Terms of Reference for a consultant(s) to develop guidelines for technical assistance to support small and medium seed companies to access non-grant funding

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (www.agra.org) is a not-for-profit organization working with African governments, other donors, NGOs, the private sector and African farmers to significantly and sustainably improve the productivity and incomes of resource poor smallholder farmers in Africa. AGRA aims to ensure that smallholder farmers have what they need to succeed: good seeds and healthy soils; access to markets, information, financing, storage and transport; and policies that provide them with comprehensive support. Through developing Africa’s high-potential breadbasket areas, while also boosting farm productivity across more challenging environments, AGRA works to transform smallholder agriculture into a highly productive, efficient, sustainable and competitive system, while protecting the environment.

Under its recently refreshed strategy AGRA will make investments in three new components: 1) Catalyze an agricultural transformation in key agro-ecological zones on the continent, 2) Unlock the value of private and public-sector investments to sustain agricultural transformation, and 3) Develop capacities and capabilities that will strengthen and sustain the foundation for African agricultural transformation in the future.

Since 2013, AGRA through the USAID-funded Scaling Seeds and Technologies Partnership (SSTP), has provided grant funding to over 40 small and medium seed companies in six countries – Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Mozambique, Senegal and Tanzania. The feedback received from several of these companies is that they need access to additional financing in the medium- to long-term for both market development and to increase market penetration as the number of smallholder farmers who are familiar with quality seed of superior varieties and actually purchase seeds on a regular basis is limited.

Although there is a need for additional financing, many of the small and medium seed companies that have benefited from grant funding are largely unaware of the different types of financing instruments that are potentially available, including commercial debt or investor equity, and how this can be accessed.

SSTP initiated the development of the Sustainability Estimate Index (SEI) to capture selected values about commercial seed producers on an annual basis starting from project inception. Data for the values is collected on the company and the results presented as trends of ‘projected’ and ‘actual’ values over time to determine if a company is likely to move towards sustainable/profitable operations. The expectation is that companies will start to think more long term about achieving profitability for those that have yet to develop detailed business plans.

Scope of work

SSTP wishes to contract a consultant or consultants from March – May, 2018. The assignment consists of two separate but related components. The first component will be to i) review the SEI, ii) to propose both financial and technical indicators to assess the financial and technical performance of small and medium scale seed businesses, and iii) to propose enhancements to the SEI as a tool for assessing and monitoring performance towards financial sustainability.

The second component will be to i) identify potential sources and types of non-grant funding for small and medium scale seed companies, ii) identify the financial and technical indicators that financial providers require as part of the due diligence process prior to lending, and iii) identify technical assistance needs of small and medium scale seed companies to develop and provide the financial and technical information that will attract non-grant funding.

The second component will be undertaken both virtually and through visits to selected financial institutions.

Both components of the consultancy will require a visit to Nairobi, Kenya to meet with SSTP headquarters-based staff, African Enterprise Challenge Fund (AECF) staff, and other AGRA staff. The first part of the consultancy will require visits to Ghana, Malawi and Tanzania to interview SSTP country teams and selected seed company personnel that have received SSTP grant funding. Each country visit will be for a total of four days including travel to/from the country (16 days), with an additional five days for report writing on completion of the assignment making a total of 21 days.

The consultancy will be expected to deliver, the following outputs:

1. A review of the SEI
2. A list and description of technical and financial indicators to assess the financial and technical performance of small and medium scale seed businesses
3. Proposed enhancements to the SEI as a tool for assessing and monitoring performance towards financial sustainability
4. A list of potential financial providers categorized according to the type of lending offered
5. Detailed description of the technical assistance needs for small and medium scale seed enterprises to attract non-grant funding

Proposal Submission

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

• An understanding of the consultancy requirements
• Methodology and work-plan for performing the assignment
• Project delivery plan
• Team composition and tasks assignment
• Detailed reference list indicating the scope and magnitude of similar assignments
• Relevant services undertaken in the past three years

Evaluation Factors and Sub factors
The Proposal for this contract will be evaluated according to the following criteria:

• Thoroughness in complying with all of the elements laid out in the tasks; Consultant’s experience and capacity
• Years of experience in delivering the contract
• Past performance
• Experience in developing country context
• Language and field experience
• Strong familiarity with scope of work
• Quality of technical proposal
• Methodological approach
• Work plan
• Budget

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.

Questions and/or clarifications may be submitted to Richard Jones (rjones@agra.org) by February 9, 2018. Responses will be shared with all those who will have shared their e-mail addresses with us by February 14.

All interested consultants are asked to submit their proposals by close of business on February 23, 2018 at 17:00 Hours East Africa Time (GMT +3) to the following email address: procurement@agra.org

AGRA reserves the right to determine the structure of the process, number of short-listed participants, the right to withdraw from the proposal process, the right to change this timetable at any time without notice and reserves the right to withdraw this tender at any time, without prior notice and without liability to compensate and/or reimburse any party.