Request for Proposal (RFP) at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA)

Posted by Future on Mon 11th Apr, 2022 -

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) invites interested experts in regenerative agriculture with an understanding of African agriculture and its context to tender RFP documents for the following works:

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) is an African-led nonprofit organization established in 2006 to transform agriculture into farming as a business that thrives, putting farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy. AGRA’s mission is to catalyze and sustain an inclusive agricultural transformation (IAT) in Africa through innovation-driven productivity increases, and access to markets and finance that improve livelihoods of smallholder farmers. With its headquarters in Kenya, AGRA has country teams present in 11 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

Applications are invited for:

Title: Request for Proposal (RFP) - Consensus Building and Institutionalization of Outcome-Oriented Sustainable Farming Approaches

Reference No:

Background of the Assignment
In the context of food insecurity, a changing climate, dwindling natural resources and increasing social and economic inequalities, concerns for more healthy food systems and the ecosystem services that support them, have been gaining momentum particularly as more scientific evidence becomes available. However, the conventional approaches of agricultural sustainability, with largely industrial, specialized few commodities, mechanization and economies of scale may not necessarily work for sub-Saharan Africa due to the different settings and contexts. Hence, there are calls to re-examine this approach considering the broader environmental, food security and socio-economic challenges of Africa.

African agriculture is still suffering from high yield gap, natural resources degradation and vulnerability to climate change, particularly drought and flooding. In Africa there was a 30% increase in the frequency and duration of drought events since the year 2000 . Only in 2019, the climate crisis affected over 33 million people across east and southern African countries in food insecurity as a result of floods, landslides, drought and cyclones. It has been impacting SSA more than and other continents because its economies are largely based on weather-sensitive crop-livestock systems but also due to the low adaptation capacity of communities to threats of climate change.

The recently concluded UN food systems summit  made critical recommendations to ensure a climate resilient and food secured community, among them (i) Boosting Nature-Positive Production at Sufficient Scales that would curb climate change, reducing emissions and increasing carbon capture, regenerating and protecting critical ecosystems and (ii) Building Resilience of communities to Vulnerabilities, Shocks and Stresses. There are multiple approaches out there proposed to address these challenges, including regenerative agriculture, agroecology, sustainable intensification, sustainable farming and so on. However, we are still in search of operationalization of these approaches to support smallholder farmers, their aspirations, needs, livelihoods, rights, and how these needs interact with the resource base in a sustainable way.  This also calls for an integrated approach and strong partnership across scales and disciplines.

AGRA considers Sustainable Farming (SF) as a viable strategy for responding to these multiple challenges faced by SSA; which is an integrated approach for achieving multiple goals of improving the productivity and profitability of small-scale farmers, managing climate and market risks while enhancing soil health, and ecological services of landscapes and livelihoods. It is derived by the local food systems, economic profitability, efficient and recycled use of resources, benefiting from renewable energy, and most importantly adopting agroecological principles.

Continental and regional platforms established at local or higher levels could serve as a strategy to explore technological, organizational, and institutional solutions, making them ideal for addressing farming system problems in an integrated manner. Platforms and policy forums would also serve as a space for learning, action, and change in sustainable food systems. The forums could bring a group of institutions, represented by key individuals with different backgrounds, expertise, and interests, comprising traders, food processors, researchers, government officials, and development partners. The members come together to diagnose problems, identify opportunities, and find ways to achieve their goals. Innovation Platforms facilitate interaction and collaboration within and between networks of farmers, governmental and non-governmental service providers, policymakers, researchers, private sector players, and other stakeholders in the agricultural system.

It is against the above background that AGRA seeks the services of an expert in regenerative agriculture with an understanding of African agriculture and its context to support AGRA’s Programme Innovation and Delivery Division; and the Strategy Development Unit in conceptualising and defining key elements of sustainable farming for its 2030 strategy implementation. The experts will work with and support the AGRA team to identify key innovations and related tracking indicators at country and regional level.

