Proposal by AgriFrontier for Vanilla Value Chain: Scaling smallholder service delivery

Agri Frontier


Vanilla Value Chain: Scaling Smallholder Service Delivery

This proposal has been created by Agri Frontier Ltd.


Project name: Vanilla Value Chain: Scaling Smallholder Service Delivery – Tanzania

Name of submitting organization: Agri Frontier Ltd

SP proposed partner(s):

Farm Concern International, FCI, is an Africa-wide agri-market development agency specialized in:

i) Value Chain Analysis,

ii) Profitable Smallholder Commercialization and

iii) Market Access

iv) Capacity Development

v) Enterprise Incubation & Graduation.

Their experiential journey spans over almost a decade and a half, with scaling up having been rolled out in over 24 countries in Africa, impacting 18 million smallholder farmers and agro-pastoralists. FCI’s role will be our eyes and ears on the ground. Their extensive experience working with small holder farmers in Tanzania, long term connections with local and national Tanzanian government authorities and private sector makes them ideal partners to assist in understanding the needs and expectations of the small holders farmers. Farm Concern works with the Tanzanian Government (Agriculture Dept and Community Development Dept.) very closely since first opening their Tanzanian office in 2007.

In mid-January, Farm Concern was part of an organising committee with the Government and organised an NGO Forum in Arusha. In Shinyanga province, Tanzania, Farm Concern is closely affiliated with the District Administrator and provides a monthly update. FCI have offices in Arusha and Kahama since 2007 and have extensive experience in training SHFs in padi, sorgum, sunflower, cassava, horticulture and fruits. They have also set up a one stop eco center in Kahama to serve as a center of knowledge sharing and network building. In addition to truly understanding local farmer needs by developing training material in the local dialects, using video and audio and training village champions to enhance long term capacity.

Proposed skill contributions:

    • Legal and Institutional Due Diligence, Risk Analysis/Policy Analysis
    • Stakeholder Mapping and Stakeholder/Community Consultation
    • Community Capacity Building
    • Social Impact Assessment and Mitigation
    • Gender Impact Assessment / Gender Analysis
    • Outgrower Support and Engagement
    • Monitoring and Evaluation
    • Negotiations and Agreements
    • Establishment of Project-Specific Grievance Mechanisms

Background: Agri Frontier Limited is an agri investment and agri-business advisory firm specialised in helping to create world class farming and integrated agribusinesses across the value chain, with a focus on frontier markets, particularly Africa. Agri Frontier in collaboration with Farm Concern provide innovative solutions and true value-added services to investors, and businesses operating in the Agri sector in diverse environments and situations. We provide the following key services:

    • Development of strategy and business plans
    • Feasibility studies
    • Business Valuations
    • Financial services
    • Value Chain Analysis
    • Profitable Smallholder Commercialisation
    • Market Access
    • Capacity Development
    • Enterprise Incubation & Graduation.


Development ‘centers of excellence’ starts with the goal is to institutionalize “best practices” in the form of consistent analytical methodologies, improved approaches to maximize value and the spread of these best practices through a decentralized extension model, the project will address the issue of NEI’s current labour-intensive operating model where extension services are provided to SHFs by field staff to SHFs. This results in very high cost-to-serve over the life of the vanilla vines.


    • Using technology to design, test and roll out a new farmer-led extension service operating model that can be scaled in a more cost-efficient way.
    • To disseminate knowledge through Vanilla Centres of Excellence (VCoEs) where “top-tier” farmers will interact with “second-tier” farmers through trainings and demonstrations.
    • The end goal is to scale the model at national level in Tanzania (and eventually Uganda and DRC) in a cost-efficient way, that ensures dissemination of key messages with a lower field officer-to-farmer ratio. Longer-term outcomes of the project:
    • Increased access to inputs, training, and other extension resources for SHFs
    • Improved crop productivity and quality for SHFs
    • Improved cost/reach efficiency for NEI’s supply chain operations

