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RFP: DEVELOPMENT OF MARKET INFORMATION SYSTEMS

RFP/00947/RFT/2020

Synopsis of the Request for Proposal (Consultancy Firms)

Solicitation Reference No.RFP/00947/RFT/2020  
Title of SolicitationStrengthening data collection and analysis of food production, storage, trade, consumption and prices
Issuing Office & AddressAlliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Website: www.agra.org
Point of contact for clarifications, questions and ammendmentsAGRA General Procurement, Procurement@agra.org
Email Address for submission of Proposals/ QuotesAGRA General Procurement, Procurement@agra.org
Solicitation Issue DateJuly 6th , 2020
Deadline for submission questions and clarificationsJuly 14th , 2020 1700 hours, East African Time
Deadline for Answering questions and clarificationsJuly 17th, 2020
Deadline for Submission of ProposalsJuly 27th , 2020 1700 hours, East African Time  
Anticipated Award TypeCONSULTANCY AGREEMENT
Submission and Evaluation CriteriaBidder must provide the below listed information in the submitted proposal:   Mandatory Eligibility Requirement: Certificate of Incorporation/Registration Valid tax clearance certificates CVs of key personnel Reference letters   Evaluation Criteria summary: Experience in similar assignments and Organizational capacity – 30% Proposed methodology and work plan for carrying out the assignment – 30% Key personnel – 40%   Weightage Technical Proposal will be weighted out of 80% Financial Proposal will be weighted out of 20%   NB. Only bidders who score above 75% of the technical score will be appraised for financial review.  

Terms of Reference

Strengthening data collection and analysis of food production, storage, trade, consumption and prices

Introduction

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19), first detected in Wuhan City, China in late 2019 has continued to steadily increase in many African countries since the first case was detected in the continent in February 2020. As of 14th May 2020, all countries in Africa had reported COVID-19 infections with 74 697 confirmed cases, 2 519 deaths and 26 521 recoveries. Figure 3 presents the summary COVID-19 cases and government measures in selected countries of interest to the AGRA’s Regional Food Trade and Resilience Initiative (RFTRI) as of 14th May 2020. 

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak added to the multiple challenges that African food systems are already grappling with, namely; climate change and variability (including extreme events like droughts and flooding), rapid urbanisation, food and nutrition insecurity, and the desert locust upsurge (especially in East Africa). In addition, the COVID-19 pandemic shock and related mitigation measures triggered disruptions in food systems impacting various stages of food value chains from input supply and production through to food distribution and consumption. Some notable effects of the pandemic and related mitigation measures have been on the availability and accessibility to key factors of agricultural production such as farm labour, seeds, fertilizer and chemicals particularly in regions that are preparing for their new cropping seasons (such as in parts of East and West Africa) (AGRA, 2020). These COVID-19 induced disruptions are expected to result in reduced levels of food production and food availability in some countries across sub-Saharan Africa. This will further have amplified risks in the food systems leading to potential significant negative impacts on food and nutrition security; particularly in areas already experiencing Stressed (IPC Phase 2+) conditions of food and nutrition insecurity. The resultant reduced food availability has led to some localised food price increases which have negatively impacted food access, particularly among low income households (UNCTAD, 2020). Despite stable supplies in global cereal markets, COVID-19 induced behavioural changes such as government protectionist/restrictive trade measures (e.g. in strategic surplus regions/countries) and panic buying have disrupted supply chains affecting functioning of food markets. Increasing government bulk food procurement for food security and nutrition support programmes are likely to increase upward pressure on food prices leading to localised food price spikes (WFP, 2020). The upsurge in food demand and logistical disruptions in regional food movement from surplus to deficit regions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are threatening the food situation, particularly in food import dependent countries. The UNCTAD (2020) estimates that due to the COVID-19 pandemic shock global trade values declined by 3% in the first quarter of 2020 and a 27% quarter-on-quarter decline is expected in the second quarter. Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic shock is threatening food crises in food deficit areas that heavily depend on markets, which could result in food shortages and price spikes. The combined effects of food crises and the pandemic shock will seriously impact on food and nutrition security especially of the already vulnerable populations in many parts of Africa.

