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Industry News | 3 min read
November 21, 2023
November 21, 2023

Agricultural industry volatility: impact and strategies to prevent It.

In the dynamic world of agriculture, volatility has consistently impacted every link of the supply chain — from producers to end consumers. The 2023 ProducePay Annual Industry Survey underscores this, with 83% of participants citing product price volatility as a significant business challenge.

This volatility manifests through abrupt and substantial shifts in agricultural product prices, creating uncertainty around crop values and directly impacting the profitability of agribusinesses.

The origins of agricultural industry volatility lie in a complex interplay of structural factors, including extreme weather events, global demographics, evolving international markets, and supply chain disruptions due to logistical and labor issues. Geopolitical tensions also contribute significantly by disturbing supply chains and introducing an additional layer of uncertainty.

Key Factors Amplifying Volatility

Volatility results from a combination of adverse weather conditions, shifts in global supply and demand, inadequate government policies, rising production costs, and unforeseen events like conflicts and health emergencies, all macro-level factors that interact to generate fluctuations that impact the industry.

The most important factors include:

  • Extreme weather events: Incidents like droughts, floods, frost, and storms directly impact agricultural production, causing crop damage, reducing food supply, and increasing prices. Conversely, favorable weather conditions can lead to abundant harvests and lower prices.
  • Global supply and demand: Food demand is influenced by population growth, changes in consumption patterns, and urbanization. When demand outstrips supply, prices tend to rise, and vice versa. Imbalances in supply and demand can result from production issues in a large country or shifts in consumption preferences.
  • Government policies and regulations: Agricultural subsidies, tariffs, import quotas, and trade restrictions significantly impact food prices. For example, imposing tariffs on agricultural imports can reduce supply, leading to increased domestic prices.
  • Production costs fluctuations: Fluctuations in agricultural production costs, including inputs like fertilizers, fuel, and labor, affect price volatility. Significant cost increases may prompt farmers to reduce production or raise prices to maintain profitability.
  • Geopolitical conflicts and unexpected events: Geopolitical tensions, such as armed conflicts or trade sanctions, can disrupt agricultural supply chains and create market uncertainty. Unforeseen events like crop diseases or animal epidemics can suddenly reduce supply, increasing agrarian prices.

Strategies for Coping with Agricultural Industry Volatility

Effectively addressing volatility in the agricultural industry and maximizing business opportunities requires implementing risk management strategies. These may include crop diversification and innovative agricultural technologies to enhance efficiency and reduce costs.

However, executing these strategies necessitates the availability of appropriate tools and resources. This is where ProducePay plays a pivotal role by providing access to capital, business opportunities, market insights, and increased visibility in the supply chain. 

Through collaboration with ProducePay, producers and buyers can gain greater control over their businesses, accessing a network of resources to make informed decisions and manage risks more effectively.

Sources: IMF, HSBC, ProducePay, Agronegocios