To achieve these objectives, four main activities are proposed:

Activity 1: Feasibility of VCoE

    • Define objectives and vision
    • Identification of gaps, available skills, governance and support.
    • Determine regional focus
    • Engage with SHF and potential users to understand usability and technology competence level
    • Document end user requirements and gap analysis

Activity 2: Design VCoE business plan

    • Design business model and implementation roadmap
    • Operational and resource requirements
    • Strategy
    • Knowledge management
    • Financial model
    • SWOT & Risk Analysis
    • Target segments
    • Communication strategies
    • Implementation methodology
    • High level project timelines

Activity 3: Design proof of-concept VCoE trial (executed by NEI)

    • Select roll out location
    • Attend and assist with implementing trial
    • Monitoring and evaluation
    • Feedback and impact analysis

Activity 4: Scalability recommendations

    • Recommendation Report
    • Scalability methodology
    • Results and
    • Implementation and scalability strategies


Activity 1: Feasibility of VCoE
Description: The objective of this phase is to discuss and agree with Natural Extracts Industries (NEI) and possibly AgDevco’s Smallholder Development Unit on our proposed approach for conducting the assignment to manage expectations by all parties and mobilise all resources required.

Activity 1.1: Inception Meeting – An inception meeting will be held to agree on the following:

    • Define objectives and vision.
    • Clarification on expectations of all stakeholders
    • Identification of gaps, available skills, governance and support
    • Agreeing on proposed approach and timelines for the assignment
    • Identification and agreement on additional stakeholders, if any, to be involved in the assignment
    • Determine regional focus
    • Appointment of assignment co-ordinators.

Activity 1.2: Feasibility Scoping Study – The scoping will entail getting on the ground to understand the requirements, risks and feasibility of launching a VCoE for the SHFs.

    • Engage with SHF and potential users to understand usability and technology competence level through
    • Small Holder Farmer Interviews – Agri Frontier will sample 30 farmers to carry out in-person interviews with their preferred method of knowledge sharing and transfer, their usage and access to technology, challenges in the use of these, barriers in use of others within their knowledge and gaps.
    • Focus Group Discussions – Agri Frontier will shortlist 3 farmer groups for in person group discussions on becoming ‘top-tier’ farmer led VCoE to analyse their expectation, ability to demonstrate VCoE

Deliverables at the end of this phase will be:

    • Interview Transcripts & Survey Responses
    • A feasibility report covering resultant finding from the farmers scoping exercise, key challenges and opportunities, risk factors and mitigation measures in setting up a successful VCoE.

Duration: 4 weeks – <3 months
Deliverable: Report, Workshop or meeting

Activity 2: Design VCoE Business Plan
Description: In this activity, we will develop a comprehensive business model and implementation roadmap to outline operational and resource requirements needed and execution steps to roll out a VCoE across Tanzania and Uganda.

The business plan will include a strategy, how to manage and expand on high quality knowledge, communication strategies on onboarding farmers and ensuring sustained interesting in VCoE participation. The plan will also outline a detailed 5-year project execution financial model, in addition to a SWOT & risk analysis.

Finally, methodology and roadmap of the implementation of both a pilot and a longer term expansion will be outlined, complete with high level project timelines. We shall develop a dynamic financial model (profit
and loss, balance sheet and cash flow statements) based on the below assumptions that will be determined during the feasibility assessment. An investor return analysis will also be performed to include an IRR and ROI analysis.

Deliverables at the end of this phase will be:

    • VCoE Business Plan and Implementation Roadmap

Duration: 2 – <4 weeks
Deliverables: Report, Implementation Plan

Activity 3: Design proof-of-concept VCoE trial (executed by NEI)
Description: The trial will be executed over 1 month within five small farming villages and SHFs to test the digital tool and evaluate uptake and sustained use of the system. The focus will be on risk management measures, long term benefits and sustainability.