The primary and secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are resulting in significant livelihood and financial losses for actors along affected supply chains, leading to significant losses of purchasing power and high levels of business insolvency. For low income countries where a significant share of the household income is spent on food, aggregate food demand may decrease due to income losses. The demand for cereals is less income elastic and may not be significantly affected by the income shocks induced by COVID-19. However, the demand for expensive and nutritious food such as meats, fruit, dairy products, and vegetables will reduce as households opt for cheaper food options (especially staples) affecting food nutrition security (AGRA, 2020). Overall, both physical and economic access to nutritionally balanced foods will become increasingly difficult for the poor; disproportionately impacting on women and children in sub-Saharan Africa.

In addition to ensuring that measures for containing the spread of COVID-19 are better coordinated and are informed by market dynamics they should adequately integrate resilience and sustainability of food systems and supply chains during and beyond the pandemic. This includes ensuring food systems and supply chain disruptions are minimised and adequate support measures are provided to facilitate sustainable operations across the different stages of food supply chains at the local, national and regional levels. The impacts of COVID-19 on different sectors of the economy, including agriculture, requires governments to take deliberate moves to support investments in agriculture to build resilient and productive local food systems, especially targeting active participation of smallholder farmers. Platforms of state and non-state actors are needed to advocate for increased investments to improve and sustain productivity and resilience in agricultural food value chains.

Rationale of the project

Secondary impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic are being worsened by increasingly knee-jerk and uncoordinated policy decisions by national governments, based on panic, speculation and a dearth of hard evidence. The implementation of these knee jerk and uncoordinated government policies and regulations in food markets are in part due to lack of credible market information systems which provide governments with an indication of the status of the market including the amount of food commodities available in the market as well as the prevailing market prices. Agricultural market information systems can be useful policy decision making tools that can enable governments to make better coordinated and informed market regulation and intervention decisions. In addition to helping governments implement more transparent and predictable market regulation policies, access to tailored, appropriate, and timely market information and intelligence enables food systems actors including smallholder farmers to engage in informed production and marketing activities. Market information that is up-to-date and current enables farmers to negotiate with marketers and secondary value chain participants from a greater position of strength. In addition, well-analysed historical market information also supports farmers with farm planning such as to align production decision making with market demand patterns trends, quality, price, and the time that produce is demanded. However, in most developing countries, functional agricultural market information systems that offer access to appropriate and timely agricultural market data are either non-existent or underdeveloped. Reasons for this are numerous and while they vary across countries, they generally include the following:

  • Lack of capacity by governments to collect and disseminate agricultural market information due to limited financial and human resources.
  • Limited capacity to collect, analyse/interpret and disseminate sufficient market data due to outdated methods and data collection infrastructure, as well as lack of skills to analyse data.  In most developing countries, data collection has traditionally been carried out using paper-based methods. Such methods are often inefficient, unreliable, lengthy and prone to error.
  • Lack of a national coordinating unit that coordinates and manages the collection and dissemination of agricultural market information.
  • There are also challenges related to disseminating and downscaling the market data to local levels, such as districts or villages with information that can be understood and used by smallholder farmers to inform their production and marketing decisions. It is insufficient to supply farmers with market information alone. In addition to market prices, farmers require assistance with interpreting this information and trained extension workers to supply such advice. Farmers require support to understand why prices change, such as by developing an understanding of supply and demand.

The lack of access to quality, timely and credible market information systems in developing countries necessitates establishing and/or strengthening agricultural market information systems, which will put in place high-quality market data systems and ensure that the systems have the right governance frameworks to turn data into valuable information for policy makers and value chain actors such as smallholder farmers.

The Regional Food Trade and Resilience Initiative is re-focusing efforts in order to mitigate the secondary effects of COVID-19 on food trade systems. The principal aim is to ensure the relatively unfettered flow of key foods from surplus to deficit areas of production in sub-Saharan Africa, reduce price inflationary tendencies, and support essential but economically vulnerable actors along priority regional value chains. Therefore, more agile Market Information Systems for food price and stock are urgently required. The timely and transparent dissemination of food price and market information is essential for: a) improving government regulation of food markets; b) preventing panic buying of consumers; c) helping farmers make rational production-level decisions (Fan, 2020); and d) avoiding food supply speculations in the market. Food price monitoring of critical food basket commodities should be conducted on a regular basis. While there are several actors (FAO, FEWSNET, EAGC, CILSS etc.) collecting market information, significant challenges exist regarding the validity, and relevance of data, and the significant time-lag between its collection and dissemination. Leveraging AGRA’s network of country partners and a team of external enumerators, for the next 3-6 months, the RFTRI proposes to collect and analyse food price, food trade volumes, food trade and food stock information on close to real-time basis. This information will help provide a clearer picture of food security dynamics across the region during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Objectives of the assignment

