Request for Concept Notes (RFCN) for grant project developing a market-led integrated rice value-chain in Brong Ahafo and northern regions of Ghana

About AGRA: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is a not-for-profit organization working with African governments, other donors, NGOs, the private sector and African farmers to significantly and sustainably improve the productivity and incomes of resource poor smallholder farmers in Africa. AGRA has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and a Regional office in Accra, Ghana.

Background/Problem Statement:

Rice has successfully become a major food security and staple crop in Ghana in the past decade. This is a result of the rapid change in lifestyle and food consumption habits; particularly in urban centres. The current demand for rice in Ghana is estimated at about 1 million MT per annum. Per capita consumption is estimated at 38 kg per annum and is expected to rise to 63 kg per annum by 2018. However, much of the rice consumed in Ghana is imported from Thailand or Vietnam.

Rice is produced in all the ten regions of Ghana, covering the interior savannah, high rain forest, semi-deciduous rain forest and the coastal savannah areas with major production occurring in the Northern, Upper East, Western, Brong-Ahafo and Volta Regions. Smallholder farmers account for 72% of the total rice production in the country. There are three major production ecologies: upland rain-fed (6%), lowland rain-fed (78%) and irrigated (16%). Despite the rapidly increasing domestic demand, and large areas of the country suitable for rice cultivation, current yields are low averaging between 2.2-2.5 MT/ha (low-land rain fed), against the yield potential at 6-8 MT/ha, i.e. the yield gap is about 70%. Currently, Ghana imports ~500,000 MT of rice annually, and GoG imposes a 20% import levy and other taxes on rice imports. Imported rice typically enters urban and higher-quality markets; however, local perfumed varieties are starting to compete with imports because of the introduction of new improved varieties such as Jasmine and Agrarice. Rice aggregators from the Northern regions currently collect on behalf of small and medium-sized mills in the South for processing.

The government’s target is to increase domestic production in 10% annual increments, promote consumption through quality improvement, enhance capacity to utilize by-products and promote efficient information sharing and linkages. However, the value chain is constrained by: i) low Productivity; ii) high post-harvest loss, which is estimated at 35% in the country as there is little mechanization or tools to protect the harvest in aggregation.; iii) low use of Irrigation; iv) poor small holder farmers (SHF) access to structured market; v) low access to credit by smallholder farmers and other value chain actors; and vi) poor enabling environment to investments for infrastructure development through PPP approaches. : In line with the Food and Agriculture Sector Development Policy (FASDEP II) and the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ) flagship program of the Government of Ghana to drive Accelerated Agriculture Modernization and Sustainable Natural Resource, the goal of this project is to catalyze and sustain an inclusive Agricultural Transformation to improve food security and livelihoods of the smallholder rice farmers in the Breadbasket Zone of the Brong Ahafo and Northern Regions

AGRA will therefore leverage on existing investments in the country, foster partnerships and also make direct investment through grant making to address the constraints in the value chain.

It is against this backdrop that a concept note of at most 5 pages is invited from interested consortia in RICE value chain to develop and sustainably run various structured activities to realize the goal and objectives of the project.

Project Goal and objectives:

AGRA’s strategy on rice will focus on increasing adoption of productivity enhancing technologies, strengthening access to markets and finance, consulting with other relevant stakeholders along the rice value chain to foster Policy reforms via the creation of enabling regulatory frameworks, and increasing resilience using various climate change and adaptation approaches.


  1. Increased rice productivity for smallholder farmers in Brong-Ahafo and Northern Regions
  2. Strengthened and expanded access to output markets
  3. Increased capacity of smallholders farming households and agricultural system to better prepare for and adapt to shocks and stresses
  4. Strengthened continental, regional and government multi-sectorial coordination, and mutual accountability in the agricultural sector” 

Project Beneficiaries:

The proposed intervention will impact the following actors across the entire rice value chains:

  • Smallholder farmers
  • Off-takers/ Processors
  • Aggregators
  • Mechanization Service Providers
  • Agro-Input dealers
  • Financial Institutions(FIs)

Specifically, the project will impact directly 150,000 smallholder farmers growing mainly maize and soybean. The project will work with farmers to meet the demands of industrial off-takers and aggregators within the selected value chains. The project will also work with the smallholder farmers to produce to meet the demands of market leads.

