World Bank Group’s Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture: Project Scope & Data Coverage, Early Results and Next Steps

The World Bank, SEEP

Sep 25, 2014 (Thu), 8:30am-11:00am (US EDT) (Breakfast included)

-By invitation only-

The session is designed for experienced practitioners in agricultural development. For an invitation to this event please fill out the expression of interest form.

Representatives from the World Bank Group’s Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture (BBA) project will join us in a two hour facilitated session to present this new initiative, its goals and way forward, and to receive feedback from session attendees. 

The BBA project seeks to assist policy makers in enhancing the regulatory environment for inclusive participation in agricultural value chains. By identifying and monitoring policies and regulations that limit market access for producers, including constraints around private sector activity, the project will provide policy-makers with data and analyses that enable them to compare their country’s policies, regulations and market conditions with those of other countries measured.  The end goal is to boost the quality of agricultural policy decision making.

The presentation will provide a synthesis of the first year pilot results for the 10 countries measured and the topic areas covered: registering agricultural land, accessing financial services, introducing new varieties and high-quality seed, improving fertilizer supply, and transporting and selling agricultural goods.

The goal of this presentation is to enable an avenue for the project team and session participants to engage on the topic and discuss the BBA project, early results, data scope and way forward, in an effort to ensure the research is aligned with the many variables that impact agricultural policies worldwide. Following on last year’s lunchtime roundtables with the World Bank, SEEP members and other invitees will have the opportunity to draw from their significant collective experience to offer feedback to and dialogue with the BBA presenters.

Key research questions to explore include:

  1. Alignment of multiple objectives: How can data collection be designed so as to address both the constraints that are particularly limiting for smaller farmers, while at the same time measure factors of general relevance and prompt policyholders to take action?
  2. Local and global relevance: How can key topic areas be covered in a way that is relevant across diverse context and for different stages of agricultural development?
  3. Local participation in BBA data collection: What are the necessary steps for building capacity and engagement at the country level so that data collection can become localized and sustainable?
  4. Collaboration among stakeholders: How can the data collected for the BBA project be utilized to incentivize collaboration among different stakeholders, in particular CSOs and policymakers?
  5. Indicators and measurements: How can key factors that contribute to an effective enabling environment be accurately identified and reliably measured? 

For further details on the BBA project, please visit

This event will take place as part of the SEEP Annual Conference week. Registration for the Annual Conference is not required. 


Grahame Dixie

Grahame Dixie is an Advisor with the World Bank’s Agriculture Global Practice. He is one of the lead team members for the Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture project. Grahame has over 35 years of experience as a practitioner of agricultural development. He joined the World Bank South Asia department in mid-career in 2006. For four years he was a front line Task Team Leader designing and supervising projects primarily focusing on the commercialization of agriculture. Previously, Grahame was a consultant primarily working at the interface between international aid and the private sector. He has worked in over 75 countries and over 150+ projects. His current portfolio includes  advising on the design and implementation of agricultural commercialization projects,  operationalizing  the Principles of Responsible Agricultural Investment, and technical lead on behalf of the World Bank Group in the AgResults program, an initiative to enhance smallholder welfare and improve food security for poor and vulnerable people.

This event will take place as part of the SEEP Annual Conference week. Registration for the Annual Conference is not required. 

Federica Saliola

Federica Saliola is Program Manager of the Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture project. Prior to joining the project, Federica was the Program Coordinator for the World Bank Group's Enterprise Surveys project. The Enterprise Surveys provide the world's most comprehensive company-level data for emerging markets and developing economies. Federica’s regional work experiences include work in the Middle East and North Africa region. Her previous research focused on global value chains, firm productivity, job creation, and private sector development. Federica holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Rome III.

Farbod Youssefi

Farbod Youssefi is the Program Coordinator of the Benchmarking the Business of Agriculture project. Before joining the World Bank, he worked in a number of countries with several organizations, including the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Food Logistics Organization, The Postharvest Education Foundation and the University of California, mainly on post-harvest processes and small farmer market linkages. Farbod has also worked in Chile's private sector, advising transnational companies in the horticultural export industry and serving as senior manager of a Latin America-based company. Farbod holds an M.S. in International Agricultural Development and a Ph.D. in Integrated Crop Physiology from the University of California at Davis.

Facilitator: Linda Jones

Dr. Linda Jones is Senior Advisor to the SEEP Network and Director of SME/Investment at MEDA with expertise in inclusive private sector development and market systems approaches (value chain, M4P, market development). Linda was Senior Technical Advisor at Aga Khan Foundation in Geneva, Technical Director at MEDA in Canada and Director of the Centre for Women’s Leadership at the Coady International Institute. She has contributed to the overall advancement of the pro-poor economic development field through positions such as the Chair of the Board of Directors of the SEEP Network and Editor of the Enterprise Development and Microfinance Journal, Linda has published extensively, and has been a facilitator/trainer with the Southern New Hampshire University, the SEEP Network, the Boulder Institute, and the International Labour Organisation among others. Linda was a Commonwealth Scholar and holds a Ph.D. in Anthropology from McMaster University and a diploma in Peace and Conflict Studies from Conrad Grebel College.