The main objective of this assignment is to strengthen data collection, forecasting and monitoring of food security situation and policies at country level.  This will be done through the development of an agile Market Information System for close to real-time collecting and monitoring of food price, stocks and trade information for selected key food crops/products and selected countries in East, Southern and West Africa. Ultimately, this will help provide a clearer picture of food security dynamics and will contribute to improved predictability and transparency of agricultural market regulation polices in East, Southern and West Africa during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The specific objectives of the agricultural market information systems are to:

  • Collect food price, production and stocks, and trade information for key value chains on close to real-time basis for a period of 6 months.
  • Analyse the data and information to bring a clearer picture of changes in the identified value chains and food security dynamics in the selected countries.
  • Forecast and provide a near future (1-3 months) outlook in food prices and stocks for selected key food crops/products.
  • Document underlying factors driving significant changes in food prices and stocks for selected key food crops/products.
  • Document evidence of significant impacts of changes in food prices etc. on physical and economic access to nutritionally balanced foods among the vulnerable population (including women and children).
  • Provide tactical and strategic recommendations for AGRA’s interventions to facilitate relatively unfettered flow of key foods from surplus to deficit areas of production, reduce price inflationary tendencies, and support essential but economically vulnerable actors along priority regional value chains.
  • Develop and regularly update a food price, stock and trade information portal to monitor changes of these variables during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Address gaps in providing quality, timely and credible market information to facilitate informed decision making by different food value chains actors.

Scope of work

The assignment will prioritise food shortage hotspots that include Kenya and Sahel region initially focusing on food security hotspots and countries that have expressed a need for establishing agricultural market information systems. The focus countries include East Africa (Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Sudan); Southern Africa (Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe); and West Africa (Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali).  The focus food crops/products or value chains will be determined by the rapid COVID-19 country analysis study.

For each of the focus countries, working closely with AGRA’s Regional Food Trade and Resilience Unit, the selected service provider is expected to develop an agile Market Information System for close to real-time collecting and monitoring of food price, stocks and trade information for selected key food crops/products and selected countries in East, Southern and West Africa. The key activities to be undertaken as part of the development of the market information system include:

  • For the identified key food crops/products, collect close to real-time information on wholesale and retail prices on a weekly or bi-weekly basis.  
  • Track changes and adequacy in national stocks of selected key food crops/products to sustain national demand on a weekly or bi-weekly basis
  • Develop a credible model to forecast and produce a near future (1-3 months) outlook of food prices and stocks for selected food crops/products.
  • Develop and regularly update a food price, stock and trade information on the Regional Food Trade Programme Knowledge Management portal to widely share the collected information and related analytical reports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Document and analyse significant COVID-19 induced market disruptions/impacts on activities and actors in the selected food crop/product value chain stages: input production and supply, production, harvesting and storage, aggregation and trade, wholesale/retail and distribution, and consumption (including changes with significant impacts on vulnerable populations).
  • Develop a bi-weekly status report documenting significant changes in the tracked variables above and underlying factors contributing to the identified changes (as well as COVID-19 and related mitigation measures induced changes). Reports should also document and profile evidence of significant impacts of changes in food stocks, prices and other variables on food and nutrition security of vulnerable groups such as women and children, blue collar and informal workers etc.
  • In collaboration with national governments across the focus countries and using lessons learnt during the data collection, analysis and dissemination process over the six months period, co-develop three regional agricultural market information frameworks for East, South and West Africa regions which will guide data collection and analysis at country level after the project intervention. Co-development of the frameworks with national governments will ensure buy in of the frameworks early in the process which will be critical for adoption of the frameworks by governments after programme exit. 
  • Capacity building of government and other relevant key market information stakeholders including the Regional Food Trade Unit to maintain the data collection, analysis, forecasting and dissemination process after the project intervention. This includes strengthening ability to process and interpret market data and conducting forecasts for market early warning purposes. This capacity building exercise will also contribute towards the sustainability of the market information systems as it allows stakeholders to continue with the data collection process after project exit.
  • Draft a project close out report detailing lessons learnt based on the evidence gathered during project implementation providing tactical and strategic recommendations for AGRA’s interventions to use market information systems as tools to facilitate relatively unfettered flow of key foods from surplus to deficit areas of production, reduce price inflationary tendencies, and support essential but economically vulnerable actors along priority regional value chains.

