Doing Business in Agriculture measures how regulation affects the livelihood of domestic farmers. Farming is a challenging business—especially when undertaken on a smaller scale. Most farms are comparatively small, with about 84% of all farms having less than two hectares of land for growing crops and livestock. There are more than 475 million small farms with 3 billion people working on them, including the majority of the world’s rural poor. Farmers manage numerous risks on a daily basis. Regulations often fail to support farmers and may even create obstacles for them.
Farmers need access to high-quality inputs—including seed, fertilizer, tractors, animal feed, and veterinary medicinal products (VMPs). Regulation has an impact on access to these inputs. Long waits and/or exorbitant costs to procure farming inputs can deter farmers from expanding business operations. If a farmer uses a low-quality seed or fertilizer, the consequences may not become fully apparent until harvest time. Since not all countries have the capacity to produce inputs such as fertilizer and VMPs, these inputs often need to be imported. Yet trade and regulatory barriers often limit agribusiness investments and productivity.
Doing Business in Agriculture builds on earlier editions of Enabling the Business of Agriculture by providing a more focused analysis centered on farmers. Between 2013 and 2017, a scoring methodology was developed for measuring regulations across eight areas relevant to agricultural production. In response to feedback received on the previous Enabling the Business of Agriculture reports published in 2015, 2016 and 2017, the indicators were narrowed to cover areas that have an impact on a farmer’s operations. Indicator development was guided by a review of the academic literature and consultations with civil society organizations, partner institutions, practitioners, public and private sector representatives, researchers, and technical experts. The data that underlie the indicators presented in Doing Business in Agriculture are globally comparable and can be used to benchmark countries’ performances.