ToR – A Study of the Impact of Agra-Trained Personnel on the African Agricultural Landscape and Capacity Gap Assessment of African Agricultural Personnel

1. Background

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is a dynamic, African-led partnership working across the African continent to help millions of smallholder farmers out of poverty. Under its new strategy (2016-2020) AGRA is seeking to catalyze an agricultural transformation in eleven (11) key focus countries. In West, Eastern and Southern Africa.  These are:  Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda. AGRA’s mission, is to trigger an African-led green revolution based on smallholder farmers with key goals by 2020 being; i) Double the incomes of at least 30 million farm households through productivity improvements and access to markets and finance; ii) Ensure all focus countries are on a pathway to attain and sustain an agricultural transformation through sustainable agricultural productivity growth and access to markets and finance. To achieve this, AGRA works with African governments, international partners, private sector and public institutions to mobilize resources and political support required to invest in projects that strive to address food insecurity and increase the incomes of smallholder farmers.

AGRA’s capacity building initiatives range from farmer training to PhD degree programs in various agriculture-related disciplines.  At inception AGRA embarked on initiatives aimed at alleviating the human capital capacity constraint to increasing crop productivity and profitability in Africa by training plant breeders and other plant scientists to develop new higher yielding, biotic and abiotic stress resistant varieties that are locally adapted and have farmer preferred traits and other necessary technologies.  This was complemented by degree training in Soil Science and Agricultural and Applied Economics, and short-term training of seed industry personnel, research support staff, extension staff, and farmers.  In its first decade AGRA contributed to a pool of young professionals in agriculture – 1,100 postgraduate degree trained personnel (about 40% of these being women), who are developing solutions to smallholder farmer challenges in seeds, soils, and policy in Africa.

Through the provision of business development and support services, AGRA has supported the rise of over 600 SMEs, helped develop agribusinesses who buy and process farmers’ produce, and trained 950 seed enterprise personnel from over 100 seed companies. Two hundred and sixty (260) laboratory and field technicians, 4,900 extension agents, 2,780 fertilizer inspectors and 100 seed companies have been equipped to do their work more efficiently, thus improving productivity.  Further, AGRA training programs have helped to build institutional capacity of 15 universities, national agricultural research services (NARS), and a few centers of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa. This entailed improvement of laboratories, establishment of breeding programs, and other work that does not directly involve training but has an impact on the quality of training including for non-AGRA supported persons.

Notwithstanding these achievements, there are still numerous challenges with regard to low capacity for the last mile delivery of technology to farmers, low numbers of scientists in public and private sector as well as grantee capacity to implement some of the programs.  Trained scientists in plant breeding constitute 40-50% of all active plant breeders in NARS of Rwanda, Malawi, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger.  The estimated number of plant breeders in all sub Saharan Africa was less than 500 in 2006 (PASS Country Studies, 2006). The AGRA-funded trained scientists to date resulted in doubling the number of scientists in the region. AGRA-trained scientists have released 140+ improved varieties of a wide range of crops including maize, rice, beans, cassava, groundnuts, finger millet, sorghum, and cowpea, 75% of these are already commercialized and grown by farmers in 13 countries.  For example, AGRA funded research programs managed by AGRA-trained scientists that resulted in the first finger millet varieties developed and released in Africa (Kenya).  The first truly African bred varieties of maize adapted to the Sahel were developed for Mali – these are very early maturing and drought tolerant, enabling farmers to not only escape but withstand drought.  The trained scientists are managing over 60% of the NARS plant breeding research, 10% of CGIAR research with some managing research stations and working in private African seed companies.  AGRA rolled-out a high quality training program where the scientists were taught how to write winning proposals and compete for research funding with almost all the scientists (+90%) managing some form of research grant from different funders.

While the success reported here is impressive, it does not capture success from all AGRA-trained graduates. Therefore, it does not give a holistic impact of AGRA’s training programs on the continent.  There is need to trace and document the whereabouts of AGRA-trained personnel with details on what they are currently engaged in and the impact they are making on the continent.   In addition to this, limited information exists on the maximum number of qualified scientists needed for specific crops in the target countries to develop the required technologies needed to trigger an African green revolution.

