Enabling the business of agriculture
This report (PDF) from the World Bank Group argues that better agriculture regulations in low and middle income countries could go a long way towards feeding the world’s growing population and improve farmers’ livelihoods. The report states that lower transaction costs, improved water permit systems for irrigation, or better conditions for micro-finance institutions could support agri-business. The report’s globally comparable data helps countries to identify areas for improvement that are critical to building a thriving agribusiness sector and measure themselves against others. For example, obtaining export documents for agricultural produce takes on average 6 days in Sub-Saharan African countries, compared with only 2.3 days in the Middle East and North Africa region. Such delays not only increase business costs, but also increase food waste and increase the likelihood that shipments are rejected upon arrival due to spoilage or low quality produce. Governments have a key role to play in supporting policies and practices that help smallholders and to remove burdensome processes that add to food costs and discourage agribusinesses from entering the market. The report presents data on legal barriers for farmers, entrepreneurs and businesses operating in agriculture in 62 countries and across the topics of land, seed, fertilizer, machinery, water, livestock, finance, markets, transport, and ICT. The 2017 edition also expands its survey of laws and regulations that impact environmental sustainability and gender.