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RFP: Technical Assistance to ECOWAS Commission in Strengthening the Regional Strategic Food Reserve and Responsiveness

Synopsis of the Request for Proposals:

Solicitation Reference No.RFP/002/ REGIONAL FOOD TRADE/2021
Title of SolicitationTechnical Assistance to ECOWAS Commission in Strengthening the Regional Strategic Food Reserve and Responsiveness to the growing food insecurities through optimization of Commodities and Reserve Levels in the wake of novel Covid-19 pandemic
Issuing Office & AddressAlliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) Website: www.agra.org
Pre-registration linkhttps://ekjd.fa.em2.oraclecloud.com/fscmUI/faces/PrcPosRegisterSupplier?prcBuId=300000001758868 Mandatory pre-registration documents: Company profile including list of similar assignments/services carried out, past and current clientsCertificate of Incorporation Copy of ID/Passport for Company Director/Individual consultantList of directors (CR12)  
Point of contact for clarifications, questions and amendmentsAGRA General Procurement, Procurement@agra.org
Email Address for submission of ProposalsAGRA General Procurement, Procurement@agra.org
Solicitation Issue DateFebruary 9th, 2021
Deadline for submission questions and clarificationsFebruary 12th, 2021 17:00 East African Time.
Deadline for Answering questions and clarificationsFebruary 17th, 2021 17:00 East African Time.
Deadline for Submission of ProposalsFebruary 23rd, 2021 17:00 East African Time. Please include the subject line RFP/002/ REGIONAL FOOD TRADE/2021 in the email
Revised Submission deadline11th March, 2021 17:00 East African Time.
Anticipated Award TypeCONSULTANCY AGREEMENT
Submission and Evaluation CriteriaBidder MUST register as a vendor via the link provided above and provide the below listed information in the submitted proposal:  

Mandatory Eligibility Requirements:
– Certificate of Incorporation/Registration
– 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 considered for financial evaluation.

Terms of Reference

Consultancy Task: AGRA’s Technical Assistance to ECOWAS Commission in Strengthening the Regional Strategic Food Reserve and Responsiveness to the growing food insecurities through optimization of Commodities and Reserve Levels in the wake of novel Covid-19 pandemic

1.0       Background

Global food systems underwent a major shock which resulted in several disruptions being witnessed across several food supply chains following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impacts have been severe in West Africa where food systems are characterized by low production and productivity, weak infrastructure, the absence of good data and evidence coupled with high levels of policy unpredictability in food markets. With many governments putting several health ad lockdown measures in place to contain the pandemic, it has further compounded the already severe food and nutrition crisis in West Africa where the majority of the people are in the informal sector. A huge percentage of the population are threatened by the portending crisis and the region’s stability could be at risk. Hence, reducing food insecurity and structural vulnerability of the population with social safety nets is critical and there is a pressing need to strengthen the regional instruments to timely support nations’ capacities to prevent and manage food crises, and thereby reduce the vulnerability of the poor, rural and urban populations.

Emerging evidence around the impact of the pandemic shows that there are three major shocks and disruptions namely trade policy shocks with countries indirectly changing their policy positions as they impose various pandemic containment measures which include border closures; a logistical disruption shock which limit the flow of food products along their value chains domestically, and within the region as a result of travel restrictions; and a supply/demand shock at many levels of the supply chain impacting the flow of produce and inputs regionally thereby heightening the risk of food insecurity and loss of livelihoods.

To mitigate these shocks, the ECOWAS Commission and its member states need to build up their grain reserves and develop strategic food stocks, in order to respond timely in case of food security crisis.

