Agricultural Risk Management and Climate Change Proofing

Risk and uncertainty are ubiquitous and varied within agriculture and agricultural supply chains. This stems from a range of factors including the vagaries of weather, the unpredictable nature of biological processes, the pronounced seasonality of production and market cycles, the geographical separation of production and end uses, and the unique and uncertain political economy of food and agriculture sectors, both domestic and international. Agricultural risks are often categorized as independent (for example, localized hail losses or an individual farmer’s illness) and highly correlated (for example, market price risk or widespread drought). Agricultural risk reduction and management is particularly chal­lenging, as many risks are highly correlated, resulting in whole communities being affected at the same time and climate change further increases the risk and pressure levels in the already vulnerable communities. Addressing agricultural risks as well as risks imposed on agriculture by climate change requires advancement in science and science to work hand in hand with practitioners and policy-makers, to devise options that meet current needs and capacities, try out best bets, and learn from experience. Universities are well placed to advance these needs as they are repositories of immense innovation and novelty.