Request For Concept Notes (RFCN) For Grant Project Developing a Market-Led Integrated Rice Value-Chain in Centre-Est Region of Burkina Faso

About AGRA and its strategic partnership:

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is a not-for-profit organization working with African governments, donors, NGOs, private sector and African farmers to catalyze and sustain an agricultural transformation in Africa through innovation-driven productivity increases and access to markets and finance that improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers. AGRA focuses on putting farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives.

In 2017 AGRA engaged in a Partnership for Inclusive Agriculture Transformation in Africa (PIATA), with USAID, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation in resources mobilization for the implementation of its five-year new strategy in 11 African countries.

In September 2017, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) entered into a strategic partnership with the Alliance for Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) to combat hunger, create jobs and raise incomes in rural areas of Africa.

The partnership is based on a shared interest in: country, regional and continental agricultural priorities; investments and policies that advance agricultural incomes of the smallholders; food security; sustainable land use; and inclusive and sustainable agricultural transformation in Africa that fosters employment and economic opportunities.

Under the BMZ Special Initiative ‘One World – No Hunger’, Germany will contribute €10 million to co-finance AGRA’s five-year strategy (2017-2021) and to increase productivity, combat hunger, create jobs and raise incomes of 1.2 million smallholder farmers in Burkina Faso and Ghana, both focal countries of the German Development Cooperation in the agricultural sector and two of AGRA’s 11 priority countries.

To reach this target group of smallholder farmers, AGRA will commit resources 1) to strengthening of agricultural systems around input and output markets 2) scale models of technologies with high potentials, 3) invest in priority interventions that leverage and complement funding committed by other donors and the government.

The Partnership between AGRA and the German Ministry will also support AGRA to enhance its ability to address and manage any environmental and social risks and potential impacts which may result from the preparation and implementation of AGRA funded projects in a structured, transparent and sustainable manner.

Background/Problem Statement

Since 2007, AGRA worked extensively in Burkina Faso and made investments in different regions of the country. Based on lessons learnt, AGRA designed a business and operational plans aligned with the country priorities. Five regions (Boucle du Mouhoun, Cascades, Centre Est, Centre Ouest and Haut-Bassins) and four crops (Cowpea, Maize, Rice and Sorghum) are selected.

Rice is one of the main staple crops in Burkina Faso. It is the 4th cereal produced in the country, after Sorghum, Maize and Millet, in terms of land area and volume of production. The country’s annual rice consumption is estimated at 650,000 MT against annual domestic production of only 300,000 MT. The country depends on imports to satisfy domestic demand. Hence, exacerbating the overall balance of trade and negatively impacting the country’s foreign exchange reserves. According to 2015 statistics, Burkina Faso imports 350,000 MT of milled rice valued at USD 87,944,100 every year. There is an urgent need to reduce the country’s rice import bill and safeguard national food security through the expansion of domestic production.

In this regards, the government of Burkina Faso invested in major irrigation projects for rice production in key areas including Bagré, Sourou and Samandini. Bagre is one of the biggest irrigation scheme after Sourou and the GoBF has worked to build a growth Pole in Bagre around rice with support of the World Bank. In addition, the government invests in input subsidies for key crops including rice; and serves as a major rice buyer for the national food security reserve through SONAGESS, Ministry of Education and the army. Below are the key irrigation schemes and irrigable land in AGRA’s intervention area:

  Bama Banzon Douna Karfiguela Mogtédo Sourou Bagré Total
Irrigated land (ha) 1,260 585 410 350 110 3,818 3,233 9,766
Irrigable land (ha) 2,300 460 410 750 110 35,000 35,000 74,030
Average paddy yield (MT/ha) 6 4.5 3.5 3.5 3.75 5.75 5 N/A
Current paddy production (MT) 7,560 2,633 1,435 1,225 413 21,954 16,165 51,385.00

It is against this backdrop and in alignment of its strategy for Burkina Faso, that AGRA through its funding from BMZ, invites interested groups of service providers that specialize in agricultural system and Rice value chain development in Burkina Faso to submit a concept note of at most 5 pages showing how they will upgrade this strategic value chain for the country.

