Global food security will become an increasing concern for the insurance industry Aon Benfield's 13th Biennial Hazards Conference has heard.
Among key drivers of food security issues are population increases, income growth and dietary change, coupled with changes in trade policies, price volatility and natural disasters on supply.
Recent examples of extreme weather conditions in major wheat-producing regions have, for example, triggered significant increases in wheat prices globally, contributing to social unrest and political instability in certain regions.
Rade Musulin, chief operating officer of Aon Benfield Analytics Asia Pacific, told the conference in Surfers Paradise, Australia: 'Global food security is likely to become a major social, economic and political issue in the coming decades.
'It shares many links to the normal risks we think of in the realm of natural disasters. However, more people are at risk globally from this issue than from the cyclones, earthquakes and tsunamis that we are more familiar with.'
Agriculture insurance already provides protection against production losses for specified perils, such as weather, pests and disease, and is flexible in terms of the types of commodities insured.
Musulin said such insurance was important in creating stability in farm incomes in times of adverse weather and helped to improve efficiency in agricultural production by providing incentives to loan money and invest in mechanisation or irrigation.