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Swiss Re Corporate Solutions, together with Bayer, Netafim and the World Bank Group member IFC, has launched a new global initiative to help smallholders grow their farms into sustainable, commercially viable businesses and create long term impact in their lives. Known as Better Life Farming, the alliance will offer risk transfer along with high quality farming inputs, precision irrigation and advisory services.

Smallholder farmers cultivate less than two hectares of land. But collectively, 450 million of them produce 80 percent of the food supply in developing countries. Their role will become even more important, as developing countries, particularly in Africa and Asia, will be home to 2 billion more people by 2050. Yet smallholders are particularly vulnerable to food insecurity and face existential threats from adverse climate impacts, pests and crop diseases, fluctuating commodity prices and market access barriers.

Better Life Farming aims to help smallholders overcome these challenges by connecting global expertise with local insights and offering the necessary resources to boost productivity. A key premise of Better Life Farming is the recognition that only commercially-driven, market-based approaches to smallholders' financial inclusion will be sustainable over time. This is why its service portfolio comprises everything from advanced agricultural practices, seeds, precision irrigation and crop protection to finance, insurance, training and access to markets.

As an insurer and risk taker, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions' specific role is to provide smallholders with a safety net when things go wrong. We do this by making affordable risk transfer solutions available. Such solutions compensate smallholders for any losses suffered from adverse weather or a natural disaster, allowing them to keep their farming business running after an unforeseen event and repay any outstanding loans. This, in turn, gives banks more confidence to lend capital to smallholders. In short, insurance secures incomes, investments and livelihoods and ultimately strengthens the entire agricultural value chain by making smallholder farming more resilient to risk.

"Through the Better Life Farming initiative, we can protect even more smallholder farmers from existential threats like droughts, hail, floods and adverse weather," says Agostino Galvagni, CEO Swiss Re Corporate Solutions. "By offering financial compensation for crop shortfalls and income loses, insurance can help farmers rebound quickly after a natural disaster – and continue growing their farming businesses and providing for their families."

With our participation in Better Life Farming, Swiss Re Corporate Solutions is committed to sharing our long-standing risk expertise and working together as an alliance to provide risk transfer and insurance solutions for the benefit of our smallholder clients – and ultimately to improve the lives and livelihoods of many more rural communities around the world.

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