EXPRESSION OF INTEREST (EOI): Integrated, Sustainable and Resilient Food Value Chains Project in Sub Saharan Africa – Concept Notes


Reference number REF: PID/RFCN 01/2020

Thursday, April 9, 2020


1. Synopsis of the EOI

EOI No. REF: PID/RFCN 01/2020  
Issue date Thursday, April 9, 2020  
Title Integrated Approach Pilot (IAP) – Fostering Food Value Chain Greening Initiatives in Africa
Issuing organization Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Head office: West End Towers, 4th Floor Kanjata Road, off Muthangari Drive, Off Waiyaki Way P.O. Box 66773 Westlands, 00800 Nairobi, Kenya  
Email address for submission of questions The email address  in the above synopsis is the sole point of contact at AGRA for any questions. Please quote REF: PID/RFCN01/2020  
Email address submission of grant concepts application We only accept email grant concept applications; no hard copies will be accepted. For grant application submissions the email address to use is   
Deadline for Receipt of grant concept applications 24th April 2020 before 23:59 hours, Eastern Africa Time (EAT). 
Grant concepts review Estimated to 1st May 2020.   
Notification of successful Grant concepts *Estimated 8th May 2020
Development of Grant proposals (Technical and Financial) *Estimated 18th May 2020. 
Review, Internal and external approval of Grant Proposals *Estimated:25th May 2020
Fund Approval, Award and Inception meetings  *Estimated:1st June 2020

*The actual dates and needed documents will be communicated to the successful grantees by the AGRA’s Grants Unit.

2. Background

The Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and UNDP Regional Service Centre for Africa (RSCA) are collaborating on the Global Environmental Facility funded project on Integrated Approach Pilot on Fostering Sustainability and Resilience for Food Systems in Africa to deliver on the development of innovative practices which generate or safeguard ecosystem services in food value chains and production systems. This collaboration aims at developing capacities of key actors (government, private sector and others) at regional and national level to integrate both sustainability and resiliency in regional staple food crops value chains. This is being done through the selection of significant staple crop value chains in a multi-country setup through which sustainable and resilient practices will be integrated using catalytic action and technical assistance. This initiative is operational in 12 countries in sub-Saharan Africa: Burkina Faso, Burundi, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Swaziland, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Tanzania and Uganda.

3. The Grant Funding Opportunity

The grants that this project is calling for are meant to build on existing investments at country level that seek to build/strengthen agriculture value chains and integrate natural resources management principles in food systems. Specifically, these grants will seek to demonstrate, in practical terms, how agriculture value chains can integrate both business sustainability and resilience in food systems. In addition to demonstrations, the grants are required to document key lessons, success and/or failure factor and briefs for policy and decision-makers, project developers, funding agencies and private sector.

3.1 Grant Intervention Areas

This is a call for concept notes for projects addressing key resilience, sustainability, production and marketing constraints of selected regional staple food crops. The call is open to implementing organisations in all 12 countries and beyond within the three sub-regions of West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa.

Grants may support any of the following issues (list is not exhaustive):

  1. Establishing and/or strengthening of private sector linkages between lead firms and/or off-takers engaging with small-scale farmers for more predictable markets as well as provision of extension advisory services to the farmers.
  2. Scaling up production of staples food (grain, legumes) and their contribution to soil fertility nutrition, income and carbon sequestration – this will require strengthening seed supply systems using seed companies and the promotion of integrated soil fertility management practices
  3. Wide-scale uptake of climate smart and environmental sustainability practices such as conservation agriculture, good agronomic practices, postharvest management, and processing practices. This will require providing technical guidance and identifying institutional and market incentives that help address challenges associated with adoption of climate smart and environmental management in smallholder agriculture
  4. Promote the adoption of water harvesting technologies and the efficient use of the water on farms – for enhancing productivity and conservation
  5. Integrating livestock into smallholder production systems and tightening nutrient cycling of the farming system – with increased uptake of ISFM, there is now tremendous potential to increase crop residues to support livestock production and manure production under smallholder farming conditions
  6. Development and dissemination of knowledge products on project experiences including on lessons and scaling up of practices with the private sector.

3.2 The Structure and Purpose of the Small Catalytic Grants

Interested, experienced and competent organizations are invited to submit concept notes for an 18 months project implementation period, in three countries of the three regions – East, Southern and West Africa (one country per application, separately). The 12 IAP countries targeted by the proposed catalytic grants are: Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Eswatini, Niger, Ethiopia, Burundi, Nigeria, Ghana, Burkina Faso and Senegal.

Responses to this call for expression of interest should clearly demonstrate how they will effectively integrate private sector and natural resources management in key staple crops value chains. A key component of this initiative is to document key practices, success factors, (integrated) policy issues and their implications on investment opportunities for private sector in integrated approaches in food systems.

