ToR – Individual Consultant to Assess Post-Harvest Equipment

Terms of Reference for an Individual Consultant to Assess Post-Harvest Equipment

Background of the assignment

Mechanized post-harvest management solutions offer a good opportunity for supporting the agenda of inclusive agricultural transformation on the African continent, particularly by improving efficiencies of farm operations, reducing post-harvest losses, providing entrepreneurship opportunities and enhancing the value of work, of produce and of processed products among other benefits. In sorghum threshing for example, 80 hours of women’s labor can be undertaken within 7 minutes and at less than one hundredth of the cost of manual threshing (assuming a machine that threshes 3MT of produce per hour).

Founded in 2006, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is an African-led and Africa-based organization that seeks to catalyze agricultural transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives.

AGRA is rolling out a new 5-year strategy to catalyze and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation in Africa to increase income and improve food security for 30 million farming households. The current strategy also aims to support 11 focus countries to embark on a pathway to attain and sustain agricultural transformation. AGRA’s approach include

  1. Strengthening state capacity to drive agricultural transformation through improved planning, coordination, implementation and accountability as well as putting in place an enabling environment that facilitates private sector investment in agriculture and allied industries;
  2. Developing systems closer to farmers in order to drive productivity, access to markets, boost resilience, and strengthen public and private sector capacity to achieve the scale required to transform the agricultural sector;
  3. Partnering with governments and private agribusinesses to mobilize and improve the integration and coordination of investments.

In addition to the above-mentioned strategic choices, AGRA invests in efforts that strengthen farmers and agribusinesses’ resilience to shocks and stresses, women empowerment, and youth employment.

Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA)

In order to maximize impacts and achieve efficiency in resource allocation, AGRA, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Rockefeller Foundation (RF), and United States Agency for International Development (USAID), BMZ Germany, and DFID came together to create a Partnership for Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa (PIATA). This is a strategic partnership that seeks to strengthen the alignment and complementarity of efforts deployed by multiple actors working to achieve agricultural transformation in Africa. PIATA is committed to driving collective efforts and providing member organizations with greater ability to deliver impact at scale, a common voice, greater convening power. The partnership is intended to support and complement existing national, regional, and continental bodies and initiatives by providing the necessary support for them to deliver on the Malabo commitments and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

PIATA leverages on tools, systems, knowledge, and resources of partners to achieve the desired objectives and impact. This partnership is operationalized through AGRA’s full business model of grant-making, consultancies, technical assistance, partnerships, communications and convening.

AGRA recognizes that the importance of mechanization in transforming African agriculture and has been promoting several mechanization initiatives across the continent. The present assignment contributes to AGRA’s mission by conducting research with a view to develop knowledge products on post-harvest management solutions that most effectively generate value along stable crop value chains in a sustainable manner.

2. Purpose of the assignment

In order to promote mechanized post-harvest solutions that are best suited to African agricultural contexts, AGRA seeks to conduct an assessment of several post-harvest management equipment promoted by its programs in selected AGRA priority countries; Ghana, Burkina Faso and Tanzania with a view to document lessons, identify strengths and weaknesses of various post-harvest management machines and recommend specific improvements for each of the targeted threshers.  The study will review the technical, social and commercial viability of threshing machinery, and will generate context-specific recommendations that AGRA and other development partners may adopt in scaling up mechanized post-harvest management solutions.

This study will focus on 3 categories of threshing machines including maize shellers, multi-crop threshing machines and small combined harvesters for rice. In addition to the effectiveness of these technologies, the study will also assess supply chain opportunities and constraints of these PHH technologies, service provision models, economic analysis (at farmer, supplier, and operator levels), existing and possible financial products as well as required policy dispensations.

3. Scope of Work

In order to fulfill the objectives of this study, the consultancy is expected to review previous studies and reports on mechanized post-harvest solutions and to carry out field visits during which data shall be collected through interactions with targeted stakeholders groups. The consultancy is expected to conduct the following tasks with the targeted groups:

  • A. Fabricators/manufacturers
  • Ascertain the technical capacity of each machine (including maximum operating capacity, fuel consumption, engine power, dimensions, weight etc) and identifying any limitations (i.e. safety and gender considerations in the design, after-sale service support for repairs and maintenance)
  • Provide the average volume of business, stating any (technical or financial) factors that constrain manufacturing capacity and potential solutions.
  • Determine the profit levels on each machine sold.
  • Assess any financing model(s) employed for the sale of machines (cash on sale, lay by options etc), naming any financial partners (Banks, MFIs, NGOs etc) and discussing the scalability of the model.
  • Assess other available financing options for equipment production.
  • Provide a market segmentation of the machine sales by type of client (Farmer Organization, Private Operator, NGO, Farmer etc) offering a gendered perspective wherever possible.
  • B. Threshing service providers
  • Analyze and provide detailed breakdown of machine usage by crop
  • Provide profitability analyses for buying and operating the machine (identifying the break-even point, scale of operations required for commercial viability and the cost drivers relating to operations), taking into account upfront capital to purchase and other recurring and variable costs such as labor, transport, maintenance, loan repayments etc.
  • Provide an analysis of the business model including marketing/price approach, service payment types (fees or grains for services), number and nature of jobs created and recommendations for improvement.
  • Establish the average uptake of users, providing demand trends and supply limitations and opportunities.
  • Discuss capacity utilized, machinery feedback on durability, access to servicing agents, machine operation ergonomics etc.
  • Assess the capacity development gaps and availability of repair services for machine service providers.  
  • C. Users of mechanized services
  • Establish the comparative efficiency rates of manual labor vs machine use, presenting findings in simple terms including monetary terms.
  • Determine comparative levels of post-harvest losses between mechanized and labor use, and share any additional findings on tangible impact (ex. improved sales)
  • Provide an appreciation of alternative use of time saved, improvement in quality of life etc.
  • General user feedback on thresher performance (volume of grain lost, cost of threshing, convenience, transportation cost, use of fodder, general satisfaction levels, areas of improvement etc.)
  • D. Financial/Development partners
  • Assess the relevance, effectiveness, impact and sustainability of activities that were provided alongside the equipment provision, with particular focus on to women empowerment.
  • Assess the models used to finance the acquisition of machines, using the lens described immediately above as well as geographic coverage.
  • Recommend financing models that would be most effective in activity scale up in a context specific manner, highlighting enablers and potential constraints.
  • Identify policies that contribute to a favorable environment for the rapid scale up of machinery manufacturing and use.