Expected outcomes

  1. Increased adoption of agriculture productivity enhancing technologies
  2. Increased use of structured markets
  3. Strengthened and expanded business development, financial and risk management services in the rice value chain
  4. Reduced impact of agricultural volatility

Expected Outputs

  • Quantity of breeder seed produced
  • Quantity of Foundation seed produced
  • Quantity of Certified seed produced
  • Number of outgrowers trained in seed management
  • Number of demonstrations conducted
  • Number of field days held
  • Number of agro-dealers trained
  • Number of farmers trained in good agronomic practices
  • Number of radio programs aired in local dialects
  • Number of seed company personnel trained in BDS
  • Volume of farm produce aggregated
  • Volume of rice processed
  • Number of farmers linked to off-takers
  • Number of farmers trained in post-harvest management & handling
  • Number of contracts established among actors
  • Number of financial products developed
  • Number of SMEs with improved access to financial products
  • Number of SMEs trained in BDS

Intervention Strategy

The rice project design and implementation will focus on creating commercial opportunities for targeted rice farmers that result in access to markets, long-term relationships with processors investing in the value chain, improved access to services and products including financing, high-quality inputs, productivity enhancing technologies, mechanization services, and improved ability to meet market requirements. The end result is increased productivity and profitability for smallholder farmers.

The Strategy will adopt an integrated approach in the delivery of services through a Project Implementation Unit (PIU) which will consist of a multi-disciplinary team of AGRA staff (PO) and implementing partners with different areas of expertise. The PIU will have a lead and a Task manager (AGRA PO/APO) to strategically manage the consortium. The initiative will ensure that the value chains are inclusive of women and youth and that development and growth in productivity supports both food and industrial utilization of maize and soya.

The strategy will be underpinned by four elements:

  • Increase adoption of improved productivity-enhancing technologies, services and practices by rice farmers
  • Strengthen access to markets and finance
  • Resilience; scale-out a suite of proven small-scale irrigation technologies and water management practices
  • Improve policy framework

The different Roles of the Implementing partners/Consortium Members shall include but not limited to:

  1. Training and capacity building in productivity, postharvest management, Extension and farmer organization
  2. Production of breeder, foundation and certified seeds of rice
  3. Capacity building and support to agro-dealers to expand their network to enhance access to agro –inputs for smallholder farmers.
  4. Technical assistance to strengthen processors relationships with producers; capacity building on forward contract mechanisms, inclusive business model development
  5. SME Business Development Services and linkage to finance
  6. Expand access to services; mechanization, finance

Request for Concept Notes

This Request for Concept Note (RFCN) is comprised of two steps. In the first stage, AGRA GHANA is requesting only Concept Paper from the prospective Consortium describing the overall activity that the applicant proposes to implement, in accordance with the goal and objectives of the project. Each prospective Consortium shall submit only one Concept Note. If a Consortium submits more than one application, only the first one received will be considered for review. AGRA will evaluate the Concept Notes following the criteria outlined in this brief. Applicants whose concept papers obtained highest scores in the evaluation will be invited to submit full and detailed applications for funding consideration. Issuance of this Request for Applications does not constitute an award or commitment on the part of AGRA nor does it commit to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of Concept Papers.

Selection Criteria

AGRA selection process will favour a consortium with a stronger team which provides a clear cut strategy on how to realize the goal and objectives of the project in the most effective, efficient and sustainable way.

Eligibility Criteria

The applicant submitting the Concept Paper should meet the following criteria:

  • Be a legally registered non-governmental organization or Private Business under the laws of Ghana (Must have registration certificates)
  • Have demonstrated experience in implementing Agricultural Value chain projects in Ghana especially cereals
  • Have demonstrated capacity to manage grant funds;
  • Have demonstrated presence in the proposed geographic area
  • Possess audited financial statement (preferred)

Selected Geographic Districts (28) of the proposed rice project in Brong-Ahafo and Northern Region

No. Brong-Ahafo Region Northern Region
1 Nkoranza South Yendi
2 Nkoranza North West Mamprusi
3 Wenchi Karaga
4 Techiman North Gushiegu
5 Techiman South Saboba
6 Atebubu-Amantin Chereponi
7 Pru Damongo
8 Sene West Sawla Tuna Kalba
9 Sene East Salaga – East Gonja
10 Jaman South Bole
11 Jaman North East Mamprusi
12 Tain Nanumba South
13 Kintampo North Nanumba North
14 Kintampo South Savelugu Nanton

Additional Documents

More information can be downloaded here –

Funding Period:

The funding period of this grant project is 3 (three) years. Applicants shall submit Concept Paper (download template here – on the project for the 3 (three) year period.

Modalities of submission: Interested organizations should submit their concept notes written in English titled ‘Connecting actors for strengthened rice value chain to improve productivity and incomes for smallholder farmers” to on or before Monday, 30th April 2018 by 5pm GMT. We encourage partnerships between organizations specialized in developing and delivering various structured value-chain Services to smallholder farmers in Ghana, there should however be ONE LEAD ORGANIZATION. For any enquiry pertaining to this concept note, kindly put it into writing and submit to Concept Notes received after RFCN Expiration Date (above) will not be considered.

AGRA will review submitted concept notes and only request successful organizations to submit full proposals for grant funding. The concept notes will not be returned to the senders. Eligible grant funding is for cost sharing of technical advisory and training costs related to the development and delivery of the proposed solution.