Managing Risk in Agriculture

A Holistic Approach

image of Managing Risk in Agriculture
The sources of risk in agriculture are numerous and diverse, ranging from events related to climate and weather conditions to animal diseases; from changes in agriculture commodities prices to changes in fertilizer and other input prices; and from financial uncertainties to policy and regulatory risks. Agricultural risks are not independent, but rather are linked both to each other and as part of a system that includes all available instruments, strategies and policies designed to manage risk. A holistic approach is thus necessary.

This book examines the current magnitude and characteristics of risk-related policies in agriculture and what is known about the quantitative size of agricultural risks. It looks at the on-farm, off-farm, and market instruments available to manage risk, and it explains how the holistic approach helps clarify the role of governments.

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Agricultural production is subject to many uncertainties. Any farm production decision plan is typically associated with multiple potential outcomes with different probabilities. Weather, market developments and other events cannot be controlled by the farmer but have a direct incidence on the returns from farming. In this context, the farmer has to manage risk in farming as part of the general management of the farming business. Hazards and unforeseen events occur in all economic and business activities and are not specific to agriculture. However, farming risk and risk management instruments in the sector may have a certain number of specificities.

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