News - February 16, 2016

Contest: insurance for European farmers

Koen Guiking

With ideas on how to better insure European farmers, students can win ‘admission tickets’ for a seminar with researchers, entrepreneurs and policy-makers.

Photo: David Wright

The winners of the contest may join the meeting of the European Association of Agricultural Economists in October on Wageningen Campus. ‘It has been a long time since the European Association of Agricultural Economists met in Wageningen. Now that we have achieved this, we would also like to invite students to join the conversation’, says Miranda Meuwissen, Associate Professor of Business Economics and one of the organizers of the seminar. Therefore, she decided to start a contest. ‘Students often have fresh ideas’, Meuwissen knows, who also supervisors students with their Academic Consultancy Training (ACT).

The main question is: how can business risks be better covered in the agricultural sector?  Meuwissen: ‘In Europe only severe damage is covered, for example with an animal disease outbreak. In the US farmers can also insure themselves for lower revenue or lower prices. As a result, farmers are much surer of their income.’

Introducing agricultural insurances is only achievable if the government is closely involved, Meuwissen knows. ‘Also in the US the government is heavily involved.’ The European Commission wants a similar system in Europe. During the seminar Prospects for agricultural insurance in Europe researchers, policy makers and people from businesses brainstorm on this topic. And students with a good idea are thus welcome.

In an evening lecture on the 14th of March Meuwissen will explain that for the farmers as for the insurance companies and for the investors it is very important to have a clear view of the business risks. ‘The capital market prefers an easily understandable index to for example be able to estimate the influence of weather conditions on the yield and price per tonnage. ‘Students who wish to attend this lecture in Leeuwenborch can sign up by mailing Meuwissen.

Miranda Meuwissen would like to receive ideas for European agricultural insurance before 1 May.