How the methodology was developed

The methodology is the result of extensive stakeholder engagement and expert review. It is refined after the publication of each index.

Publication of the 2016 Index
The first Access to Seeds Index, which assessed global seed companies as well as leading seed companies in Eastern Africa, was published on February 25, 2016. The official presentation of the findings took place on June 3, 2016, at the FAO headquarters in Rome.

Following its initial evaluation of the 2016 Index, the Expert Review Committee agreed on an Agenda for Review on June 8, 2016. This identified areas where the methodology should be refined. Companies featured in the index were asked on an individual basis for their feedback on the findings and the data collection process. To discuss the findings with farmers and farmer organizations, four regional consultation events were organized in Western, Eastern and Southern Africa and Asia. One of the outcomes of these events was the desire to see regional indexes developed for Western Africa and Asia, following the Eastern African example.

Methodology review and landscaping
The input gathered during the consultation process was used to review the methodology in early 2017. Although the consultations resulted in proposals to introduce new parameters, the overall objective was to reduce the number of indicators used in the first index.

Landscaping studies to determine which companies to include in the new regional indexes for Western Africa and Asia started in March 2017 and were conducted by consultants within each region. The landscaping study for the Regional Index for Eastern Africa was updated to explore the possibility of extending the scope to include Southern Africa. To gather stakeholder input on the parameters for the Genetic Resources and Intellectual Property measurement areas, a Technical Advisory Group (TAG) made up of industry, public research and civil society representatives convened on May 9. The main changes to the methodology were discussed and approved by the Supervisory Board on June 28.

Public consultation
In order to allow a broader group of stakeholders to provide feedback on the revised methodology, this consultation document was published on September 18, 2017. Stakeholders were given one month to submit their feedback. In the meantime, regional expert review committees (ERCs) convened to evaluate the landscaping studies and the approach for their respective regions. The global ERC discussed the outcomes of these regional meetings as well as the public consultation process on November 9. On December 6, the Supervisory Board gave its final approval.

Data collection
The data collection for the 2019 Index is due to start in early 2018. The companies selected for inclusion were informed about the data collection process in the fall of 2017. They will be asked to complete a questionnaire in a carefully managed process that ensures equal treatment of each company. To facilitate the process, a user-friendly online data collection platform is being developed.

Data analysis
The analysis of the data both at a company and industry level is overseen by the Access to Seeds Index’s lead researchers. For verification purposes, the researchers conduct an extensive quantitative and qualitative check of each indicator for each company. Scoring is carried out according to scoring guidelines approved by the Supervisory Board. For specific areas, technical experts review the analysis. Everyone involved in the data collection process has signed a confidentiality agreement.

Publication of the 2019 Index
The 2019 Index is scheduled for publication between November 2018 and April 2019. The regional indexes for Asia and Africa will be published on different dates during this period before publication of the global results.