Risk and uncertainty are inherent in agriculture and commodity supply chains. Recent food safety ‘crises,’ the outbreak and spread of avian influenza, major swings in food and other commodity prices, and growing concerns about climate change are among the many shocks and/or emerging trends that are raising the profile of agricultural risk and interest in more effective and sustainable risk management strategies and approaches.
There has been a surge of interest in new market-based and traditional risk management instruments and approaches in recent years (as evidenced by the proliferation of pilot projects and increased donor investment in this arena). While there are many new players engaged in the agricultural risk management domain, modalities to enable the sharing of knowledge and experience are absent. Risk management practitioners are currently operating in silos and lack a platform to share information, catalyze collaboration and discuss best practices. There is little interaction among stakeholders engaged in managing different facets of agriculture risks (e.g., price risks, weather risks, environmental risks, infrastructure risks, etc). Dialogue between development organizations and commercial actors is also limited.