Therefore, AGRA through its Regional Food Trade Unit held multiple consultations and a follow-up meeting on 14th May 2020 with the ECOWAS Directorate of Agriculture and Rural Development where these issues were discussed and options on how to address the situation were explored. The ECOWAS request to AGRA is for an immediate technical assistance in the following areas:

  1. Analytical support to determine optimal stocks of various Strategic Grain Reserves (SGR), food commodities and develop a seasonal calendar for the purchase and sale of SGR stocks at national and regional levels.
  1. Designing and developing models for partnership with the private sector as service providers to support SGR achieve its mandate and to eliminate wastage, losses, pilferage, and spoilage.

2.0       Context

Since its adoption in 2005, the ECOWAS Agricultural Policy, ECOWAP, has set itself the objective of ensuring sustainable food security for West African populations. The mobilizing programs developed in the context of the world food crisis of the years 2007-08 focus on three axes among which: (i) the promotion of strategic products for food sovereignty; (ii) the promotion of a global environment favorable to regional agricultural development and, (iii) the reduction of food vulnerability and the promotion of sustainable access to food. From the outset, the region’s approach is threefold. It intends to act on production, on markets and price volatility, and finally on access to food for vulnerable populations in the event of shocks.

To this end, it attempts to ensure consistency and the combination of: (i) preventive actions (securing production, operating markets and regulating them within a price band, storage and management marketing, reduction of household vulnerability, etc.) and, (ii) emergency actions when preventive measures prove insufficient, are decisive and alone capable of reducing risks and providing food assistance to people in need.

The first Regional Agricultural Investment Program adopted in 2010 is therefore structured around three challenges: (i) promotion of strategic products for food security and sovereignty; (ii) the promotion of a global environment favorable to regional agricultural development; and (iii) reducing food vulnerability and promoting sustainable access to food. It provides for two types of storage policy instruments: (i) Market regulation instruments to reduce price instability that is detrimental to producers and consumers, and (ii) The Regional Food Security Reserve, complementary to the national stocks, making it possible to support the Member States and to make play the regional solidarity, in the event of major food crisis.

In 2012, the Ministers of Agriculture of the ECOWAS Member States adopted a regional storage strategy whose objective was to provide an integrated framework by addressing the two major dimensions of storage: (i) security storage food to cope with shocks, and (ii) commercial storage as an element in structuring value chains and regulating markets. This strategy articulates three complementary lines of defense against food insecurity and establishes a real regional storage system, being: (i) the first line of defense with local stocks, mainly held by farmers’ organizations, (ii) the second line of defense with national security stocks managed by States, and finally, (iii) the Regional Food Security Reserve (RFSR/RRSA).

In 2013, the Heads of State and Government adopted the creation of this Regional Food Security Reserve (RFSR/RRSA) by way of an additional Act to the revised ECOWAS Treaty and made it a pillar of regional sovereignty and regional leadership. In its design, the RRSA includes a physical component made up of the basic products used in the region’s diets, and a financial component allowing to diversify intervention tools to better respond to the diversity of food and nutrition crises.

Between 2017 and 2019, the interventions of the RRSA on its physical component increased the volume lent to countries and ECOWAS to 19,817 metric tons of cereals to support national response plans in Nigeria, Mali, Niger and Burkina Faso. In addition, a technical rotation was carried out on stocks stored in Ghana (2,750 metric tons) in partnership with the Government of Ghana’s school feeding programme. These interventions were expected to reach more than 545,000 people receiving food assistance from the RRSA. The SGR constitutes part of the national food security architecture. In order to meet the needs of the population, food must be available, accessible and affordable for the growing population that live mostly below the poverty line.

The build-up of a cumulative physical stock of 32,178 metric tons of cereals represents 95% of the target of 34 000 tonnes (EU Funds) and 54% of the RRSA target (60 000 tonnes). It is received, stored and kept by the national storage structures (Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Niger) under service contracts. These areas were identified in the feasibility study of the RRSA, in terms of sub-areas for rapid interventions in ECOWAS Member States.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which is plunging the world and West Africa into an unprecedented crisis will have significant repercussions on the implementation of the actions to support food security storage in West Africa. However, this global public health crisis, which is also becoming an economic, social and food crisis, once again reminds us – as did the 2008 crisis – that food reserves, however costly they may be, are of strategic importance. Indeed, they are one of the main cornerstones of a genuine crisis prevention and management strategy, and of real regional food sovereignty.

