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REQUEST FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST FOR A CONSULTANCY FIRM TO CONDUCT A MULTI-YEAR STUDY /SEED AUDIT UNDER THE PARTNERSHIP FOR AN INCLUSIVE AGRICULTURAL TRANSFORMATION IN AFRICA (PIATA) SEED SYSTEMS STRENGTHENING PROJECT

COUNTRY: MALAWI

Background:
AGRA Malawi has received a buy-in grant under the Partnership for Inclusive Agriculture Transformation in Africa (PIATA) from USAID Malawi mission. The buy-in grant will enable implementation of selected Systems Development interventions all hinged at achieving better functioning, sustainable, and market-led seed systems. AGRA’s interventions are at three levels, as follows: (i) expanding certified seed markets; (ii) improving access to and adoption of improved crop varieties, including early-generation seed; and (iii) addressing policy-related impediments. Specifically, the buy-in grant will contribute towards achieving a viable seed system in Malawi through the following interventions: 1) Conducting an in-depth multiyear study and audit of the whole seed system that would provide guidance into the extent, nature, and causes of seed quality issues in Malawi; 2) Improving seed quality system through capacity building for SSU and seed companies 3) Strengthening government capacity to implement and enforce seed-related policies and regulations under the existing seed law; and 4) an optional component that would roll out a digital anti-counterfeit system as informed by an in-depth appraisal of proposals such as the e-verification scratch card system.
Malawi has an established seed sector driven by 28 private commercial companies (national, regional, multi-national, and public sector companies), plus a number of public agencies that support the system through plant breeding, seed quality control, and certification. Seed certification, testing, and the overall regulatory enforcement is the mandate of the Seed Services Unit (SSU) under the Directorate of Agricultural Research Services (DARS). Whilst there is notable development of the seed sector, availability and access to high quality seed remains insufficient, with a heavy focus on maize and cash crops. Outside the government-supported FISP, adoption of improved varieties remains low.
The government of Malawi, through the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, is determined to strengthen and improve the seed sector to alleviate poverty and hunger as stipulated in the National Agriculture Policy (NAP) . Although the Government of Malawi is putting in place the relevant policy framework to regulate and monitor the seed sector in line with regional and international guidelines, more work needs to be done in implementation and enforcement of these policies, reforms and strategies.
Strengthening the seed sector cuts across a number of NAIP Policy Priority Areas (PPAs), including: (i) sustainable production and productivity [PPA 3.1]; (ii) institutional development, coordination and capacity development [PPA 3.8] and (iii) food and nutrition security [PPA 3.5].

Objectives
i. To conduct a comprehensive assessment/audit of the Malawi seed system with a particular focus on the quality of seed sold in the market over a two-year period.
ii. Undertake DNA finger printing and analysis to assess the level of quality breakdown in the seed value chain from breeder seed to the certified seed sold to farmers at agro-dealer level
iii. Publish the results of the findings with clear recommendations and proposed strategies for dealing with the identified challenges.

Broadly, the assessment will entail getting seed samples from seed companies and having them tested by two different ISTA accredited laboratories to authenticate the results. This study will be done for two consecutive years and findings will be shared and discussed among stakeholders annually including extensive dissemination. Assessment of the seed samples will be done by SSU, as they have ISTA certified laboratory and will be authenticated by the South African laboratory (DAFF) or any other appropriate partner that will also undertake DNA fingerprint analysis.

The Consultancy will be conducted annually for 2 years and each year it will take a maximum of 6 months to deliver the results. During the first year, the consultant will also utilize secondary data from the WB commissioned FISP seed study to feed into recommendations.
AGRA now invites eligible consultants (firms) to indicate their interest in providing these services. Interested consultants must provide information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services (description of similar assignments, experience in similar conditions, general qualifications of key staff, and so forth). Consultants may associate to enhance their qualifications. A maximum of six (6) qualified firms shall be shortlisted to provide detailed technical and financial proposals.
The expression of interest shall not exceed 20 pages. The detailed terms of references can be found on https://agra.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/ToR-Malawi-Multi-Year-study-and-Seed-Audit-1.docx
Interested consultants may obtain further information at the email address provided below.
Expressions of interest must be sent to: procurement@agra.org by 3rd June 2020 at 1700 hours East African Time (GMT +3)