Throughout this process Agri Frontier will attend during the first days of implementation and assist with execution, whilst at regular intervals monitoring usage, risk, feedback and evaluating impact.

Duration: 4 weeks – <3 months
Deliverables: Progress updates and feedback

Activity 4: Scalability recommendations
Description: Agri Frontier will present the findings of the evaluation and monitoring stage of the VCoE for the purposes of identifying opportunities and areas of improvement to be used in the upscaling phase of the program. A risk-benefit assessment will be carried out to determine what areas of the program need to be pivoted to ensure sustainable results.

The report will also include scalability methodology to ensure successful execution of expansion and uptake of the digititsed VCoE tool and knowledge sharing between ‘top-tier’ champions and the ‘second-tier’.

Deliverables at the end of this phase will be:

    • Final recommendation report on upscaling the VCoE in Tanzania and Uganda
    • Short Presentation to summarize key findings and recommendations

Duration: 0 – <2 weeks

Deliverables: Report, Presentation

Risks in project:

    • Resistance to change risk is that SHF are resistant to changing their ways of knowledge transfer and do not accept new digital means.
    • Assumptions risk that the decentralized means of VCoE is not the most effective form of creating excellence and providing support.
    • Technology risk where service outages, hosting issues or accessibility to technology could disrupt the project.
    • Risk that ‘top-tier’ farmers do not feel motivated to be a champion for knowledge transfer.
    • Skills risk that upon scaling that all ‘top-tier’ and digital content share the same knowledge and skill level that is expected of a VCoE.
    • Information security risk where since SHF details for network development, farm information and project content can be exploited if there are information security vulnerabilities.

Risk management strategies: Throughout the scoping and engagement process, potential risks will be captured using our Risk
Capture Form. These risks will be analysed and quantified to a probability of impact. A Risk Management Plan will be developed within the Business Model that will include mitigative actions. Throughout the project, we will assess the effectiveness of these risk mitigative actions through risk audits to continually improve implementation and execution of the VCoE project. 


Relevant past experience:

PROJECT A: Commercial Villages for Sustainable Communities in Kahama District, Tanzania for BARRICK BUZWAGI GOLD MINE.

Project duration: 3 years (2018-2020)

Objective 1: To improve productivity and Commercialization for smallholder farmers

    • Facilitate Partnerships with private input companies for enhanced access to quality seeds and other farm inputs
    • Facilitate participatory development of Commercial Village Action plans in partnership with Village and ward leadership
    • Capacity Development for Youth and Women through Pitching forums,
      business plans, coaching and Mentorship on Agri-entrepreneurship

Objective 2: Developing private sector partnerships and enhancing access to reliable markets

    • Conduct Value Chain Analysis, Market Information, monitoring & dissemination
    • Conduct viability assessment of viable Agri-Enterprise opportunities for Youth Employment and Women incomes
    • Facilitate Match Making/Networking forums and Linkages with Business Services Providers
    • Financial institutions, equipment fabricators, skills development

Objective 3: Enhancing adaptation to Climate change, increase household Resilience and sustainable Natural Resource Management

    • Identification and Promotion of Water harvesting and storage Technologies to enhance households and Villages capacity to absorb shocks
    • Mapping and Promotion of partnerships that enhance Irrigation Infrastructure in identified Villages
    • Facilitate establishment and Management of Village Tree Nurseries for increased access to seedlings
    • Facilitate Forums for Dissemination of Seasonal planting Guides and Weather information dissemination service

PROJECT B: Enhancing competitiveness for smallholder value chains in informal markets through an integrated Business Model (Seed_Farmer_Market_Consumer (SeFaMaCo Business Model) for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Kagera, Mwanza, Kilimanjaro, Dodoma, Morogoro, Arusha and Zanzibar from 2014-2018

Objective 1: To strengthen partnerships in the traditional informal markets and create market linkages with processors, open market traders and export companies for sweet potato and banana

    • Buyer partnerships in the informal and formal markets for domestic trade promotion
    • Create Village business forums for buyers and producers for banana and sweetpotato to resolve conflict and create better opportunities for rural trade to flourish
    • Create village processing units for farmer organizations for postharvest
      management and linkage with urban food distributors.