3.0       Objectives of the Consultancy

The overall objective is to provide technical assistance for the overall effective implementation of the Regional Strategic Food Reserve Strategy of ECOWAS, and thereby ensure food security and safeguarding of the vulnerable population in the region. 

Specific objectives are as follows:

  • Analytical support to determine optimal stocks of various SGR food commodities and develop a seasonal calendar for the purchase and sale of SGR stocks:
  1. Assess the current stock target to determine whether this will be sufficient in emergencies before imports are brought in
    •  Determine optimal stocks of various SGR food commodities that collectively provide food and nutrition security and develop a seasonal calendar for the purchase and sale of SGR stocks;
    • Analyse historical food security crisis and identify vulnerable population needs to determine optimal level of food reserves at various national and regional levels
    • Conduct a market analysis (actual and historical situation) to identify challenges facing staple foods movement from surplus areas to deficit areas of the region.
    • Determine economic models for sustainability of the SGR recommending the most optimal one.
    • Develop a model to predict where and when to buy food stocks in the region with a minimum impact on the market
    • Assess capacity-strengthening needs for the food quality management system especially in relation to analysis and detection of Aflatoxins in the SFR program and develop a training manual.
    • Create a policy for periodic revision of targets based on latest available current and forecast number of vulnerable households using existing data sources such as FEWSNET
    • Assess the condition of grain reserve infrastructure and determine/estimate cost to rehabilitate those facilities that need upgrading

Designing and developing models for partnership with the private sector as service providers to support SGR achieve its mandate and to eliminate wastage, losses, pilferage, and spoilage

  • Develop partnership models to engage private sector millers/processors/producers in the supply of food grains to Regional/National Strategic Food Reserves of ECOWAS
  • Examine the policy measures taken by national governments during the pandemic with regards to free movement of food commodities.
  • Recommend how partnership between private sector (millers/ processors/ producers) and the Regional/National Strategic Food Reserves of ECOWAS Member States can be facilitated.

4.0       Scope of Work

The consultancy scope of work includes the following:

4.1 Analytical support to determine optimal stocks of various SGR:

  • Provide an economic model for the sustainability of the Regional Strategic Food Reserve. This model should identify areas where food stocks can be acquired and the best period in the year to acquire it with a minimum impact on the market;
  • Conduct a market analysis (actual and historical situation) to identify challenges facing staple foods movement from surplus areas to deficit areas of the ECOWAS region;
  • Mapping of crops and their seasonal calendar for planting and harvesting;
  • Desk review of historical agricultural production trend in the region, market information and field survey if needed to fill information gaps;
  • Desk review of historical food crisis in the region and analysis of the impact on the vulnerable population and food stock expended. By inference, determine the food stock required to respond to the likely food challenge that the present day COVID 19 pandemic portends;
  • Assess the impact of measures taken by governments to contain the COVID-19 pandemic on cross border movement of goods and services in the region;
  • Assess capacity-strengthening needs for the food quality management system especially in relation to analysis and detection of Aflatoxins in the SFR program and develop a capacity development plan including development of a training manual;
  • Assess capacity-strengthening needs for regional optimal stock management for ECOWAS;
  • Create a policy for periodic revision of targets based on latest available current and forecast number of vulnerable households using existing data sources such as FEWSNET; and,
  • Make recommendations for the improvement of the functionality of the region’s SFR.
  • Designing and developing partnership models with the private sector:
  • Develop models of partnership with the private sector as service providers / purchase of nutritional products (enriched flours); local business producing enriched flour
  • Map out small agricultural producers’ organizations, and agricultural input (fertilizers and improved seed) producers including their contacts and assess their capacity vis-à-vis their mandates.
  • Recommend how partnership between private sector (millers/processors/producers) and the Regional/National Strategic Food Reserves of ECOWAS Member States can be facilitated.
  • Recommend how trade can be facilitated between surplus and deficit areas.