Expected outputs/ deliverables

The following outputs/ deliverables are expected from the successful technical partner/s:

  • Inception report detailing understanding of the task, methods and work plan
  • Weekly data, information and forecast on food price, stocks and trade information for selected key food crops/products and selected countries in East, Southern and West Africa.
  • Weekly data and evidence of significant COVID-19 induced market disruptions/impacts on activities and actors in the selected food crop/product value chain stages: input production and supply, production, harvesting and storage, aggregation and trade, wholesale/retail and distribution, and consumption (including changes with significant impacts on vulnerable populations).
  • Weekly evidence/information of significant impacts of changes in food prices etc. on food and nutrition security of vulnerable groups such as women and children, blue collar and informal workers etc.
  • A food price, stock and trade information portal on the Regional Food Trae Programme Knowledge Management Portal to widely share the collected information and related analytical reports during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Monthly technical report, for six months, summarising key changes in the above variables and underlying factors driving the identified changes. 
  • Three regional agricultural market information frameworks for East, South and West Africa regions.

All deliverables should be succinct but informative, and key points should be easily understandable to a wide range of stakeholders. Deliverables should be submitted in English

Implementation Approach/ Methodology

The assignment will involve development of an agile Market Information System that addresses the gaps of existing information systems to deliver close to real-time collecting and monitoring of food price, stocks and trade information for selected key food crops/products and selected countries in East, Southern and West Africa. The successful partner/s are expected to build on their existing activities on gathering similar market information. This assignment will build on the findings of the rapid COVID-19 country analysis currently being conducted in selected countries in East, Southern and West Africa. The current assignment will collect data and information for the key food crops/products identified in selected countries in the above study. The technical partner is expected to develop a credible approach to collect wholesale and retail price data and information on the identified key food crops/products. Evidence of COVID-19 induced changes in tracked variables indicated above should be document and sources of information are to be adequately referenced. Where possible, pictures and videos demonstrating evidence of COVID-19 triggered impacts/changes along selected food value chains should be provided with proper ethical considerations. The technical partners will elaborate the proposed approach to deliver on the expectations of this assignment as described above.    

Timeframe

The work will be conducted over a period of 6 months. Thereafter, to ensure continuity and sustainability of data collection and dissemination activities, food price, stock and trade information updates will be provided through the Regional Food Balance Sheet initiative being implemented under the RFT Covid-19 response plan. The RFBS initiative provides longer term data collection, analysis and dissemination support including relevant accurate and timely data for production estimates, utilization/consumption, trade (formal and informal) and estimates for post-harvest losses across the value chain. This will enable governments to understand market dynamics in the longer term.  

Reporting

The technical partner/s will be reporting to the Head of AGRA’s Regional Food Trade and Resilience Unit.

Submission of proposals

Interested and qualified technical partners/consultants are invited to submit their proposal(s) comprising of the following:

  • Proposals should comprise of the following:
  • An understanding of the assignment requirements, expectations and deliverables
  • The organizational profile and experience:
    • Provide a brief description of the background and organization of your company/firm
    • List only previous similar assignments successfully completed in the last 5 years: detailing the date; assignment name and brief description of key deliverables; name of client and country of assignment; contract budget (in US$ or Euros); and role on the assignment.
    • List only those assignments for which you were legally contracted or was one of the joint venture partners.
  • Description of approach, methodology and work-plan for performing the assignment
    • The technical approach and methodology should explain the understanding of the assignment objectives; analytical strategies; and the degree of detail of expected outputs.
    • The work plan should describe the implementation of the main activities/tasks of the assignment, their content and duration, phasing and interrelations, and tentative delivery dates of the deliverables. A list of the final deliverables (including reports) to be delivered as final output(s) should be included here.
  • Assignment delivery plan
  • Team composition and tasks assignment: describe the structure and composition of your team, including the list of the Key Experts and relevant technical and administrative support staff.
  • Curriculum Vitae of team members with information on: Candidate’s bio-data; education; employment record relevant to the assignment – giving date, employer, country, and summary of activities performed relevant to the assignment; membership in professional associations and relevant publications.
  • Financial proposal for the assignment
  • The financial proposals shall include all applicable taxes quoted separately. If taxes are not mentioned in the financial proposal, AGRA shall consider that they are included in the prices provided. The quoted cost estimates should be in United States Dollars.