Objective 2: Seed Systems Strengthening through decentralization of the multiplication services

    • Profiling of rural seed system multipliers and capacity development to ensure production and adoption of quality declared seeds
    • Linkage with research systems for production and distribution of quality basic seeds to seed multipliers
    • Production and dissemination of technologies that enhance quality seed production for banana and sweet potato

Objective 3: Consumer Awareness and nutrition marketing

    • Creation of rural consumer clubs for nutrition education and creation of awareness
    • Community demonstration and creation of awareness on best practices in cooking and food preparation for better nutrition outcomes at the village level

Objective 4: Design farmer Level Interventions that increase
productivity, skills development. Access to inputs and linkages to service providers including financial services

    • Farmer capacity development through the cluster formation for commercial villages
    • Training and material development for enhanced skills in production and marketing of sweet potato and banana
    • Demonstration facilities within the villages for showcasing best
      practice in banana and sweet potato production

PROJECT C: Domestic Horticultural Markets for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in Tanzania, Kenya, Rwanda & Malawi in 2011- 2015

Objective 1: To identify, map, target and expand viable domestic market opportunities for smallholders within regional and domestic marketing systems

    • Market research conducted in 45 wholesale traditional markets across the four countries leading to identification of new business
    • Facilitated feedback business forums between 272 Commercial Villages and 820 traders
    • Market linkages established for 349 Commercial Villages translating into USD 193,580,968 and an estimated income of USD 554,673 per commercial village

Objective 2: To increase competitiveness through a value chain-wide capacity building for smallholders, village subcommittees, village leaders and informal traders on business efficiency, business growth, natural resource management and commercialization.

    • Over 394 CV farmer training forums conducted (Kenya-120, Tanzania-116, Rwanda-80 and Malawi-78) on farming business, savings, record
      keeping & group dynamics
    • 349 Commercial villages trained on commercial village model and
      collective action also trained on savings, credit and record keeping
    • Leadership training conducted on the roles of Sub-committees with over 47.75% women participation
    • 402 CoTeFs/Commercial Village Facilitators have been trained and exposed to the markets
    • 86 Market Exposure forums have been conducted for the CV farmers
    • 48 commodity based trader associations trained on business skills, collective action and financial management

Objective 3: To develop strategic business partnerships between Commercial villages and formal buyers, traders associations and business service providers

    • 1,368 traders identified and 126 commodity based trader associations established
    • 55 formal buyers identified and 495 partnerships with informal buyers established
    • 63 business support service providers identified

Key staff experience:

AgriFrontier’s team comprises of Andrew Ritchie as the deputy team lead on the entire assignment with support from Ann, George and Anu Menon, all with Agri Frontier. In addition, we have collaborated with Farm Concern International on the assignment, and they bring in vast
experience in extension services, rural economics and farming systems critical in addressing value chain-wide requirement.

The combination of the consultancy team brings in a variety of experience in training and capacity building, stakeholder mapping and consultation, socioeconomic assessments, monitoring and evaluation as well as an understanding of the agribusiness sector and its needs.

Winston Mwombeki, working with Farm Concern International
will be the team lead for the entire assignment. FCI team has effectively managed multi-donor grants including grants from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, USAID, FAO, EU, CIDA, IFAD, IDRC, AGRA, COMESA, Ford Foundation.

To implement the Commercial Village Model, FCI has FCI’s 148 technical staff distributed in 23 offices across Africa participate as a key market systems development resource. Additionally, FCI has 2,450 Commercial Villages Trade Facilitators (CVTFs) who are the frontline last mile delivery team with 1 CVTF supervising 3-5 Commercial Villages.

