ASEAN countries gather to discuss the role of agriculture insurance to increase their resilience to climate change

ASEAN countries gather to discuss the role of agriculture insurance to increase their resilience to climate change

By: Jonas Dallinger

Representatives from ASEAN Member States met on August 16—18, 2016 in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam to share their experiences on implementing agricultural insurance schemes in their countries and to discuss ways for working together more closely. Participants came from ASEAN Ministries of Agriculture, Ministries of Finance and government authorities working on climate change. They were joined by private sector representatives and development partners involved in agricultural insurance and climate resilience. The event was organized through the ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN-CRN), a platform for knowledge exchange and policy making to increase resilience to climate change in ASEAN.

Dr. Tran Kim Long, Director General of the International Cooperation Department, Vietnam MARD, delivers the Opening Message

Dr. Tran Kim Long, Director General of the International Cooperation Department, Vietnam MARD, delivers the Opening Message

“The impacts of climate change lead to increasing uncertainty for farmers, which translates into greater risk in agricultural investments. Using insurance to manage that risk and to help marginalized farmers dealing with losses from unexpected events is a promising approach. It has the potential to help ASEAN countries in managing the impacts from climate change.” Said Dr. Tran Kim Long, Director General of the International Cooperation Department in Vietnam’s Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development.

Experiences in implementing agricultural insurance schemes differ widely between the governments of ASEAN countries and countries with longer involvement in the topic have been stepping in to provide support. “We have previously been approached by officials from Vietnam and provided a week long training on agricultural insurance. It is great to see that Vietnam has implemented its own scheme and has been able to learn from that experience”, explains Mr. Norman Cajucom, Senior Vice President in the Philippine Crop Insurance Corporation.

The participants shop and explore other member states’ agricultural risks and options to respond to those risks during a country group exercise

The participants shop and explore other member states’ agricultural risks and options to respond to those risks during a country group exercise

Such capacity building and knowledge exchange between ASEAN countries is of high interest for the participants as shown in their suggestions for further regional cooperation on agriculture insurance as worked out during the event. Mr. Viengsavanh Phimpachanvongsod, Deputy Director in the National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute of Laos, expressed the need for further support: “In this event I learned a lot about agricultural insurance and how it can help farmers in Laos to deal with the impacts of climate change. This is a new topic for Laos and we would very much welcome further advise and capacity building on establishing a national insurance scheme for agriculture.”

Another common concern of ASEAN countries are slow onset climate change events like rising sea levels or salination, and to better understand how insurance can play a role in managing related risks. The Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) has indicated their interest to assist ASEAN countries in further examining this important question.

Participants also proposed to develop a regional guide to facilitate the introduction or the improvement of national agricultural insurance schemes in ASEAN. The “10 Phases Guide in Developing a National Crop Insurance Program”, developed by Mrs. Laura Johnson Blair with support from the Geodata for Crop Insurance in Indonesia Project, provides a basis for such a regional guide. The guidelines will be further developed with the support of experts from Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and SwissRe, a leading global reinsurer, and put forward to ASEAN’s Ministers of Agriculture for endorsement.

A field visit to Tien Giang province in the Vietnamese Mekong Delta gave participants the opportunity to try working with the “10 Phases Guide”. Through interaction with Vietnamese rice farmers and in group work, the ASEAN country groups developed action plans on how to establish an agricultural insurance scheme in their country or improve existing schemes. This was an important take away to follow-up on by country delegates upon returning to their respective countries and offices, certainly inspired to put the plans into action and continue promoting agricultural insurance to increase the resilience of farmers in ASEAN to climate change.

As part of the 10 Phases Guide, the participants interview farmers in Tien Giang Province during a group exercise to better understand the demand and need for agricultural insurance products for farmers

As part of the 10 Phases Guide, the participants interview farmers in Tien Giang Province during a group exercise to better understand the demand and need for agricultural insurance products for farmers

The participants visit the Southern Regional Plant Protection Center in Tien Giang Province, Vietnam

The participants visit the Southern Regional Plant Protection Center in Tien Giang Province, Vietnam

The ASEAN-CRN is established to ensure that ASEAN Member States are in a better position to adapt their agricultural sector to climate change and optimize its mitigation potential. The network promotes climate resiliency through exchange of information, expertise, and experiences on Climate Smart Agriculture practices amongst ASEAN member states. The ASEAN-CRN is supported by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through the ASEAN-German Programme on Response to Climate Change in Agriculture and Forestry (GAP-CC). GAP-CC is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in close cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC). To learn more, visit our Facebook and our conference page

For detail of documentation, please see our Flickr

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