4. Technical Skillset and Required Qualifications for the Consultancy

It is expected that this study will be conducted by a highly skilled, technical expert in mechanization with extensive experience in the agricultural equipment development or sales. The consultant should demonstrate experience working with private sector business operations, and with experiences in operating in the sub-Saharan region. The consultant shall have experience working with Development Partners, s/he must possess strong knowledge of the private sector and have high-level writing skills with a track record of meeting deadlines. Added advantage is proven ability to design financing and performance management models, and demonstrable research experience.

He/she should have at least 10 years of relevant experience in agricultural development, preferably an MSc/ PhD in Agricultural Sciences, Social Sciences, Agricultural Economics, or related field. Demonstrable analytical skills, excellent English communication skills and knowledge of French will be an added advantage.

The consultant may engage a support technical staff with requisite expertise to augment delivery of this assignment, where need is proven.

5. Expected Deliverables

The consultant is expected to:

  1. Prepare a Comprehensive Report of findings detailing the strengths and weaknesses of each model, a set of recommendations for machinery improvements, proposed financing models and proposed approaches for scaling up the uptake of threshing machines.
  2. Applicants must submit a brief (no more than 4 page) proposal for this work, which outlines the proposed technical methodology and plan of work, clarifies any similar studies previously conducted, and proposed budget for the assignment.

The table below provides the expected delivery of outputs by the consultancy:

Required Completion Date:
An inception report: Ten Days after commencement of assignment/signing of contract that:

  • Provides strategic options of areas of focus drawn from synthesis of reviewed studies   
  • Includes the revised program of work roadmap
A draft report Five weeks after commencement of assignment/signing of contract
Conduct a validation workshop with AGRA and any invited stakeholders 1 week after submission and review of report
Final Report 1 week after validation workshop


6. Duration of Assignment and Contract Administration

This assignment must be conducted within a 9 week timeframe from the date of award. The total number of billable working days shall not exceed 50. The assignment will require travel to the target countries for a minimum of 10 working days in each.

The consultant will work closely with the AGRA country teams and identified implementing partners in respective countries.

7. Reporting

The consultant will report to and provide weekly updates to the Head of Markets in AGRA Nairobi.  For technical questions and/or clarifications to be submitted to Anthony Ngosi on email:

8. Evaluation Criteria:

Technical proposals will be evaluated against the following criteria:

  1. Profile and Expertise (CV)
  2. Consultant’s understanding of the consultancy requirements
  3. The proposed methodology and project implementation/delivery plan
  4. Detailed reference list indicating the scope and magnitude of similar assignments. Each reference to clearly indicate client, contact person – their designation, email address and mobile phone, summary of assignment, cost and when it was carried out.
  5. Relevant services undertaken in the past 3-5 years
No. Description Max. Score
1. Specific experience of the Consultant relevant to the Assignment 10
2. Adequacy and quality of the proposed methodology, and work plan in responding to the Terms of Reference (TORs):      
  • Technical approach and methodology
  • Work plan
  • Organization and staffing
3. Key Experts’ qualifications and competence for the Assignment:
  • Academic qualification
  • Evidence of similar work in the past 3-5 years
  • Experience in conducting agricultural related assessment with a focus on markets and postharvest management
  • Experience from similar assignments handled in other sub-Saharan Africa or AGRA target countries
  • Languages:  Excellent grasp of English, articulate writing.   Additionally preferred is understanding of French.
Sub-total technical score 70
Financial proposal 30


  • Only technical proposals with a score of 75% and above shall qualify for opening of the financial proposals
  • Overall, the technical proposal shall be scored out of 70% while the financial proposal shall be scored out of 30%

Proposal submission guidelines

  1. The financial proposal should indicate a detailed budget in US Dollars and ALL applicable taxes. It must also be password protected. The password will be sought from those who will qualify after the technical evaluation.
  3. Technical and financial proposals MUST be submitted as separate documents by  Monday April 29,  2019 at 1700 Hours East Africa Time (GMT +3) to

Disclaimer: AGRA reserves the right to determine the structure of the process, the number of short-listed participants, the right to withdraw from the proposal process, and the right to change this timetable at any time without notice.