There is lack of reliable and current statistics on qualified scientists at post and their age distribution to determine their remaining years of active service. This has resulted in inaccurate accounts of the magnitude of the capacity gap in the AGRA target countries.

AGRA is therefore seeking to procure the services of a suitable firm (‘consultant’) to undertake a study that will numerate and assess the number of qualified plant breeders in 11 countries by crop/agro-ecological zone, capture information on AGRA-trained and other qualified scientists at post working on AGRA target crops, adequately show the human capacity gap for each target crop and assess AGRAs contribution in addressing these gaps.  This study will also capture the number of soil scientists and agricultural economists at post, as well as other agricultural disciplines that support these core functions.

2. Purpose and Objective of the study

The study will establish the whereabouts of AGRA-trained personnel and assess the impact of their work in their respective countries, as well as establish human capacity gaps for target crops (maize, beans, sesame, cowpea, groundnut, banana, rice, soybean, cassava, sorghum, sweet potato, pearl millet) in selected countries by documenting the number of potential scientists needed for AGRA target crops in these countries.

3. Scope of the study

  1. The study will be expected to focus on four areas: (i) Plant Breeding; (ii) Soil Health (Agronomy); (iii) Agricultural Economics; (iv) Other agricultural disciplines that support these main areas of intervention (agribusiness, entomology, agricultural engineering, etc.).
  2. The study will identify and document the current number of active breeders, soil scientists and agricultural economists at post with emphasis on their remaining years of active service.
  3. Provide an analysis of AGRAs contribution to bridging identified capacity gaps and establishing future human capacity projections for the target crops and countries.
  4. The study will cover eleven (11) countries – Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania [Malawi, Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya, Zambia). The consultant will be expected to physically visit the countries in bold font to conduct fieldwork.  A desk study can be done for the other countries listed.  This assignment will, therefore, require extensive travel and careful planning in liaison with relevant AGRA staff, country institutions and government organs to make it as exhaustive as possible.
  5. Additional information to be captured by the study is the qualifications and areas of specialization of scientists and other Masters to PhD degree trained personnel on station.
  6. The consultant will be expected to plan well and establish contacts of persons to interview in the various research and academic institutions as well as in the ministries of agriculture in respective governments. A consultancy firm with a robust team of consultants with the required qualifications for this assignment will be preferred to handle different aspects of this study within the assignment period.
  7. Conduct an online survey that will be available to database of graduates, the survey will be to get perceptions and feedback from graduates.

The consultant will do the following:

  1. Determine the whereabouts of AGRA-trained scientists, what they are working on and the impact their work is having in agricultural development on the continent
  2. Establish the number of active qualified scientists at post with national agriculture research institutions with emphasis on their remaining years of active service
  3. Establish the human capacity threshold needed for a green revolution to be achieved by assessing crop-specific human capacity gaps that need to be addressed in these countries
  4. Establish the maximum number of qualified scientists needed to develop the requisite number of varieties needed to trigger a uniquely African Green Revolution.
  5. Assess the number of personnel in other agricultural disciplines that support these core functions: Seeds, Soils and Policy.
  6. Identify available support structures that the scientists are working through and whether these provide the required facilitation towards the work of the scientists.
  7. Provide in the report a list of agricultural personnel met in person, or through other means including names provided by the institutions’ management indicating country, age bracket, gender and discipline.
  8. Provide a roadmap for addressing the identified gaps

4. Deliverables

The Consultant will be expected to meet the following deliverables in the course of undertaking the study.  Payments shall be made upon review and approval of scheduled reports and deliverables.

  • i). Inception Report should be delivered not later than 14 days from the date of the signed contract
  • ii). Draft report (a draft report will be required for comments by AGRA two weeks prior to end of contract)
  • iii). Final report to be submitted by the last day of the contract.
  • iv). Oral presentation to the M&E and AGRA teams in Nairobi, Kenya
  • v). A master copy of the final report suitable for reproduction
  • vi). Soft copies of the final report

5. Time Frame

The study is expected to be completed within 60 days (2 months) effective from the date the contract is signed.

