Risk management for agri-SME finance: Addressing new challenges in the era of COVID-19

Session 1 of a learning series in collaboration with FARM-D, ILO Social Finance and PARM
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Risk management for agri-SME finance: Addressing new challenges in the era of COVID-19

When and where

Sep 24, 2020, 2:30 PM – 4:00 PM GMT+2


 COVID-19 crisis has brought into sharp relief a number of weaknesses in agri-food systems and created new challenges whose repercussions may be felt in the sector for a long time. Among other things, it has shown the limits of our capacity to anticipate shocks and tested the risk management capacity of actors in supply chains and in government, finance, and other sectors. In this context, many agri-SMEs are suffering from disruptions in supply chains and cash flow problems, and many lack the capital and capacity to undertake investments that could strengthen their resilience. Many financial service providers (FSPs) have also been affected by the crisis, particularly in terms of increased risk of non-performing loans and assets.

This is an opportune time to take a close look at what tools exist in agricultural risk management that can be deployed both to address the current crisis and to build resilience for the future. What are the relevant tools and what can be learned from recent examples of their application? What are the main areas where innovative products, delivery mechanisms, or complementary measures are most needed in the short or longer term?

The first session of our Risk management for agri-SME finance live talk series will provide an introduction into the key areas of focus for the Live Talk series. Starting with an overview of the tools available for agricultural risk management, the session will then turn to a panel of experts for a deeper discussion on the new risks that have been introduced by the crisis, the new challenges they present in relation to the existing “toolbox”, and the response that has been observed thus far from agri-SMEs and other actors in the field.


Michael von During, Technical Specialist, SAFIN

Michael von During is the Technical Specialist for the SAFIN Secretariat housed at IFAD in Rome, Italy. A native of Geneva, Switzerland, Michael has developed a career at the intersection of access to finance and agricultural development. His work in the impact investment space covering both fund structuring and pipeline development, combined with his experience at Cargill, have afforded him a deep understanding of the risks faced by companies and investors in the agriculture sector, as well as the tools available to address them.

Massimo Giovanola, Lead Technical Specialist, Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM)

Massimo Giovanola is the Lead Technical Specialist for the Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM) at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). He is responsible for managing the PARM process in a number of Sub-Saharan African countries. He works to define the appropriate strategies with the host governments and then guides the organization and implementation of technical studies on subjects such as country profiling, risk management and feasibility. He also develops and maintains partnerships with national and international stakeholders and partner organizations. Giovanola joined IFAD in 2014 from his previous position at Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Between 2000 and 2014, he worked in both emergency and rehabilitation-development programs for Burundi, Cameroon, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, Chad, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan as Country Director and Program Manager with INGO (7 years) and FAO (7 years). His main areas of expertise are country strategy development and program management, agriculture sector, food-security and nutrition. Giovanola has a master’s in Animal Science from the University of Milan (Veterinary), a diploma in Business Administration from Varese, along with certificates and qualifications from FAO and IFAD in procurement, strategy development, food security and coaching techniques.

Arindom Datta, Executive Director and Head of Rural & Development Banking/Advisory, Rabo India Securities Pvt. Ltd

Arindom Datta has been working for Rabobank for the last 14 years and has over 28 years of experience in Rural Finance, Cooperative, Microfinance and Agribusiness banking. He is responsible for the sustainability banking initiatives on knowledge, risk management and business development. Arindom also oversees the Rabo Foundation projects in blended finance, technology/innovation and access to finance in the agriculture sector. He is further passionate about following the Agtech developments and its significance for smallholder farmers. Arindom previously worked with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, IDBI Bank and CARE.

Azeb Fissha, Agriculture Specialist, World Bank

Azeb Fissha Mekonnen is an agriculture specialist with the World Bank. Her current work focuses on East and Southern Africa managing agriculture sector dialogue interventions and partnerships on regional agriculture transformation agenda. She has worked for a variety of World Bank operations in agriculture finance and risk management in several countries. Among her contributions, Azeb has led a national agriculture risk management diagnostic study in Zimbabwe advising the government on key reforms needed to building the resilience of the agricultural sector to climatic and macroeconomic shocks. She has also worked with financial institutions in Asia and Africa to improve their agriculture lending capacity.

Katell Segalen de Arriaga, Social Responsibility Project Manager, FEDECOCAGUA

Katell Segalen de Arriaga works for Guatemala’s Federation of Cooperatives of Coffee Producers (FEDECOCAGUA), which has been part of the SAFIN Network since 2017. A French national, she holds an MBA in Agri-business. At FEDECOCAGUA, Katell is in charge of managing social projects that support Guatemalan coffee cooperatives’ small producers through the Ulrich Gurtner Kappeler Foundation. These projects promote social development through a range of activities in areas like education and economic development at the household level.

Claude Torre, Responsable d’Equipe Projet, Agence Française de Développement (AFD)

Claude Torre is an agricultural economist who has been a civil servant for France’s Ministries of Agriculture (1993), Cooperation (1993-1999) and Foreign Affairs (1999-2007) before joining the Agence Française de Développement (AFD), where he has worked since 2007. As a Project Manager at AFD, Claude Torre has engaged in trade issues and food security before joining the Agency’s Department of Operations in 2011. He now monitors and assesses various rural development and agricultural financing projects in Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean.

Emily Coleman, Agricultural insurance technical lead, INSURED/PARM, IFAD

Ms Emily Coleman has over 14-years’ experience in international development at UN institutions. Currently she is the agricultural insurance technical lead for the Sida-financed INSURED programme, which is overseen by the multi-donor Platform for Agricultural Risk Management (PARM), hosted at the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). Ms. Coleman's experience in agricultural insurance spans project management, implementation, research and development, capacity building, and technical assistance across different regions. Her field experience has been focused on Africa and Asia, including Cambodia, China, Rwanda, Senegal, and Zambia. She is an active member of the main global insurance networks, the MicroInsurance Network, and the Global Action Network on Agricultural Insurance. Ms. Coleman has co-authored international publications on agricultural insurance which include a review of global experiences, guidance for governments and donors, and findings on remote sensing for index insurance development. She has been regularly called upon to present at different international fora on the topics and to contribute to global policy dialogue such as to the G8 and G20. Ms. Coleman has designed, coordinated, and provided technical support to a number of donor- and IFAD-funded initiatives on insurance and financial inclusion.

Pranav Prashad, Senior Technical Officer, ILO's Impact Insurance Facility

Pranav Prashad is the Senior Technical Officer at the International Labour Organisation (ILO)’s Impact Insurance Facility. He provides technical expertise on agriculture insurance, distribution and mobile services as well as use of technology in insurance.

 Pranav Prashad has more than three decades of experience in insurance and business management. He has initiated and taken to scale agriculture and health insurance projects amongst low-income households in India, utilizing a diverse set of distribution channels and enabling the projects with technology. He holds an MBA from the Faculty of Management Studies and a bachelor's honours degree in Economics, both from Delhi University, India.

Resource materials

Webinar recording

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