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RFP: Co-develop farming-system specific, extension content for enhancing climate change adaptation and resilient food systems in three representative farming systems of Africa

Synopsis of the Request for Proposal

Solicitation Reference No.RFP/078/RES/2022
Title of SolicitationCo-develop farming-system specific,  extension content for enhancing climate change adaptation and resilient food systems in three representative farming systems of Africa
Work StreamSustainable Farming
Issuing Office & AddressAlliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Website: www.agra.org
Point of contact for clarifications, questionsAGRA General Procurement, Procurement@agra.org
Email Address for submission of ProposalsAGRA General Procurement, Procurement@agra.org
Location of the assignmentRegional (Sub Saharan Africa)
Solicitation Issue DateJune 6, 2022
Deadline for submission questions and clarificationsJune 13, 2022 5:00PM East African Time
Confirmation of interest in this consultancyInterested consultants/bidders are requested to register on the link below by June 13, 2022, 5:00PM EAT.   Any additional communication will be shared with those that will have registered on the link below.   For Registration Link click: HERE
Deadline for Answering questions and clarificationsJune 15, 2022 5:00PM, East African Time
Deadline for Submission of ProposalsJuly 1, 2022 5:00PM, East African Time.   Please include the subject line “RFP/078/RES/2022” of the email.
Type of consultantConsultancy Firm
Anticipated Award TypeCONSULTANCY AGREEMENT
Procurement MethodQuality Based Selection (QBS)
Evaluation CriteriaMandatory Eligibility Requirements:
a) Company profile.
b) Trading license or Certificate of incorporation or Certificate of Registration
c) Tax clearance certificate (Applicable to firms originating from Kenya, Rwanda, Ghana, Tanzania, and Mozambique).
d) Three reference letters of similar work carried out.
e) CVs of key personnel.  
Evaluation Criteria
a) Organizational Capacity ………………………………………………………………………………….10%
b) Experience in similar assignments …………………………………………………………….…….25%
c) Proposed approach, methodology and workplan………………………………………………..25%
d) Experience and qualifications of key personnel …………………………………………………40%  Total:………………………………………………………………………………….100%  
NB.
Minimum technical pass mark for technical evaluation is 75% AGRA will negotiate with the firm that attains the best technical score

TERMS OF REFFERENCE

“CO-DEVELOP FARMING-SYSTEM SPECIFIC, EXTENSION CONTENT FOR ENHANCING CLIMATE CHANGE ADAPTATION AND RESILIENT FOOD SYSTEMS IN THREE REPRESENTATIVE FARMING SYSTEMS OF AFRICA”

1.     Introduction

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is a dynamic, African-led partnership that is working to put the smallholder farmer at the center of economic development in the continent. In the just completed strategy (2017-2021, PIATA 1)) AGRA sought to catalyze an agricultural transformation in eleven (11) key focus countries, namely: Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. AGRA’s overall goal is to catalyze and sustain an Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa to increase incomes and improve food security of at least 30 million smallholder-farming households with a set of targeted catalytic downstream and systemic investments coupled with government engagement made through its alliance of partners. 

2.    Background of the Assignment

Last mile delivery of knowledge, inputs and markets has been a challenge in African agriculture due to weak extension systems that are not able to reach small holder farmers. Public sector driven extension systems in most African countries have been severely weakened since early 1990s due to weak funding allocation by Governments. Extension worker to farmer rations of 1:3000 or even up to 10000 farmers are common in many sub-Saharan Africa countries. Over the past four years, AGRA’s partners strengthened the Extension Systems through the identification and training of self-employed VBAs to teach farmers about the value of improved crop varieties, improved fertilizer blends, and good agronomic practices to improve the productivity of key staple food crops (mainly maize) in their farming systems. We supported VBAs to get basic knowledge and skills to support farmers adopt good agronomic practices for major staples. However, the available extension contents are not only biased towards maize, but these are also rarely integrating crop production with natural resources conservation, climate change adaptation, and land restoration. With climate change and increasing food demand due to population increase, there is a need to employ more integrated and diversified farming that could lead towards sustainable farming.

