A Proposal for an Asian Rice Insurance Mechanism

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The food price shocks that erupted in 2008 revealed the vulnerability of many developing countries, notably those in Asia, from volatility in the international foodgrain markets. For instance, by March of 2008, the price of traded rice had increased by well over 70 percent compared to year-before levels. Addressed primarily to policymakers in the Asian region, this paper outlines a proposal for a regional risk sharing arrangement—an Asian rice insurance mechanism (ARIM)—which could form part of the region's long-term response to the food security issue. The ARIM could serve as a regional public good by helping countries in the region more efficiently manage the risks related to volatile rice production and trade, arising from emerging structural factors such as the rising and evolving food demand of large Asian countries like China, India and Indonesia, as well as the effects of climate change (and climatic shocks) on the agricultural sector more broadly.