We're looking for a digital solutions developer for the horticulture value chain in Tanzania's Southern Highlands

We're looking for a digital solutions developer for the horticulture value chain in Tanzania's Southern Highlands

14/09/2021
in News

1.0. Introduction

1.1. Background

Rikolto is an international network organisation with over 40 years of experience in partnering with food chain stakeholders in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. We build bridges of trust and trade between the food industry, governments, research institutions, financial institutions, and farmers’ organisations around one central question: ‘What will we eat tomorrow?’

Rikolto’ s global strategy is directed towards structural changes in the agri-food system and upscaling of well-functioning practices and policies that unlock the farming potential of a critical mass of small holder farmers. Clear structural change/up-scaling agendas are agreed upon for which specific strategies and actions are developed. This is followed by design of concrete interventions in pilot chains in order to experiment, learn and build evidence to influence the agreed changes. The potential of technology to address financial needs along the value chain has yet to be fully realized.

Rikolto in East Africa secured funding from EU under AGRI-CONNECT programme for a 4-year horticultural programme in Tanzania, which aims to improve and increase market competitiveness in the sector supplying both domestic and international markets. This will run from 2020 to 2024 covering southern highlands regions of Tanzania especially Iringa, Katavi, Njombe, Mbeya and Songwe.

1.2. Assignment Background and Agriculture Digitalization

As agriculture and financial services move into the digital age, new technologies are emerging with the potential to extend the reach and product diversity of value chain finance to smallholders. Much of the innovation has been focusing on smallholders with existing connections to buyers and digital technology is increasingly enabling outreach to smallholders who have only loose connections to value chains and who have until recently been largely excluded from the benefits of value chain financing.

Poor infrastructure and a nascent digital ecosystem are considered to be among factors which make it difficult to provide and use digital services among farmers in rural areas. With the advent of these new technological innovations, a growing number of initiatives are changing how value chain finance can reach smallholders. Like in many African countries, in Tanzania especially in the Southern Highlands, horticulture value chain actors are facing challenges in accessing critical and most important services. Some of common challenges includes but not limited to; Smallholders cannot access financing for high-quality inputs, Buyers face high cost and risk when paying smallholders in cash, Smallholders lack access to markets for crops, Buyers lack funds to pay smallholders quickly leading to side-selling.

1.3. Rikolto strategy and experience on promoting Digital Solution to farmers

Rikolto has practiced different digital solution technologies with farmers which were either developed from the hired expertise (MIS-Uganda and Mkulima-Hub in Tanzania) or adopted from other partner organizations (RATRIN, G-SOKO,¬). From these digital interventions the following lessons were clutched out and need to be considered while developing a new digital solution.

  • The proposed ICT solutions should user friendly e.g., has ana option to be translated to local languages, age wise.
  • Proposed digital solution should consider the scalability of the model.
  • Consider bundled ICT /digital solution i.e. it can provide both solutions for market access, extension service, payment solutions, access to credit etc.
  • The ICT /digital solutions should be farmer-centered to incentivize the farmers to adopt the technology. The platform can solve problems at hand.
  • The ICT/digital solution should be affordable to farmers and should not add more burden in terms of costs. The transaction costs should be as low as possible to make the solution sustainable.

2.0. Development of a digital solution / platform for farmers’ access to markets and financial services in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands

Rikolto through its AGRI-CONNECT programme want to improve, increase efficiency and availability of different business development services to smallholder horticulture farmers. The use of ICT or digital platforms has proven to be among the easiest, reliable, and cheap way of delivering services to smallholder farmers especially on access to market and finance. We are therefore looking for a consultant who can develop a digital solution for horticulture value chains in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands to ensure farmers have access to markets and finance services.

2.1. Objective of the assignment

The overall objective for this assignment is to develop a digital solution / platform for farmers’ access to markets and financial services in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands. The following are three specific objectives to be considered:

  1. Developing digital solution to Improve the efficiency of financial transactions on horticulture value chain in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands.
  2. Developing digital Solutions overcoming barriers to providing financial services to smallholder horticulture farmers in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands.
  3. Developing a digital solution for improving market opportunities for horticulture smallholders in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands.

2.2. Scope of work

This assignment shall be completed within 16 days from inception, according to a time investment as proposed by the consultant.

Role and responsibilities of the consultant

During the delivery of the assessment, the role of the consultant(s) will be:

  • Sharing a proposal with the Rikolto technical team describing how you plan to undertake the assignment.
  • Preparing an inception report, by conducting an inception meeting with the Agri-Connect programme technical team for better understanding of the programme and what is expected from this assignment.
  • Presentation of the qualified technical team to be responsible in developing digital solutions for horticulture value chains in the Southern Highlands.
  • Development a digital solution / platform for farmers’ access to markets and financial services in Tanzania’s Southern Highlands.
  • Training of project beneficiaries and service providers on the use of the developed system.

Expected outputs for the assignment

  • An inception report as how you plan to undertake the assignment.
  • An assignment comprehensive report clearly describing how the assignment was conducted.
  • Developed digital/ICT platform to be used by farmers and other horticulture value chain actors in Southern Highlands
  • Presentation on How to use the developed system or Platform

2.3. Implementation plan

Phase Deliverables Payment Schedule # of Days
Inception Draft inception report and presentation 20% 2
Development of Digital Platform Developed digital/ICT platform to be used by farmers and other horticulture value chain actors in Southern Highlands 50% 8
Final Report An assignment comprehensive report clearly describing how the assignment was conducted. 20% 2
Training Capacity building for Rikolto staff and platform beneficiaries on use of the system 10% 1
Total 100%

3.0. Qualifications and Experience

  • A Master’s degree in social sciences, Business Administration, Agribusiness statistics, economics or equivalent.
  • Must have a minimum of 5 years of overall experience conducting market analysis; evaluations, development of data base and financial systems, baseline studies and/or research on horticulture value chain.
  • Experience in developing digital tools for smallholder farmers
  • Good understanding of Market System Development (MSD) and M4P Approaches.
  • Familiarity and understanding of agribusinesses and demonstrated knowledge and professional experience in developing agribusiness financial models, business and strategic plans pertaining to horticulture sub-sector.
  • Experience in investment appraisal, project finance, and/or corporate finance
  • Experience of using Microsoft Excel to at least an intermediate level
  • A proven track record of conducting quantitative and qualitative research in the market system.
  • Relevant experience with digitalized data collection via Kobo Toolbox, ODK or similar.
  • Demonstrated experience of working in donor funded projects under public sector and /or NGOs background

4.0. Procedure to apply

Qualified candidates (either Individual Consultant or Consultancy Firm) are invited to submit their Technical and Financial proposal together with the following documents:

  • Cover letter.
  • CVs of proposed consultant teams including reference details of previous clients.
  • Samples of 2-3 similar previous work on ICT Platform development pieces, (assessment/survey/baseline survey/evaluation).

Send your proposal via email to eastafrica [at] rikolto.org by 30th September 2021 and indicate “Digital Platform Southern Highlands” in the subject line.