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Agriculture is an important but high-risk sector due to dependency on weather and climate. Farmers in Asia must cope with severe droughts, floods, typhoons, frosts/freezes, and other ventualities that are increasing with climate change. Previously, agricultural insurance was mostly considered as a measure to cope with damage or loss when crops, plantations, livestock, and fisheries were damaged or lost due to natural disasters. However, the COVID-19 pandemic added to farmers’ risk exposure, endangered food security, and brought the importance of agricultural insurance to the forefront.
Agricultural insurance plays a significant role in a holistic risk management system that includes maintaining farm health and safety. Farm-based measures cannot protect against severe threats like typhoons, floods, tsunamis, and droughts. Such disasters require market-based, institutionalized insurance protection mechanisms. Overall, not only does agricultural insurance protect farmers from financial collapse but also ensures national food security through farm risk management. It plays an important role in reducing the vulnerability of national food systems to acute shocks, subsequently contributing to resilience and sustainability.
In this way, agricultural insurance helps meet the UN SDGs by enhancing the resilience of farmers and communities in adverse circumstances and in adapting to new challenges like climate change or pandemics. For dissemination and promotion purposes, ISO 31000:2018 Risk-Management Guidelines could serve as a useful reference for developing management strategies to identify and mitigate risk in the agriculture sector. Recognizing the importance of local context and conditions, it is also important to codify and share the best practices of risk management initiated by farmers themselves.
Governments can support farmers and entire agricultural value chains by proactively promoting efficient agricultural insurance systems. This conference will be a platform for policymakers and practitioners to discuss ways to build agricultural insurance systems in member countries considering opportunities and challenges in current agriculture, climatic and nonclimatic perspectives, and farm risk management practices.
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