Sustainable farming, which is linking farms with healthy ecosystems, demands growing a wide range of crops including fruit trees, vegetables, and drought-tolerant crops to ensure production of food and generation of income during periodic droughts (adaptation to climate shocks and stresses). It, therefore, involves crop diversification from key staple food crops to other preferred crops within their farming systems.  Crops including root and tuber crops such as yams, cassava, and sweet potato, oilseed crops such as sunflower, and sesame, legumes such as groundnuts, vegetable crops, and tree crops will minimize climate risks. The inclusion of these crops, as well as livestock (e.g., poultry) can assist farmers to reduce the risks of climate shocks and stresses while improving farm productivity. Given the diversity of farming systems in Africa, and most of our target countries lie in the Maize-based, Sorghum-millet-based and dry crop-livestock-based farming systems, there is a need to develop context-specific and easy-to-use extension content along with availing technological options for farmers to innovate and integrate the best fitting solutions to their local situations.

Extension content, therefore, needs to be revised and institutionalized to promote the concepts of sustainable farming, adapt to climate change and tailored to meet the diverse needs of farmers in these diverse farming systems. The farming system-specific extension content should be tailored to meet farmers’ needs, which include the following:

·       Farmers need advice on agronomic practices to improve integrated soil fertility and water management solutions. Ideally, fields should be manured and fertilized with the appropriate plant nutrients to prevent nutrient depletion and limed to prevent acidification.

·       Fields should be tilled in ways (e.g., deep/reduced tillage) that do not degrade soil structure and conserve soil moisture. Fields should be rotated to prevent the build-up of pests and diseases and to enable succeeding cereal and root and tuber crops to benefit from carry-over of biological N fixation.

·       Farmers also need information on harvest and post-harvest crop management methods, including standards, to ensure the production of quality grains required by the market. They also need information on the best methods for control of post-harvest storage losses to ensure food security.

·       For vegetable production, farmers need information on IPM, and safe and effective control of pests and diseases to ensure safe, and quality production of fresh produce for the market.

·       Farmers also need information on appropriate mechanization for production, post-harvest handling, and value addition of their produce. Mechanization includes small-scale irrigation equipment to supplement rain-fed crop production

 

This work proposes to develop targeted, localized, farming system-specific agricultural extension content in three countries (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Tanzania) representing the following farming systems which form approximately 70-% of sub-Saharan Africa and are in the breadbasket zones of most of the countries. These farming systems also need to be addressed to ensure farmers’ needs for sustainable farming:

a.     Maize-based farming, which is dominated by maize with medium access to services in subhumid areas of East, Central and Southern Africa (Tanzania).

b.     Mixed crop-livestock farming found in semi-arid (medium to low rainfall) areas of Africa, typically with low access to services. It includes the dryland mixed farming system of the Sahelian region with sorghum and millet, and with livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats). – Burkina Faso

c.     Highland mixed farming, which is dominated by small grains and livestock, found predominantly in subhumid north-east Africa with pockets in Southern, West and North Africa (Ethiopia).

 

It is against the above background that AGRA seeks the services of a Consulting Organization/Consultants with experience in research/extension linkages and the development of context-specific extension materials and guidelines. The Organization will work to implement the assignment with the support of the AGRA HQ and Country teams. This investment will contribute to a global public good content availability, accessibility, and usability and strengthen extension systems for smallholder farmers in the particular countries. This investment will also contribute to the achievement of multiple goals of improving the production and profitability of small-holder farmers, managing climate and market risks, and enhancing soil health through strengthening the extension systems.

 

3.    Objective of the assignment

The two major objectives of this consultancy are to:

  1. Co-create and validate farming system specific, targeted extension content for sustainable farming that responds to climate change for potential use by VBAs and other extension service providers in target countries; and
  2. Package, avail and institutionalize context-specific extension content to extension service providers aligned to priority information needs of farmers for potential use in target countries.
  • Description and Scope of work and tasks

This investment will provide appropriate and agricultural extension content for Extension Service Providers in Burkina Faso, Tanzania, and Ethiopia (that can be context adapted to similar farming systems in sub–Saharan Africa) to advise small-holder farmers on sustainably increasing productivity and incomes in AGRA 3.0.  The tasks include:

