Agriculture and global food systems play a central role in meeting the World Bank Group’s twin goals of eliminating extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. Ending poverty will not be possible without raising the incomes of the rural poor and ending global hunger. What’s more, one-third of the world’s workforce is engaged in the agricultural sector and two-thirds of the global poor work in agriculture.
In order for agriculture to become a driver of growth and a tool to alleviate poverty, the investments and performance of key players across agricultural value chains—from farmers to large and small agricultural businesses—are vital. Since 2013, Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) has collected data on laws and regulations that impact the enabling business environment for agriculture. By providing key data on regulatory frameworks that are globally comparable and actionable, EBA strengthens the information base that can be used for policy dialogue and reform.
Policies, regulations, institutions, infrastructure, support services and market conditions together can facilitate agricultural entrepreneurship, increase investment, and enhance market competitiveness and growth. EBA seeks to improve knowledge and understanding of this business environment, which can help governments to establish appropriate regulatory systems that ensure the safety and quality of agricultural goods and services without being overly costly or burdensome on market actors.
EBA 2017 is the third report in the series, presenting data that measure legal barriers for businesses operating in agriculture in 62 countries and across 12 topic areas. It provides quantitative indicators on regulation for seed, fertilizer, machinery, finance, markets, transport, information and communication technology (ICT), and water. Two overarching themes—gender and environmental sustainability—continue to be included in the report analysis to ensure that the messages developed by EBA encourage inclusive and sustainable practices. This year scoring was piloted for the land topic for 38 countries in which data were collected. The data for the remaining 24 countries will be collected next year and the team will refine the methodology further. EBA also collected data on the livestock topic, focusing on veterinary medicinal products (VMPs).
Two types of indicators have been developed: legal indicators and efficiency indicators. Legal indicators are derived from a reading of the laws and regulations. In a few instances, the data also include some elements which are not in the text of the law but relate to implementing a good regulatory practice—for example, online availability of fertilizer catalogue. Efficiency indicators reflect the time and cost imposed by the regulatory system—for example, the number of procedures and the time and cost to complete a process such as certifying seed for sale in the domestic market. Data of this type are built on legal requirements and cost measures are backed by official fee schedules when available.
EBA is a joint project of the World Bank’s Agriculture Global Practice and Global Indicators Group. The Agriculture Global Practice defines the World Bank’s strategic direction in agriculture, develops and deploys expertise globally, delivers integrated solutions while capturing and leveraging knowledge effectively for maximum development impact needed to end poverty and boost shared prosperity. The Global Indicators Group, which is part of the World Bank’s Development Economics network, produces global datasets that document and explore the relationship between business environment reforms and key development outcomes. The group’s products include the Doing Business report; Women, Business and the Law; Enterprise Surveys; and Subnational Doing Business, amongst others.