Proposal Submission

This consultancy is open to consultancy firms with sound experience in the services outlined above. Interested consultancy firms are invited to submit a Technical Proposal and a Financial Proposal.

Technical proposal

The interested consulting firms are invited to submit their proposal(s) comprising of the following:

  1. Company profile and accreditations
  2. An understanding of the consultancy requirements;
  3. A brief description of the firm’s organization and an outline of recent experience on assignments of a similar nature (last 3 years). For each assignment the outline should indicate inter alia, the profiles of the staff involved, duration of the assignment, contract amount and firm’s involvement.
  4. CVs of Key Personnel to be involved in this assignment
  5. The list of the proposed staff team by specialty, the tasks that would be assigned to each staff team member and their timing.
  6. Any comments or suggestions on the Terms of Reference, a list of services and facilities to be provided by the client.
  7. Methodology and work-plan for performing the assignment and project delivery plan;

While preparing the Technical Proposal, consultants must give attention to the following:

  1. In preparing the Technical Proposal, consultants are expected to examine the documents constituting this RFP in detail. Material deficiencies in providing the information requested may result in rejection of a proposal.
  2. If a firm considers that it does not have all the expertise for the assignment, it may obtain a full range of expertise by associating with individual consultant(s) and/or other firms or entities in a joint venture or sub-consultancy as appropriate. Consultants shall not associate with the other consultants invited for this assignment. Any firms associating in contravention of this requirement shall automatically be disqualified.
  3. The consultant’s proposal must be written in English language
  4. The full proposal should contain two components:
    • A Summary Proposal Document not exceeding 20 pages in Microsoft Word (single- space, 12-point font) responding to the areas denoted in the RFP and should be accompanied by associated accreditation and any desired annexes including case studies of sector specific work done
    • A Summary Proposal Presentation not exceeding 15 slides in Microsoft PowerPoint to convey the key elements of the proposal to AGRA

Financial Proposal

FINANCIAL PROPOSAL must be provided in the prescribed format, RFP ANNEX B, supported with a breakdown analysis and will provide the following information, but is not limited to:

  1. Professional fees chargeable
  2. Breakdown of the fees and disbursements
  3. Must be submitted using the format provided, RFP Annex B: Financial Proposal
  4. Price must be quoted in GBP (£)
  5. All applicable taxes (VAT and withholding taxes) shall be included. If the financial proposal is silent on taxes, AGRA shall assume that these are inclusive;
  6. Financial proposal shall be valid for a period of 90 days from the date of bid closure.
  7. Financial proposal shall be sent as a separate attachment and MUST be password protected.

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Experience in similar assignments and Organizational capacity (30%)
  2. Proposed methodology and work plan for carrying out the assignment (30%)
  3. Key personnel (40%)

Total: (100%)

Submission Requirements

  1. Technical proposal and Financial Proposals must be submitted separately to procurement@agra.org by the deadline indicated in the synopsis
  2. The subject of the email MUST read “RFP/00947/RFT/2020-Develop Market Information System”. AGRA shall not be liable for not opening proposals that are submitted with a different subject.
  3. Technical and Financial proposals will need to be submitted as separate documents. Financial proposals will not be opened until the conclusion of the technical evaluation and then only for those proposals that are deemed qualified and responsive. Note that the financial proposal should include all applicable taxes.
  4. Neither technical nor financial proposals should exceed 10MB.
  5. The financial proposal MUST be password protected. The password shall be requested from firms that meet the minimum technical score of 75%
  6. The Financial proposals shall include all applicable taxes quoted separately. If taxes are not mentioned in the financial proposal, AGRA shall consider that they are included in the prices provided.

Download RFP here:
https://agra.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/RFP00949-Development-of-Market-Information-Systems.docx