transformation is Happening.” Swiss Re is a contributor to the report.

Michel M. Liès, Swiss Re CEO as of 1 February 2012, led a breakout discussion group at the session “Agriculture as a Driver of Green Growth: New Insights,” focusing on how to establish and support environmentally sustainable models of agriculture. The session attracted over 70 participants, including leaders from Tanzania, Vietnam, Mexico and Indonesia.

Listen to Christina Ulardic, Head of Market Development Africa, explain how Swiss Re helps strengthen food security.

More on Swiss Re at WEF

Published 6 February 2012

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