The project will take an integrated approach to upgrade the rice value chain to ensure that rice production and marketing systems are developed simultaneously and in a coordinated way to avoid breakdowns in the supply chain. AGRA will leverage on existing investments in the country, foster partnerships through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) and also make direct investment through grant making to address the constraints in the value chain.

Project Goal and objectives:

The goal of the project is to catalyze and sustain a Competitive and Inclusive Rice Value Chain in the Centre Est Region.


  1. To increase rice productivity for rice producing smallholder farmers in Centre Est Region
  2. To strengthen and expand access to output markets
  3. To Increase capacity of smallholders farming households and agricultural system to better prepare for and adapt to shocks and stresses
  4. To strengthen coordination among stakeholders and linkages with the Government and other partners investment in the target regions.

Expected Results

  1. Increased adoption of agriculture productivity enhancing technologies
  2. Reduced post-harvest losses
  3. Increased access to markets and finance
  4. Strengthened enabling policy environment

Project Beneficiaries:

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

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

Specifically, the project will have processors as its entry point and impact directly 50,000 smallholder farmers growing mainly rice. The project will work with farmers to meet the demands of processors and off-takers in terms of quantity and quality.

Intervention Strategy

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

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 implementing partners with different areas of expertise required to address systemic failures in the rice value chain. The PIU will have a lead and a Task manager to strategically manage the consortium. In addition, AGRA staff (PO/APO and M&E) will closely work with the lead and other members of the consortium and follow-up all activities to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the implementation. The initiative will ensure that the value chain is inclusive of women and youth and that development and growth in productivity is environmental friendly.

The strategy will be underpinned by four elements:

  • Supporting the development of entrepreneurs in the value chains through PPP model;
  • Increasing adoption of improved productivity-enhancing technologies, services and practices by rice farmers
  • Resilience; scale-out a suite of proven small-scale irrigation technologies and water management practices
  • Improving the quality of rice supplied by processors and developing the national rice supply chain.
  • Strengthening access to markets and finance for SMEs (processors, agro-dealers, Seed companies, Farmers)
  • Improving policy framework for private sector development and involvement in the value chain.

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

  1. Technical assistance to strengthen processors capabilities to produce quality rice, strengthen relationships with producers; capacity building on forward contract mechanisms, inclusive business model development
  2. SME Business Development Services and linkage to finance
  1. Technical Assistance to develop and strengthen PPP in the rice value chain in the targeted region
  2. Training and capacity building in productivity, postharvest management, Extension and farmer organization
  3. Production of breeder, foundation and certified seeds of rice
  1. Capacity building and support to agro-dealers and seed companies to expand their network to enhance access to agro –inputs for smallholder farmers.
  2. 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 Burkina Faso 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 proposals 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

The 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. The emphasis will also be the business model clearly defined, putting in the center the market orientation.


Eligibility Criteria

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

  • The lead of the consortium should be a legally registered non-governmental organization or Private Business under the laws of Burkina Faso (Must have registration certificates)
  • The lead and members should have demonstrated experience in implementing Agricultural Value chain projects in Burkina Faso, especially rice
  • The lead and members should :
    • Have demonstrated experience in working with German projects and/or using proven tools developed under German implemented Agricultural Value chain projects.
    • Have demonstrated capacity to manage grant funds;
    • Show clear link with Government efforts to develop the rice value chain
    • Show strong synergy with other German projects in the area of intervention
    • Possess audited financial statement (preferred).

Concept Paper Format

Refer to AGRA concept note format here –

Funding Period:

The funding period of this grant project is 3 (three) years. Applicants shall submit Concept Paper 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, 28th May 2018 by 5pm GMT. We encourage partnerships between organizations specialized in developing and delivering various structured value-chain Services to smallholder farmers in Burkina Faso, 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 within 10 days 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.


This work is financed by the Special Initiative “One World – No Hunger” of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development