Organizations can apply for no more than one grant. The grant application(s) should, as much as possible build on the existing work that AGRA and/or UNDP is already undertaking at country and/or regional level. An application should clearly state the selected value chain(s), the vulnerability context of the value chains as they relate to sustainability and resilience, stages of the value chain that are most vulnerable and hence forming the basis for the design of interventions. The proposed interventions should solve for inclusiveness of gender and youth as key players/stakeholders in food systems generally, and the selected value chains specifically. Integration of innovations such as Information Communication Technologies (ICTs) or Public Private Partnerships is highly encouraged. Applicants can select to implement/develop their proposed interventions in any one of the countries, as indicated below:

3.3 Award Distribution

Region Budget limit – not exceeding
Lot 1: East Africa – Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda   USD 200,000
Lot 2: Southern Africa – Lesotho and Malawi   USD 200,000
Lot 3: West Africa – Burkina Faso, Ghana, Niger, Nigeria, and Senegal USD 200,000

Selected project concepts will be requested to develop detailed project proposals that will benefit from the technical backstopping of the UNDP Project Facilitation Platforms for enhanced innovations and partnerships.

3.3.1 Period of Grant performance  

The maximum Grant period of performance is 18 months from June 2020 to November 2021. Each grant concept application should be contextualized given the solution(s) being proposed.

3.3.2 Period Grant Applications will be accepted

This request for grant concepts applications will remain open for a period of 14 calendar days, from 10th April 2020 to 24th April 2020 before 23:59 hours Eastern Africa Time (EAT).  Interested organizations/institutions must submit before the final deadline; Grant concept applications made after the final deadline of 24 April 2020 will not be considered. Organizations wishing to respond to this expression of interest are invited to use the attached AGRA grant concept development documents (link).

4. Eligibility Requirements

The potential project partners are the civil society/private sector organisations, in particular NGOs with technical expertise in value chain development/management, natural resources management, climate change mainstreaming, training, knowledge management and other relevant competencies.

Concept Notes must demonstrate private sector and smallholder farmer inclusion; and promotion of sustainability in food and agriculture value chains.

AGRA therefore invites submission of grant applications from interested and qualified organizations operating in agriculture and or related sectors. Organizations contemplating submission of applications in response to this expression of interest (EOI) must determine whether they meet the following requirements to be eligible for AGRA grant award:

  1. Minimum of 5-7 years of demonstrable organization systemic working experience in any or a combination of the following systems level areas: Value Chain Development, Regenerative Agriculture,Seed systems, Fertilizer systems, Market systems, SME development, Agriculture and/or Development policy, Access to finance, Extension systems, Climate-smart Agriculture, Natural resources management in agriculture in Africa.
  2. Demonstrable ability to work with private sector partners and have experience leading/facilitating value chain development and resilience building initiatives. Prior experience working with women and youth is an added advantage
  3. A team with experience working in smallholder agriculture value chains in Africa; experience in natural resources management, climate change, SME development and working with national institutions.
  4. The organization should hold a valid registration and presence in any of the IAP project countries mentioned in the document (section 3.3).
  5. Provide evidence of existing relationships working in the development value chains and resilience technologies
  6. Provide CV’s of key staff proposed for this assignment.

AGRA may request additional documentation to be submitted as part of the pre-award process.  Organizations are advised that any funds made available are subject to AGRA’s accountability and audit requirements.

5.     Environment and Social Management

Applications should be in line with AGRA’s Environment and Social Policy; and Exclusion List

6.     How to Apply

If eligible and interested in this Expression of Interest for project Concept Notes, please submit your application (Concept Note, using the prescribed template) via the following email address, by 24th April, 2020 before 23:59 hours, Eastern Africa Time (EAT).

Kindly indicate the following reference in the Subject Section of your email: “PID/RFCN 01/2020 Integrated, Sustainable and Resilient Food Value Chains Project”

The following must be presented with your submission:

  1. A copy of your organization’s registration certificate
  2. Detailed organization profile
  3. Grant Concept Note application in English (AGRA template provided) – stating country of interest in the application and elaborate the methodology including how each of the tasks will be executed. Which details;
  4. Past performance: Demonstrated evidence of undertaking at least three similar assignments done. The information shall include the legal name and address of the organization for which services were provided, a description of services provided and a current contact phone number and email address of a responsible and knowledgeable representative of the organization.
  5. Demonstrate availability of appropriate skills among staff and adequacy of staff and experience in Kenya and attach their CVs.
  • Application Review Information

The following criteria, will be used to evaluate and shortlist the applications:

  • Immediate impact of innovation
  • Level of private sector engagement
  • Technnical capabilities of applicants and their identified partners to deliver the proposed project in a timely manner
  • Gender and youth inclusion

After shortlisting, AGRA will also conduct an organizational capacity assessment (OCA) of the potential of the institutions in line with its grant making criteria which include an assessment of technical, human resources, financial capability and the ability to sustain the programme.


ANNEX 1: AGRA Grant Concept Note template.

Download the AGRA Grant concept template here –