  1. Conduct focus group discussions with farmers, CBAs, and Extension agents to assess the components of their farming system, their constraints, current practices, and their needs for extension within the framework of sustainable farming.
  2. Review and assess existing extension content from Stakeholders involved in research and extension e.g., Government, private sector Companies, NARS/One CG, NGOs to ensure inclusion of climate adaptation, relevance, and readiness for utilization by small scale producers
  3. Inventorize and create key partnerships in the extension sector, and review capabilities and extension content of service providers involved in extension, and assess their needs in terms of content and format
  4. Work with National Research and Extension Units within the Directorates of Extension within the Ministries of Agriculture to improve the existing extension material including sustainable farming methods that responds to climate change as well as develop practical and adoptable extension content for use by Government/NGO Extension Agents, CBAs, and other extensions, including digital, service providers.
  5. Validate content and any decision support tools used by farmers with Government Extension Directorates, and Extension Service Providers by working with representative farmers, Extension Agents, CBAs, and NGOs, and private sector companies to ensure content is correct, relevant, accurate and can be easily adopted.
  6. Revise Extension content, leading towards diversified and sustainable production systems
  7. Hold National workshops to validate, finetune and share content with Research and Extension Stakeholders, including local AFAAS Country Chapters
  8. Make recommendations for future co-ordination of development and sharing of extension content, and periodic review and updating of extension content

5.    Expected Key Outputs/Outcomes

  1. Context-specific, integrated extension content for sustainable agriculture in three distinct farming systems developed and validated with representative farmers and updated for potential use by extension service providers in target countries, during AGRA 3.0
  2. Establish key partnerships for context-specific extension content development, packaging, and dissemination to extension service providers for potential use by extension service providers in target countries, and for immediate use by AGRA 3.0
  3. Deliver content through easy to use and pre-existing channels and formats (e.g., excel, paper based or pre-existing digital solutions) to promote context-specific (based on their farming system) agronomic advisories to farmers with actionable insights. This service should give farmers access to relevant recommendations that they can adopt.
  4. Publish a comprehensive and localized extension content with sustainable farming and climate smart practices through a range of partners including NARS and Directorates of Extension in the Ministries of Agriculture.
  5. Provide a plan for marketing and ensuring use of the extension materials by other players such as One CG, Sprout, and private sector actors.  The plan is to avail and promote the content widely-and link private sector actors to agricultural research data. This approach will stimulate innovation and development on new services and products that addresses the pain points of the different value chain actors

Attached in the Annex D Partners/Collaborators/Leveraging Opportunities is a list of proposed stakeholders to be engaged. The consultant is not limited only to the names on the list.

6.    Proposed Timetable and Duration of the Assignment

The assignment is estimated to last for a period of 5 months running from July- November 2022

Table I: Project Deliverables and Proposed Time Frame

Deliverable/EventIndicative Date
Deliverable 1: Inception report (max 20 pages): outlining the methods, key stakeholders to be consulted and timelinesAugust 2022
Deliverable 2: Draft Zero Report to AGRA: includes all expected outputs and findings of the tasks listed aboveSeptember 2022
Deliverable 3: Stakeholder consultation workshops in each of the 3 countries: to validate the draft ReportOctober 2022
Deliverable 4: Final Report to AGRA: incorporates comments from stakeholders and AGRANovember 2022

7.    Proposed Payment Plan

Below is the proposed payment schedule for the assignment.

  • Deliverable 1: 20%
  • Deliverable 2: 30%
  • Deliverable 3: 20%
  • Deliverable 4: 30%

8.    Location and nature of the assignment

The assignment should be carried out as per the schedule above in Burkina Faso, Ethiopia and Tanzania and the consultant is required to work closely with the Sustainable Farming Team at AGRA and specifically the Extension and Capacity Building Unit, providing an input to the ongoing AGRA strategy. It is expected that the consultants will have in country experts to support in the implantation of this assignment.  The language of the materials and reports is English.

9.    Reporting arrangements

The consultancy team shall report to the Head, Resilience, Climate & Soil Fertility at AGRA, who will coordinate consultations and feedback within AGRA. AGRA will be the final authority to control the quality and evaluate the work. The satisfactory completion of each of the deliverables shall be subject to the endorsement of the Vice President of PID at AGRA. Each deliverable will be delivered in a draft for comments and feedback before finalization

10. Copyright

All materials / documents arising out of this consultancy work shall remain the property of AGRA.  No reports or documents should be published or distributed to third parties without the approval of AGRA.

11.  Qualifications and Requirements of the firm/Consultant

The assignment will be carried out by a consulting firm that has expertise in agriculture, extension capacity building, and seed systems. Successful firm must present a team that demonstrate the key expertise: The consulting firm should have in-country experts for work in the 3 countries/Farming Systems for successful implementation of this assignment. The Consulting entity should have an overall Lead Consultant cum Team Leader, with each farming system having a Lead Consultant supported by experts relevant to the assignment. The Overall Lead Consultant can also double up as one of the Farming Systems Lead Consultant.