A Commercial Zone (CoZo) comprises of 10,000 Smallholder Farmers (SHFs) from several Commercial Villages forming a trading bloc viable for private sector investments and business partnerships. The team has proven competencies in extension services, rural economics and farming systems critical in addressing value chain-wide requirement.

Andrew Ritchie – Team Lead

Andrew has worked in the African agribusiness and finance industry for over 15 years, living in Kenya between 2002 and 2014, and is the founder and Managing Director of Agri Frontier. Andrew worked as Finance Director of Finlays, a wholly owned subsidiary of John Swire & Sons, with extensive tea and horticultural operations in East Africa (22,000 employees). Andrew also worked as an Investment Manager with ALTIMA Partners LLP, a $2.5 billion alternative investment manager focusing on the agri sector.

Andrew’s combined experience of ‘C’ level finance roles for one of Africa’s largest integrated agri-groups together with working in Africa focused agri-investment for a large Private Equity fund manager was the catalyst for founding Agri Frontier.

Andrew has a BSc (Hons) Agricultural Business Management degree from the University of London and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Andrew will oversee the assignment and will act as the point of communication with NEI. He will also be pivotal in reviewing the content and reports prepared by the consultancy team.

Ann Kitonga – Agri Business Consultant

Ann is a Senior Agri Business Finance Consultant at Agri Frontier, based in the Kenya office. Prior to joining Agri Frontier, Ann worked for KPMG and Kenya Climate Innovation Centre with companies in energy and agribusiness offering business advisory services, helping them understand their capital requirements and managing the process of raising capital from equity and debt providers.

Ann has worked with over 100 businesses across East Africa and has a wide exposure to a range of sub-sectors and business models. Ann’s expertise includes business advisory, business valuations, research, business appraisal, investment memorandum and pitch deck preparation, and project management of the investment and business sale process.

Ann has a Bachelor’s in Economics and Statistics graduate from Kenyatta University and a CFA level 2 candidate.

George Kanyeki – Agri Business Consultant

George is an Agri Business Finance Consultant at Agri Frontier, based in the Kenya office. Prior to joining Agri Frontier, George worked for PKF Corporate Finance as a Financial Analyst. George has worked for a range of businesses across East Africa over more than 5 years.

George’s expertise includes feasibility studies, financial modelling, business valuations, market research, business appraisal and due
diligence. George has a Bachelor’s in Business Administration (First Class) from the Technical University of Mombasa and is a CPA Finalist.

Anu Menon – Finance Consultant

Anu is a Finance Consultant at Agri Frontier, based in the UK office. She is the founder of Ethico Foods, a climate change centric food start-up and has extensive experience in engineering, management and corporate social responsibility. Anu also has experience in corporate reporting, investor relations, communications and strategy.

Anu has a BEng in Electrical and Computer Systems and a Master of Business, both from Monash University, Australia. She is currently pursuing a MSc in Food Safety and Quality from the Royal Agricultural University, UK.

Anthony Kaunga:

Antony is highly knowledgeable and experienced in Arid and Semi-Arid Value Chains. More specifically, his experience includes Smallholder Commercialization and Market Development, Range Management, Livestock Production, Project Management, Monitoring & Evaluation, Market Research and Value Chain Analysis at national and the sub-region levels. Antony has served in various capacities in the past nine years in research, project management and economic development with both national and international development agencies.


Currency Selection: USD

Upper fee limit: $80,550

Payment structure: Milestone/deliverable based

Reporting processes: N/A

Desired frequency of reporting: Monthly

Interest in follow on work: Yes



 1. CV_Wiston Mwombeki

2. CV_Andrew Ritchie

3. CV – Haika Jan 2020

4. CV_Antony Kaunga Kirigia

5. CV_John Riungu

6. George Kanyeki CV

Workplan and budget

1. Workplan

2. Budget

Other file

1. FCI Profile

2. EMAIL Brochure Agri Frontier