Why is agriculture a top topic?

Our Latin America Agro Team has a strong track record for gathering the most senior agro underwriters in the region and creating platform discussions. On May 6-8 we held our biannual "Agro Latin America workshop," a think tank for providing regional agro insurance companies with a set of ideas to support the development of agro insurance in their respective countries.

Swiss Re believes that partnering for food security is a crucial step on the path to making sure everyone has enough to eat and to this respect, agro insurance plays a key part.

Our growing world population – an estimated 9 billion people by 2050 – will be accompanied by a growing demand for food. Meeting this increasing demand is particularly challenging as supply is constrained  by aggravating factors such as climate change, depleting agricultural soils, and land, water and energy restrictions. Farmers and the agricultural industry hold one of the keys to this demand-supply challenge, as they can increase productivity, especially in emerging markets.

Emerging markets are of particular importance because they contribute roughly 70% of worldwide food production. But agricultural productivity is considerably lower than in developed markets and insurance penetration is roughly 25% of that in countries of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

In order to address this and other topics, more than 40 delegates from ten countries, representing insurance companies, brokers and government entities, met in Quimbaya Quindío, in a strategic area of Colombia, in the center of the triangle formed by the three main cities of Bogotá, Medellín and Cali.

The interactive program for the three days included presentations, team projects and moderated discussions around the topics of index and revenue insurance.

Gerardo González from ProAgro Mexico, one of our guest speakers, offered an overview of crop revenue insurance. Edgar Misael Uribe, another guest speaker who serves as a consultant of the World Bank on the "Support to the Development of the Agricultural Insurance Market in Central America" presented his view on index insurance including the challenges he sees in his projects. Edgar said, "One of the most important constraints for the development and adoption of risk administration schemes in developing countries is the lack of information. However, multidisciplinary efforts can constitute an excellent support to address these shortcomings."

The Latin America Agro Team workshop hopefully can contribute positively to these efforts.

Beside the interesting presentations, discussions and exercises, participants also had the chance to visit a coffee farm, where we were shown in a very innovative and entertaining way how the coffee came to Colombia. Finally we could also do our own harvest and get a flavor of the hard work, what coffee production really is. This experience is a remarkable memory!

The idea is to have a new edition of this event towards 2017. After Brazil and Colombia, which might be our next country to host such a workshop? Location ideas are welcome!

Published: May 26, 2015

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