5.0       Deliverables and Timeframe

The consultant will produce:

Analytical support to determine optimal stocks of various SGR:

  • Seasonal Crop Calendars in the region
  • Detailed reports on the market information and food security crisis in the region
  • Practicable economic model for the sustainability of the SFR
  • Capacity development plan including a training manual for grain quality management especially analysis and detection of Aflatoxins
  • Detailed report on the condition of grain reserve infrastructure and cost estimate to rehabilitate those facilities that need upgrading.

Designing and developing partnership models with the private sector:

  • Partnership models developed to engage private sector millers/processors/producers to supply food grains to Regional/National Strategic Food Reserves of ECOWAS.
  • Report on the factors impeding free flow of staple food commodities including policy and regulations issues and their impact with sets of recommendations to further enhance both the National and Regional grain reserves.
  • Partnership linkages facilitated among private sector millers/processors/producers with Regional/National Strategic Food Reserves of ECOWAS Member States to provide quality food in line with defined ECOWAS standards.
  • Detailed data base of small agricultural producers’ organizations, and agricultural input (fertilizers and improved seed) producers.

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

6.0       Implementation Approach

The assignment will involve determination of optimal stocks of various SGR food commodities and development of a seasonal calendar for the purchase and sale of SGR stocks. It will also involve designing and developing models for partnership with the private sector as service providers to support SGR achieve its mandate and to eliminate wastage, losses, pilferage, and spoilage. The consultancy will involve robust and inclusive consultations, involving a range of stakeholders. Secondary data and information will enrich the study by providing additional context to the findings and analysis derived from the primary data collection exercise. In addition, it will entail reviewing existing literature and publicly available documents related to strategic food reserve system in ECOWAS region. The consultant will elaborate the proposed approach to deliver on the expectations of this assignment as described above, clearly indicating the level of effort (number of man days needed) to execute this assignment.

In addition, the consultant will be expected to indicate how they will use existing data sources in the region. For example, NASA Harvest has been as a centralized point of contact for all major actors working on crop mapping (both in terms of availability of ground-referenced data and also the best available satellite remote sensing products), and should be able to provide quick direction on availability of and access to the most appropriate data.

7.0       Timeframe

The work will be conducted over a period of 5 months and the consultant shall explicitly indicate the level of effort needed for this assignment.  

8.0       Proposal submission

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

Technical 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 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:

9.0       Qualification Requirements

The consultant is expected to have a combination of the following skills and experience:

  • A minimum of 10 years of experience and expertise in:
    • Food and nutrition security reserve management,
    • Agricultural statistics and market analysis,
    • Economic model development,
    • Training and capacity building.
  • A general knowledge of the ECOWAS Strategic Food Reserve
  • A good knowledge of ECOWAS and the Institutions of the Community
  • An excellent knowledge (speak, write and read) of one of ECOWAS languages (English, French and Portuguese). However, a working knowledge of a second language will be an advantage.
  • Excellent communication and technical reporting and writing skills in English or French.
  • Excellent administration, organizational and time management skills.
  • Excellent teamwork and participatory process skills.
  • Knowledge and experience of innovative, leading edge collaborative approach in facilitating partnerships and collaboration among key actors in the agricultural value chain will be an asset.

Reporting  

The consultant will be supervised directly by AGRA represented by the Head of Regional Food Trade Unit or his designate, and ECOWAS.   

Other Requirements  

The consultant will debrief the USAID West Africa Regional Mission and the United Kingdom’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) prior to completion of final deliverables.  AGRA will provide points of contact for these missions at the appropriate time.

Download full RFP:
https://agra.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/RFP-Technical-Assistance-to-ECOWAS-Commission2.docx