Above Photo: From oaklandinstitute.org
Since 2013, the World Bank has been rolling out the Enabling the Business of Agriculture (EBA), an index put in place at the demand of the G8 to score countries on how they facilitate “doing business” in agriculture. The EBA is supported by four Western donors – the US, UK, Denmark and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. To design this new index, the Bank was guided by some of the largest agrochemical firms in the world (Bayer, Monsanto, Syngenta, Pioneer, among others) to determine which “regulatory burdens” hamper their business.
The Enabling the Business of Agriculture index is used to promote pro-corporate agricultural reforms around the world. In the seed sector, it rewards countries that implement intellectual property rights (IPRs) to allow companies to profit from the use of their seeds by farmers. The EBA also benchmarks how easy it is for the private sector to produce and register seeds, to access genetic resources in national seed banks, and to achieve predominant representation in the committees deciding to introduce new seed varieties in countries.
While the Bank claims to encourage “smart and balanced policies,” the Enabling the Business of Agriculture index largely ignores farmer-managed seed systems, which provide 80 to 90% of farmers’ seed supply in developing countries and are key to preserving agro-biodiversity and fostering resilience against climate and economic shocks.