  1. Team Leader: Overall Lead Consultant/Farming System Lead Consultant:
    • development of extension and training materials, mass communication, agribusiness development and/or Input distribution Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Sustainable farming, environment and climate change knowledge is critical
    • Proven experience in management skills and teamwork
    • Proven development experience in Africa, particularly in understanding challenges and opportunities for agricultural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa.
    • Recognized expertise in Research/Extension linkages and the development of extension materials including digitization of content
    • Languages: fluency in spoken and written English is essential as the language of the materials and reports is English. Knowledge of French will be an added advantage
  1. In Country managers (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Tanzania):
    • A minimum of a Bachelor’s degree (Master’s degree will be an asset) relevant to the thematic area (e.g., Extension systems, Agriculture, Agronomy, Farming systems, Environment, Agribusiness, Mass Communication or other relevant qualification)
    • At least ten years of proven working experience in development of extension and training materials, an agribusiness development and/or Input distribution Systems in Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Proven development experience in Africa, particularly in understanding challenges and opportunities for agricultural transformation in Sub-Saharan Africa including sustainable farming.
    • Recognized expertise in the development of extension materials including digitization of content
    • Languages: fluency in spoken and written English is essential as the language of the materials and reports is English. Knowledge of French will be an added advantage

12. Evaluation Criteria

Interested firms shall be evaluated against the following technical criteria:

  1. Organizational Capacity……………………………………………………………………..10%

Company profile, company accreditations and certifications.

  • Firm’s Experience in in similar assignments…….……………...……………………..25%
    • Have over 10 years of experience in similar assignments
    • Experience in Sub–Saharan Africa
    • General experience in related services or projects.
    • List of current and past clients/references/agreements and their contact details.
    • Proposed approach, methodology and work plan…………………………………….25%

Understanding of the project/assignment requirements, practicality of the proposed methodology relative to the context of the assignment, proposed work plan, staffing schedule, risk assessment and mitigation strategies integrated into the assignment, planning, appropriateness of the implementation schedule to the project timelines and project quality assurance measures.

  • Experience and Qualification of key personnel……………………………………….40%Team leader- (25%)In-countries manager (Burkina Faso, Ethiopia, and Tanzania): (15%)

               Total Score…………………………………………………………………………………………100%

Note:

Selection Method – Quality Based Selection Method (QBS)

13. Application Submission Requirements 

  1. Technical Proposal
    1. Firms’ registration documents Company profile, Certifications, and accreditations.
    1. Proposed Methodology, approach and workplan with clear timelines.
    1. Detailed reference list indicating the scope and magnitude of similar assignments carried out. 
    1. Proposed key staff, their roles including their CVs, academic and professional certificates.
    1. The technical proposal shall not exceed 20 pages. CVs and copies of academic certificates may be attached as annexes.
  • Financial Proposal 
  • The firm shall provide a financial proposal for carrying out the assignment. The breakdown of unit and total fees per person (for each proposed consultant) shall be provided. Use the templates provided under Annexes A, B and C for the financial proposal.
  • Reimbursable costs if applicable shall be quoted separately.  These will be reimbursed based on actual cost incurred.
  • Professional Fee quoted shall include all applicable Withholding TAX.
  • VAT shall be quoted separately and is only applicable to firms registered in the following countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, and Mozambique).
  • If the financial proposal is silent on taxes, AGRA shall assume that these are inclusive.
  • Prices must be quoted in USD ($). Contracting and Payment will be made in USD and bidders are encouraged to have a USD bank accounts
  • The financial proposal shall be sent as a separate attachment and MUST be password protected.

14. Guidelines for Preparations and Submission of Proposals 

  1. The Proposals shall be prepared in English Language.
  2. The proposals SHALL be submitted to procurement@agra.org by the deadline indicated in the synopsis.
  3. The technical proposal shall not exceed 20 pages.
  4. The proposal and ALL Attachments submitted via email SHALL NOT exceed 10MB.
  5. VALIDITY of the proposal shall be for a period of 90 days from the date of bid closure. 
  6. Financial proposal shall be sent as a separate attachment and MUST be password protected. The password shall be requested from firms that meet the minimum technical score of 75%).

Download Full RFP:

https://agra.org/wp-content/uploads/2022/06/RFP-078-RES-2022-Codevelopment-of-farming-systems-1.docx