Request for Proposals: Assessment of Available Farmer Management Information Systems

Request for Proposals

Assignment Title: Assessment of Available Farmer Management Information Systems

Country: Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Malawi

Background

Founded in 2006, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is an African-led, African-based organization focused on putting smallholder 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. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent. AGRA currently works in 11 countries namely, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, Mozambique, Mali, Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Rwanda and Malawi.

IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative convenes companies, CSOs, governments, and others in public-private partnerships. IDH drives the joint design, co-funding, and prototyping of new economically viable approaches to realize green & inclusive growth at scale in commodity sectors and sourcing areas. Its approaches are designed to drive sustainability from niche to norm in mainstream markets, delivering impact on Sustainable Development Goals with focus on creating a positive impact on deforestation, living incomes and living wages, working conditions, toxic loading, and gender. IDH is working together with over 500 companies, CSOs, financial institutions, producer organizations and governments in 11 sectors and 12 landscapes in over 40 countries worldwide. Focusing on Africa, IDH supports companies and financial institutions to analyze, innovate, and scale their smallholder business models.

Agricultural (production and non-production) SMEs play a vital role in the agricultural transformation agenda of AGRA and IDH. The SMEs are the key intermediaries to sell improved technologies to smallholder farmers and to buy back, store and process the increased yields from smallholder farmers.  In order for these SMEs to grow and expand their businesses serving farmers, access to finance is key. Not only to finance working capital and capital investments, but also because many SMEs serve as informal financiers of farmers by providing in-kind credit for inputs, post-harvest technology and storage facilities.

In order for these SMEs to be able to enhance their services delivery to farmers, automation is key to ensure accurate, timely and relevant data is available to make appropriate decisions and to be able to access the finance necessary to scale the service delivery.

In our work to support SMEs to improve the management of their service delivery to smallholder farmers, AGRA and IDH have identified the difficulty that SMEs face in identifying the right data management solution for their company. Some SMEs invest in systems which then turn out not to be addressing the information needs of the company. In a desire to be better able to advise SMEs on the available options and suitability of Farmer Management Information Systems (FMIS), AGRA and and IDH intend to conduct an assessment of available Farmer Management Information Solutions[1] in Africa.

[1] See annex for examples of Farmer Management Information Systems

The idea is that this assessment will be compiled in a ‘catalogue’ detailing the specifications of each MIS, to enable the companies to reach a quick decision on which MIS best suits their business needs.

Objectives of the assignment

A management information system (MIS) is one of the most important tools in any organization for effective performance management and decision-making.

Despite all the success stories resulting from the implementation of information systems, Agriculture in developing countries still struggles with implementation of information systems. With the design of several Farmer Management Information Systems (FMIS), one should have predicted an end to the shortage of supply of Agricultural products, side-selling, mismanagement of the farm or an end to the high rate of loss in agricultural commodities as a result of non-traceability of produce during disease outbreaks.

AGRA and IDH seek to undertake an assessment on the available Farmer Management Information  Systems, detailing the different MIS available in sub-Saharan Africa, the system capability (payment solutions, database, mobile application, loan management, stock & input management, human resource management, farmer training and management reports), costs, suitability based on the size of the actors’/value chains, system configuration, back up support,  client feedback, associated costs (one off payment or pay per user) etc.

This assessment will end up being a ‘brochure/catalogue’ presenting the different applications/solutions which would then be used by all AGRA and IDH colleagues and partners working with SMEs and farmers and other value chain actors including financial institutions, aggregators etc., as part of the Business Development Support we are offering to these aggregators, who are all seeking to improve the administration of their dealings with farmers.

The intended value of an FMIS to the different stakeholders will include but is not limited to the following;

Farmers Market access, improved incomes, simplified access to inputs, and access to information and training and financial services.
SMEs(Buy-side) Simplified and secure supply chains, farmer traceability, better production forecast, enhanced quality of production, comprehensive farmer profiles and better working capital management.
SME(Sell-side) New and reliable markets for agro input suppliers, predictability of inputs demand, well managed input distribution system, product traceability and better communication with the farmers.
Financial Service Providers Simplified and low cost access to the SMEs and smallholder farmers, bulk credit rating/screening, better contract management through tripartite agreements.

