Partnering for food security

805 million people – or one in 11 – are chronically hungry and malnourished on the planet today. By 2050, the world’s population is expected to grow to an estimated 9 billion people, which will further aggravate the situation. Meeting this demand for food will be particularly challenging, as supply is constrained by factors such as climate change, depleted agricultural soils and the distribution of land, water and energy.

Most farming in the world is still carried out by small-scale subsistence farmers, who feed their families and sell a small surplus on local markets. This needs to change as more and more people are living in cities. Last year, the urban population exceeded the rural one for the first time ever, which means that cities are becoming increasingly dependent on the remaining farmers for their food.

The surplus subsistence farmers currently produce will not be enough to feed the growing population in our cities. Smallholder farmers must make the transition to commercial agriculture to feed the world. For this, they need access to credit so they can buy tools, seeds and fertilizer. But lending will remain restricted if banks fear that farmers will be unable to pay back their loans in the event of a lost harvest due to drought, flood or other disasters. Here, insurance can play the same role in the developing world as it already does in developed countries: protecting farmers against the perils of nature to keep them in business, even if disaster strikes.

Our notable achievements in 2014:

Ahead of time, we met our commitment to provide insurance coverage to 1.4 million African smallholder farmers by 2017, and even exceeded our initial goal, with 2 million farmers benefiting at the end of 2014 (see section “Our commitments” for further details);

We invited ninety clients, NGOs, banks and other stakeholders to the fourth Agricultural Reinsurance Workshop in Nairobi to discuss the measures needed to reshape agriculture in Africa to feed its growing population, identifying a lack of data on the importance of agriculture as a key challenge;

As a follow-up to the Nairobi conference, we began providing such data in the new publication “Sub-Saharan Africa – breadbasket for a growing population” and by publishing “Agro insurance hotspots” on Mozambique and Kenya, which include overviews on the economics, production and perils of agriculture.

For more information see Food security