Objective of the Assignment
The objectives of this project would be:
  • to mobilize influential, regional research networks, academics, private sector, development partners and government institutions towards institutionalization and operationalization of sustainable farming in research, development and planning of agricultural systems in targeted AGRA countries,
  • synthesis the available knowledge and innovations for enriching the sustainable farming framework by lessons and innovations learned from the differing concepts and approaches  and
  • develop Theory of Action for sustainable farming workstream and operationalization plans by respective countries.
N/B: The firm will work closely with AGRA’s resilience and sustainable farming team, under the supervision of the Vice President of Programmes Innovation and Delivery.

Description and Scope of Work and Tasks
The key role of the international consultant will include support for developing an enhanced strategic vision, strengthened project oversight:
  • Create consensus among regional research networks (FARA, ASARECA, CCARDESA and CORAF) and the wider research community on the approaches and integration of SF in planning and implementation of agricultural investments:
    • Through the networks, conduct regional meetings in each region for creating a common understanding and joint learning about sustainable farming experiences.
    • Establish the potential partnership (private sector, researchers, governments, development actors etc) and their roles in operationalization of sustainable farming.
    • Identifying major gaps in knowledge and skills required for collaboration and governance related to institutionalization of the sustainable farming principles.
    • Create regular forums for debate and joint action development, considering different farming systems, institutional alliance, and impact. Coordinating interactions emerging from the different interest groups and facilitating negotiation and learning among different actors leading towards sustainable farming
  • Develop a consolidated Theory of Action (ToA), addressing the multiple objectives of productivity, profitability and resilience:
    • Organize farming system specific stakeholder forums to finetune the ToC
    • Identify major system gaps affecting sustainable farming and resilience from the perspective of stakeholders in differing systems
    • Identify priority areas of action from the perspective of different stakeholders
    • Develop a negotiated ToA on sustainable farming for the target countries and systems for AGRA 3.0
  • Strengthening the sustainable farming framework:
    • Establish demand for SF and the current level of understanding on SF from the perspective of communities, national institutions and development partners;
    • Identifying the barriers and the incentives to operationalize sustainable farming at scale.  What does it take, from the perspective of farmers, communities, extension systems and development partners?
    • Suggest policy and investment options for institutionalizing sustainable farming practices at scale and developing influential and impact-oriented communication materials for policy influence and wider impact
    • Develop context-specific SF business models, based on existing scalable innovations of regenerative ag, agroecology, and incorporate it for operationalization of sustainable farming
    • Assessing pathways to scale. Given the complexity of sustainable farming, there is a need to establish the development/scaling pathways for such models but also design an approach how it could capitalize on existing and traditional farming practices.
  • Organize multiple, high level events and communication materials:
    • Organize at least three high level AUC-based meetings for policy advocacy and influence
    • Develop policy briefs on sustainable farming for at least three farming systems
    • Publish reports and other materials emerging from the various events for wider use
Qualifications and Requirements of the firm
The consultancy firm shall demonstrate that it has key expertise with the following requirements:
  • At least 10-year experience in similar scope and assignment
  • Team composition that successfully undertake the assignment
  • Convening ability and networking with regional and continental institutions
  • Experience in hosting and facilitating complex and multinational events on agriculture and climate change
  • Evidence of Strategic vision, strong technical and analytical capabilities.
Application Closing Date
28th April, 2022.

Submission of Documents

Complete proposals SHALL be submitted to:

Please note the following:
  • Please include the subject line “RFP/013/PID/2022” of the email.
  • The Proposals shall be prepared in English Language.
  • The technical proposal shall not exceed 20 pages.
  • The proposal and ALL Attachments submitted via email SHALL NOT exceed 10MB.
  • VALIDITY of the proposal shall be for a period of 90 days from the date of bid closure.
  • Financial proposal shall be sent as a separate attachment and MUST be password protected. The password shall be requested from firms that meet the minimum technical score of 75%).
Click Here (MS WORD) for a detailed description of the RFP.