Knowledge for a sustainable world

MSocSci, DipAgDev, BA Hons
Professor Ben Bennett
Deputy Director, Professor of International Trade and Marketing Economics and NRI Director of Research and Knowledge Exchange


Natural Resources Institute, Faculty of Engineering & Science

+44 (0)1634 88 3449

Professor Ben Bennett has been with the Natural Resources Institute for 30 years, much of it spent overseas as an agriculture and trade policy advisor in Namibia and the Philippines. His work has been largely in the field of trade and market economics for tropical commodities in developing countries with a particular focus on aspects of agricultural value chains for novel products. He has undertaken consultancy and research in over 40 countries working on cereals, legumes, horticulture, fisheries, fibres, non-timber forestry products, livestock, oilseeds and industrial crops. Professor Bennett is known for his value chain analysis work on many different commodities as well as market research for primary and secondary products. He has long experience in leading research and consultancy teams including complex evaluations and reviews for major multi-national bodies and donors. He has an interest in the marketing of wild harvested natural products and the relationship between markets and conservation of natural resources. He has supported a number of trade negotiations including SADC, COMESA and SACU and led an international effort to improve Trade Capacity Building, particularly in the area of standards.

Professor Bennett's work on agricultural and wild harvested value chains brings farmers and harvesters into the formal economy and improves livelihoods. He is particularly interested in postharvest losses, their measurement, mitigation and impact on incomes in developing countries.

Professor Bennett is an authority on the economics of postharvest losses in developing countries. Recent research has included contributions to the UK Foresight Commission (Hodges, Busby and Bennett, 2010) and a global initiative to reduce food lost to consumption (World Bank, 2011), a global review of postharvest losses (OIC, 2017), and Principal Investigator on the EC FP7 project "Gains from Losses in Roots and Tubers" (GRATITUDE). This research builds upon work he did as an early career researcher for NRI on the economics of post harvest losses in fisheries (Bennett, 1991), oilseeds (Bennett, 1992), animal feed (Coker and Bennett, 1992, Bennett and Watson, 1990, 1990 and 1991) and grains (Bennett, 1992).

He is considered a practice leader in the field of value chain analysis for tropical agriculture, forestry and fisheries products. He was invited to contribute to UN Expert Panel on the value chain analysis which has resulted in new approaches to understanding industrial and agricultural markets (the UNIDO Diagnostic Tool – see He is known for his work on roots and tuber value chains and has recently completed a project on cassava processing in West and Central Africa for IFAD.

He is currently Team Leader of two important research projects in the fields of reducing postharvest losses for cassava (Rockefeller Foundation) and food fortification (EC).  He is also partnering with Royal Botanic Gardens Kew to develop a strategy for developing the market for recently identified new wild yam species in Madagascar (Darwin Initiative).  He recently completed leading a team undertaking a value chain analysis of the Zimbabwe Beef sector (Bennett, 2018) and a project to understand the role of international meat traders and market access in Southern Africa and Europe (Bennett & Rich, forthcoming).

Deputy Director, NRI Deputy Faculty Director, Research and Enterprise (NRI)

  • Member of the Development Studies Association
  • Associate Editor of the Journal Food Chain
  • Associate Editor of the Journal Enterprise Development & Microfinance
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