Scope of work

The scope of work includes completion of the services and deliverables listed below;

  • Conduct a detailed assessment of the existing Farmer Management Solutions in Sub Saharan Africa with a focus on the 11 AGRA focus countries. Where an MIS covers multiple countries, the assessment of the system can be undertaken as one and in cases of country specific solutions then the different solutions will be assessed separately in their country of operation.
  • The description of the MIS will involve but should not be limited to the following;
  • The features or modules (functionality) available in the FMIS (built in accounting systems, contract management, pricing management, traceability, weather records, supplier management, crop management, farmer communication etc.)
  • Number of users that the system supports (number of farmers and number of farms supported)
  • The deployment of the system (web based, installed or smart phone or basic phone based)
  • The pricing for the system, is it a fixed annual charge, fee per farmer, fee per user, any incentives offered etc.
  • User friendliness and feedback from existing users.
  • Audit trail, backup and recovery.
  • User rights/ access / authentication.
  • System integration with existing hardware/software infrastructure.
  • Are System updates free or done at an extra cost.
  • Report generation – does the system have different reports that allow for in depth evaluation of the enterprise activities and assist in management decision making.
  • Ease of data sharing with other ecosystem player (using APIs etc.)
  • Develop easy to use brochure or catalogue presenting the different FMIS solutions and recommendations on the suitability of each of the system to small, medium, and large agricultural enterprises. The catalogue should be visually rich with infographics and tables.
  • Organize a stakeholders’ workshop to present the findings of the report

Methodology

  • Discovery phase – Get information on all systems available in the countries, contacts and basic information of the service providers. This will result in a longlist.
  • Contact the FMIS providers to check their willingness to be included in the catalogue. In exchange they will need to provide data and participate in the validation workshop.
  • Map the farmer management systems in terms of value chains covered, functionality, acquisition costs, number of farmers that can be managed, system modules etc.

On the basis of the long list, AGRA and IDH will be consulted to agree on a short list of 15 systems that will be more deeply analyzed for the catalogue.

  • Develop dimensions for comparing the short listed solutions (architecture, commercial model, user friendliness, back up/help desk services)
  • Categorize systems by architecture e.g. cloud based systems vs server based, smart phone dependent vs basic phone etc.
  • Categorize systems by commercial model (subscription based, incident based solutions, subscription per farmer, subscription per year etc.)
  • Conduct user interviews using questionnaires for vendors, users, for partners etc.
  • Develop a scoring on different aspects per FMIS solution: what is good about the FMIS what are less developed features?
  • Set up virtual workshops (through web based call) with the FMIS providers to validate the categorization and survey findings
  • Organize a dissemination event to test the usefulness of the catalogue and propose a dissemination strategy.

Output and Deliverables

  • First report is the long list of FMIS with a proposal for selection of the 15 solutions -20%
  • Report on the 15 FMIS systems validated by the providers – 40%
  • Final catalogue and event – 40%

Application submission requirements

The proposal should include:

Technical Proposal

  • Relevant experience related to the assignment;
  • Understanding and interpretation of the terms of references;
  • Methodology to be used in undertaking the assignment;
  • Curriculum Vitae of key personnel;
  • Time and activity schedule.

Financial Proposal

  • A breakdown of the financial proposal in USD indicating daily rate for each of the proposed experts, time input and all applicable reimbursable expenses (international and/or local transport, accommodation as applicable);
  • All applicable taxes (VAT and withholding taxes) should be quoted separately;
  • If the financial proposal is silent on taxes, AGRA shall assume that these are inclusive;
  • Other costs, e.g. accommodation, travel, support staff, printing and other incidental costs will be reimbursed based on the actual costs incurred.

Note that the financial proposal should be password protected.

  1. Period of Performance

The assessment will be undertaken in maximum of 50 days in three phases;

Phase 1 (10 days)

  • The discovery phase
  • Development of criteria
  • Long list plus suggested short list

Phase 2 (30 days)

  • Assessment of 15 solutions
  • Service providers and users’ interviews

Phase 3 (10 days)

  • Development of Catalogue
  • Validation interviews
  • Stakeholder workshop
  1. Criteria for Evaluation

The following criteria should be used during technical evaluation:

  • Specific experience of the Consultant (as a firm) relevant to the Assignment: – 10%

Adequacy and quality of the proposed methodology, and work plan in responding to the Terms of Reference (TORs):

B.1 Technical approach and methodology:     (30 %)

B.2 Work plan:                                                    (5%)

B.3 Organization and staffing:                        (5%)

Total weight for criterion (B):                                                      [40%]

  1. Key Experts’ qualifications and competence for the Assignment (specify key experts required for the assignment, three or more depending on the assignment):

Team Leader:                                                  (20%)

Expert 2 (specify title)                                     (15%)

Expert 3 (specify title)                                     (15%)

Total weight for criterion (C):                         [50%]

NB:

  1. Only proposals with a technical score above 70% shall be considered for financial opening
  2. Presentations from the best consultants may be considered
  • Procedure for application:

Interested consultancy firms are requested to submit separately their technical and financial proposals to procurement@agra.org by 5:00PM on May 17th, 2019.

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