RFCN: Agricultural Transformation in Nigeria to increase yields, resilience and improved food security for smallholder farmers


About AGRA: The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is a not-for-profit organization working with African Governments, other donors, NGOs, private sector, and African Farmers to improve the productivity and incomes of resources poor smallholder farmers significantly and sustainably in Africa. AGRA has its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya and country offices in Ghana, Nigeria, Mali and Burkina Faso in West Africa.  AGRA and its partners aim to develop capacities of key actors (government, private sector, and others) at state and national level to integrate both sustainability and resiliency in staple food crops value chains. This is being done through selected staple crop value chains using consortia approach through which sustainable and resilient practices will be integrated using catalytic action and technical assistance. The program will catalyze resilient, sustainable, and responsive smallholder agriculture systems that provide for both people and planet.

The Grant Funding Opportunity 

Through the funding of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) via  KfW, the grants AGRA 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. 

Grant Intervention Areas

This is a call for concept notes for projects addressing sustainable agricultural transformation in Nigeria to increase yields, resilience and improved food security for smallholder farmers focusing on resilience, sustainability, production, and marketing constraints of selected staple food crops. The call is open to implementing organizations in Nigeria focusing on Kaduna and Niger States.

  • Grants may support any of the following issues (list not exhaustive) scaling up production of staples (Maize, Rice, Soybean, Cowpea & Vegetables) 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 through provision of extension advisory services to the farmers.
  • Promote the adoption of water harvesting technologies and the efficient use of the water on farms – for enhancing productivity and conservation.
  • 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.
  • strengthen functional markets, finances, information and risk mitigation measures by farmers and other value chain actors.
  • Strengthen MSME’s capacity (particularly women and youth owned) along the focus value chains.
  • Establishing and/or strengthening of private sector linkages between lead firms and/or offtakers engaging with small-scale farmers for more predictable markets.
  • Development and dissemination of knowledge products on project experiences including lessons and scaling up of practices with the policy makers and private sector actors.

Structure and Purpose of the Grants

Interested, experienced and competent organizations are invited to submit concept notes for a 36 months project implementation period. Responses to this call for expression of interest should clearly demonstrate how they will effectively integrate private sector and natural resources management in the 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 sustainable production and processing. 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 or both states.

This request for grant concepts applications will remain open till 2nd March 2021 before 23:59 hours Western Africa Time (WAT).  Interested organizations/institutions must submit before the final deadline; Grant concept applications made after the final deadline of 2nd March 2021 will not be considered. Organizations wishing to respond to this expression of interest are invited to use the attached AGRA grant concept- provided here:

Eligibility Requirements

Organizations contemplating submission of applications in response to this request for concept notes (RFCNs) must determine whether they meet the following requirements to be eligible for AGRA financial assistance:

  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 Nigeria.
  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 Nigeria; experience in natural resources management, climate change, SME development and working with national institutions.
  4. The organization should be operational, hold a valid and current registration in Nigeria.
  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
  7. Organization must have accounting systems acceptable to AGRA and corporate integrity/ethics.
  8. Organization must not be excluded from the eligibility to receive AGRA’s donor-provided funds.
  9. Can be a governmental, non-governmental or private institution.

If an institution/organization meets the above eligibility criteria, AGRA will 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 and its donor strict accountability and audit requirements.

Priority will be given to concepts that demonstrate strategic collaboration across the whole value chain of the above-mentioned crops through working consortium approaches and catalytic to transform Nigeria’s agriculture.

Environment and Social Management

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

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 2nd March 2021 before 23:59 hours, Western Africa Time (WAT). 

Kindly indicate the following reference in the Subject Section of your email: PID/RFCN/NG 01/2021 Agricultural Transformation in Nigeria to increase yields, resilience, and improved food security for smallholder farmers. Template for the concept note can be downloaded here:

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 State of interest in the application and elaborate the methodology including how each of the tasks will be executed.
  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 Nigeria and attach their CVs.

Application Review Information

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

  1. Immediate impact of innovation, Level of private sector engagement, Technical capabilities of applicants and their identified partners to deliver the proposed project in a timely manner, Gender, and youth inclusion.
  2. 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.