Knowledge for a sustainable world

MSocSci, DipAgDev, BA Hons
Professor Ben Bennett
Deputy Director, Professor of International Trade and Marketing Economics and Deputy Faculty Director, Research and Enterprise (NRI)


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).

  • Matumba L, Singano L, Tran B, Mukanga M, Makwenda B, Kumwenda W, Mgwira S, Phiri S, Mataya F, Mthunzi T, Alfred S, Madzivhandila T, Mugabe J, Bennett B and Chancellor T, (2018), Managing aflatoxin in smallholder groundnut production in Southern Africa: Paired comparison of the windrow and Mandela cock techniques. Crop Protection. 112. pp. 18-23. ISSN 02612194 (doi: 10.1016/j.cropro.2018.05.007 )
  • Tomlins K, and Bennett B, (2017), “New uses and processes for cassava”, in Hershey, C, (Ed), Achieving Sustainable Cassava Cultivation, CIAT, Columbia.
  • Tomlins K and Bennett B, (2016), Reducing Post-harvest Losses in the OIC Member Countries, COMCEC Coordination Office, Ankara.
  • Bennett B, (2015), “Smallholder cassava production and the cassava processing sector in Africa”, Editorial for a special edition of the Journal Food Chain. Vol 5, Issue 1-2.
  • Abdulsalam-Saghir P, Bennett B, Quaye W, Tu Viet Phu, Sanni L and Martin A, (2015), “Gender analysis of households’ decision-making to reduce post-harvest losses of cassava in Ghana, Nigeria and Vietnam”, Food Chain.
  • Pintado M, Tomlins K, Sottomayor M, Bennett B, Queiróz de Freitas M, Franco M; Monteiro M, Cissé M, Pallet D (2015), “Drivers of acceptance of the traditional African Bissap beverage in Europe”, Beverages. 2(2).
  • Forsythe L, Nyamanda N, Mwangwela A and Bennett B, (2015), “Beliefs, taboos and minor crops: the case of Bambara Groundnut in Malawi”, Food, Culture and Society, 18/3.
  • Diego Naziri, Wilhelmina Quaye, Bernard Siwoku, Sittichoke Wanlapatit, Tu Viet Phu, Bennett B, (2015), “The Diversity of Postharvest Losses in Cassava Value Chains in Selected Developing Countries”, Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics, 115/2.
  • Naziri D, Rich, K and Bennett B (2015), "Would a commodity-based trade approach improve market access for Africa? A case study of the potential of beef exports from communal areas of Namibia", Development Policy Review. 33(2): 195-219.
  • Naziri D, Quaye W, Siwoku B, Wanlapatit S, Viet Phu T and Bennett B, (2014), “Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost: A Comparative Analysis of Postharvest Losses in Cassava Value Chains in Ghana, Nigeria, Thailand and Vietnam” 14th EAAE Congress, Ljubljana, Slovenia, 26th-29th August 2014.
  • Bechoff A, Cissé M, Fliedel G, Declemy D, Ayessou N, Akissoe N, Touré C, Bennett B, Pintado M, Pallet D and Tomlins K (2013), "Relationships between anthocyanins & others compounds and sensory acceptability of Hibiscus drinks", Food Chemistry. Volume 148, pp112-119.
  • Hodges R, Bernard M and Bennett B (2013), Tackling post harvest cereal losses in Sub-Saharan Africa, Rural21, 47:1, pp16-18.
  • Hillocks R, Bennett B and Mponda O (2012), "Bambara nut: a review of utilization, market potential and crop improvement", African Crop Science Journal, 20:1, pp1-16.
  • Naziri D and Bennett B (2012),"Private voluntary standards in livestock and meat sectors: implications for developing countries", Food Chain, 2:1, pp64-85.
  • World Bank, (2011), "Missing Food: The Case of Postharvest Grain Losses in Sub-Saharan Africa", Economic and Sector Report 60361, Washington. 
  • Hodges R and Bennett B (2011), "Review of postharvest loss reduction technologies and practices for cereal grain staples in Sub-Saharan Africa", World Bank Discussion Paper, Washington.
  • Hodges R Busby J C and Bennett B (2010), "Post harvest losses in developed and less developed countries: opportunities to improve resource use", Journal of Agricultural Science.
  • Bennett B, Cooper J and H Dobson (2010), "We know where the shoe pinches: a case study-based analysis of the social benefits of pesticides", Outlook on Agriculture, Volume 39, Number 2, June 2010.
  • Bennett B, Keller D and P Loewe (2010), Thematic Evaluation of UNIDO activities in the area of Standards, Metrology, Testing and Quality (SMTQ), UNIDO, Vienna.
  • Bennett B (2007a), "Intellectual property and sustainable trade in natural products: the case of Southern Africa", IUCN, Geneva
  • Bennett B (2007b), "Trade in Natural Products: how big is Southern Africa's Natural Product Opportunity and What Trade Issues Impede Development", Regional Trade Facilitation Programme, Pretoria,, ISBN 0-621-36528-9.
  • Bennett B (2007c), Namibia: Selected Agriculture and Natural Resources Issues", chapter 5 in World Bank Country Paper, Washington.
  • Bennett B, Chilume Y, (2007d), “Making the most of natural advantages: intellectual property and natural products in Botswana”, Botswana Institute of Development Policy Analysis (BIDPA), Gaberone.
  • Bennett B (2002), "Market scoping: methods to help people understand their marketing environment", PLA Notes Journal 45.
  • Bennett B & Ames G (1994), "Multinationals and Market Mammies: a case study of sectoral privatisation and structural adjustment in Ghana" in Jaffe S and Morton J (1994), "Marketing Africa's High-Value Foods: Comparative Experiences of an Emergent Private Sector", Dubuque, Iowa.
  • Bennett B and Watson I G, (1992), "India's feed future: A market brief", Feed International, March 1992.
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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