Food for a growing world

Partnering for food security is a crucial step on the path to making sure everyone has enough to eat.

Swiss Re is one of the world’s leading agricultural re/insurers, offering innovative risk transfer solutions tailored to the needs of farmers — farmers like Humberto Vonsowski.

Humberto lives in the northern part of Paraná, Brazil, where June rains bring much needed water to his crops. When the rains stay away, the results can be disastrous. Two years ago an unprecedented drought in the region cost Humberto 60% of his soy bean harvest. “I could not believe it; that had never occurred,” he recalls.

Harvest in Brazil. (photo)

Harvest in Brazil.

Thankfully Humberto had bought a farm revenue insurance policy at the same time that he had taken out a loan for the upcoming season. Both the loan and the insurance were offered by Credicoamo, the lending operation of Coamo, Latin America’s largest agricultural cooperative.

Humberto says that thanks to the R$ 224 000 he received from the insurance, there was no need to extend his loan or to sell equipment to pay his debts. “I did not make a profit on that harvest, but I did not have a loss, either,” he said.

More than 3 000 members joined Humberto in buying insurance for the 2012–2013 harvest, according to Dilmar Antonio Peri of Credicoamo. This brought the insured value to R$ 420 million.

According to Jose Cullen of Swiss Re Corporate Solutions’ Agricultural division, which helped to develop the policy for Credicoamo, this type of insurance had never been sold in Brazil despite its success in other countries.

Beyond protecting individual farmers, such insurance programmes provide an overall support to society by enhancing the sustainability of farming, and thus food security.