Enabling the Business of Agriculture using data collection and analysis. World Bank Group 2016 Report

This  report presents the main results based on data collected on several relevant indicators that can help governments and policy makers to compare their country’s laws and regulations with those of others, and to make informed decisions about the enabling environment for agribusiness activity in their countries.

“Forward-thinking companies place tremendous value on the data that drives their business” (Enabling Business Transformation with a Modern Approach to Data Management).

The challenge of feeding a world population of 9,6 billion people by 2050 can be met only through vibrant, productive, profitable and sustainable food and agriculture sectors, particularly in developing countries, where the bulk of food is grown and consumed.

To tackle this challenge, the World Bank’s Agriculture Global Practice and Global Indicators Group have recently released (under CC BY 3.0 IGO licensea report Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA) 2016: Comparing regulatory good practices.

This report promotes clearly defined good practices  in relevant regulatory dimensions developed for 6 of the 10 topics: seed, fertilizer, machinery, finance, markets and transport; the remaining topics (land, water, livestock and ICT) will be further developed and scored next year.

Good practices, or rather smart regulations, presented in EBA should ensure safety and quality control as well as efficient regulatory processes supporting thriving agribusinesses. “Smart regulations can improve products and services and lower costs for agribusinesses. Specific country examples in the agricultural sector show the impact of good regulatory reform on improving the supply and lowering the prices in the seed and mechanization markets in Bangladesh and Turkey, in the fertilizer sector in Bangladesh, Kenya and Ethiopia, and in the maize industry in Eastern and Southern Africa, among others” (EBA Report, p. 18).

The EBA report benefited from open data

seen as the generous input (in 2015) from a network of more than 2,500 local experts, including lawyers, business associations, private sector representatives, farmers’ organizations, academics, government officials and other professionals actively engaged in the policy, legal and regulatory requirements in the 40 countries in 6 regions, as follows:


Côte d'Ivoire






Kyrgyz Republic



Bosnia and Herzegovina



the Philippines







Burkina Faso



Russian Federation















Sri Lanka



The ultimate goal of EBA is to provide governments, private sector, civil society, academia and international institutions with clearly defined good practices based on clean data and analysis that allow policy makers to compare their country’s laws and regulations with those of others.

Eighteen indicators (designed using specific rules that are applied equally across countries to ensure that the data are comparable), covering six topics:

  1. Seed - Strengthening seed systems;
  2. Fertilizer - Improving supply and quality;
  3. Machinery - Expanding mechanization while ensuring quality and safety;
  4. Finance - Expanding access to financial services;
  5. Markets - Enabling access
  6. Transport - Making transportation more reliable and affordable 

have been developed to address various aspects relating to production inputs and market enablers that facilitate farmers, firms and producers to sell their goods and services.

The data for all six topics are scoring around three cross-cutting categories:

  • Operations indicators measuring the requirements for local companies to enter the market and conduct agribusiness activities;
  • Quality control indicators measuring the regulations governing plant protection, the safety standards for users of agricultural machinery and the quality control associated with seeds and fertilizer products;
  • Trade indicators measuring trade restrictions on exporting agricultural products, importing fertilizer and tractors and transporting goods across borders.

(Assigning scores to legal and regulatory dimensions helps governments define good practices. Source:  EBA 2016, p.11).

Data collection, verification and analysis

Involving various experts increases the accuracy of the data by balancing the possible biases of different stakeholders. Reaching out to both the private and public sectors helps compare the perspectives of all parties. The names of those wishing to be acknowledged individually for their contribution of data are made available here

Two overarching themes: Environmental Sustainability and Gender - have also been explored so that the indicators being developed encourage inclusive and sustainable practices.

Four additional topicsLand, Water, Livestock, ICT - are under development and will be included in next year’s report based on data collection that will further scaled up to 60 countries. Different criteria have been used to select the countries, including ensuring adequate representation of all regions and different levels of agricultural development.


Participation and investment in agriculture by private sector enterprises can generate such benefits as higher productivity and access to capital and markets. But these benefits depend on a wide range of factors including regulatory measures to improve both the business climate and the effective competition; for low-income and middle-income countries it is essential to avoid discriminating against different types of investors.

EBA data show that in general countries perform well in terms of nondiscrimination, with an average of 14 of 18 good practices embedded in the countries’ relevant laws and regulations. Greece, Denmark, Georgia, Poland, Spain and Zambia have the highest number of nondiscriminatory regulations in place while Ethiopia, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Myanmar have the fewest.

“As more data are collected over time, measuring agribusiness regulations and reforms may shed light on the relationships among regulations, economic growth and agricultural transformation” (EBA Report 2016, p. 21).

The report team welcomes feedback on the data, methodology and overall project design to make future EBA reports even more useful.

Feedback can be provided on the project website.


Enabling the Business of Agriculture (website)

Enabling The Business Of Agriculture 2016 (pdf report)

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