6. Reporting and supervision

The consultant will report directly to the Head, Monitoring & Evaluation and Knowledge Management, who will in turn regularly update the Capacity-building team.  To ensure objectivity and credibility of the study, the study will be conducted by external consultants who have made no prior commitment or major contribution to AGRAs training programs being studied. In the event that a team member has been involved at any stage with AGRA programs, the consultant will be expected to submit a conflict of interest declaration with AGRA as an undertaking for safeguarding the integrity of the study.

7. Qualifications of the Consultant Team

The consultant will be selected on the basis of their proven experience, qualifications and ability to deliver a quality product in a timely and efficient manner. Minimum qualifications and experience of the team members will include:

  • i). MSc in Agricultural Sciences, Social Sciences, Agricultural Economics, or related field and at least 10 years of relevant experience (team leader); A PhD in these fields would be an added advantage
  • ii). Members of the team including research assistants should possess a cascade of the above disciplines between them at the MSc level/or above and proven work experience in agricultural related disciplines
  • iii). The consultant firm should have extensive (10 years) experience in survey fieldwork (data collection, validation, entry and analysis)
  • iv). Proven track record in conducting agriculture related studies;
  • v). The team leader should have experience in leading teams in field work
  • vi). Demonstrable ability, experience and the capacity to undertake the study in different countries
  • vii). Excellent writing skills, with publication record in one discipline related to the assignment
  • viii). Demonstrable analytical skills;
  • ix). Past related experience in sub-Saharan Africa; and
  • x). Excellent English communication skills.
  • xi). Good knowledge of French and Portuguese languages
  • xii). Country presence through representatives or partners in AGRA target countries will be an added advantage

8. Budget

The consultant will submit a budget that includes fees, travel and subsistence, reproduction charges, courier costs (if applicable).  The team will be expected to share the country visits adequately and provide a detailed budget with realistic cost estimates.  Budget notes can be appended to explain some of the proposed costs.

9. The proposal

The proposal shall include: (give key bullets of the format) e.g.

  • Detailed analysis of the issues to be addressed
  • Description of the consultancy plan including methodology, study design, analysis, reporting and work plan
  • Detailed budget with description of payment schedule
  • Summary of past experience
  • CVs of key team members
  • Any samples of past reports
  • Supporting documents e.g. registration documents, etc.

Technical and Financial proposals shall be submitted as separate documents. The financial proposal MUST be password protected. 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.

The consultant will be selected through an open and competitive process and will be based on their proven experience, qualifications and ability to deliver a quality product in a timely and efficient manner.

10. Evaluation Criteria and Scoring

The evaluation criteria for this request for proposals will be as follows:

  1. The required academic qualification.
  2. Evidence of a robust team with good qualifications
  3. Demonstration of conversance with Agricultural Development and Agricultural Training in sub-Saharan Africa
  4. Country presence through representatives or partners in AGRA target countries will be an added advantage
  5. Evidence of similar work in the past.
  6. Good proposal and report writing skills.
  7. The team should have members who speak French and Portuguese


No. Description Max. Score
1. Specific experience of the Consultant (firm) relevant to the Assignment 10
2. Adequacy and quality of the proposed methodology, and work plan in responding to the Terms of Reference (TORs):
(i)                 Technical approach and methodology 10
(ii)               Work plan 5
(iii)              Organization and staffing 5
3. Key Experts’ qualifications and competence for the Assignment:
(i)                 Team leader’s academic qualification 10
(ii)               Evidence of similar work in the past by members of the proposed team 5
(iii)              Academic qualifications and evidence-supported experience of the proposed team in conducting agricultural related field studies in Africa 10
(iv)              Conversance with international development with emphasis on sub-Sahara Africa. 10
(v)                Languages: The team should have members who speak French and Portuguese 5
Sub-total technical score 70
Financial proposal 30


  1. Clarifications

Questions and/or clarifications with the subject line reading “Request for Clarification – Impact Study Capacity Gap Analysis” may be submitted to by April 23, 2019.

12. Submission

Interested applicants should send their proposals and CVs of team members detailing relevant experience and areas of capability to by April 30, 2019.  Please clearly indicate in the subject line of the email: AGRA – IMPACT STUDY AND HUMAN CAPACITY GAP ASSESSMENT.