Proposal by IRDP for Reducing Smallholder Vulnerability



Vanilla Value Chain: Reducing Smallholder Supply Risk Through Access to Finance – Tanzania



Project name: Scaling Smallholder Service Delivery


Proposed skill contributions:
• Stakeholder Mapping and Stakeholder/Community Consultation
• Community Capacity Building
• Environmental Impact Assessment and Mitigation
• Social Impact Assessment and Mitigation
• Gender Impact Assessment / Gender Analysis
• Outgrower Support and Engagement
• Monitoring and Evaluation

Proposed partners: N/A



1.1 Background

Natural Extract Industries (NEI) Ltd is a vertically integrated vanilla agribusiness founded in 2011 and based in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. NEI currently sources 100 percent of its product inputs from 5,000+ smallholder farmers (SHFs) in Tanzania and Uganda, and delivers extension services through a traditional field pyramid model. In Tanzania NEI is focused on providing sustainable social, economic and environmental solutions to rural communities, with a vision to accelerate economic growth of small holder farmers in Tanzania by promoting and adding value to their crops and providing access to global markets.


2. 1 IRDP Profile

The Institute of Rural Development Planning (IRDP), Dodoma was established by the Parliamentary Act No. 8 of 1980. The Act provides a legal framework for the Institute to be established as an important national centre for provision of training, research and consultancy. IRDP strives to enhance and strengthen capacity for Rural Development practitioners by providing post-secondary education and training, research and consultancy services in the country, especially at local levels (from village to district). Certificates of registration, TIN and tax clearances are attached in Annex 1. Currently, the Institute conducts a number of long-term training programmes. These programmes are Certificate in Rural Development Planning, Certificate in Development Administration and Management, Diploma in Development Planning, Diploma in Development Administration and Management, Bachelor Degree in Regional Development Planning, Bachelor Degree in Environmental Planning and Management, Bachelor Degree in Population and Development Planning, Bachelor Degree in Development Finance and Investment Planning, Bachelor Degree in Human Resource Planning and Management, Bachelor Degree in Development Economics, Bachelor Degree in Urban Development and Environmental Management, Post Graduate Diploma in Regional Planning, Post Graduate Diploma in Environmental Planning, Post Graduate Diploma in Governance and Sustainable Development and Post Graduate Diploma in Project Planning and Management,Master Degree in Development Economics and Master Degree in Environmental Planning and Management. With regard to short course training programme, IRDP offers short courses which are intended to acquaint participants with fundamentals of development planning, management and administration. They integrate theory and practice to carter for development skills needed at all levels. Concentration and depth depend on the role of participants with the existing administrative functional set up. Since the year 1979, when the IRDP started operating, its staff has accumulated considerable practical experiences and knowledge on a number of number of consultancies and researches related to development administration and management in line with the mission statement.

IRDP Mission Statement: “To facilitate the process of rural development planning by providingtraining and education, research and public services (consultancy) in rural development planning and management aimed at bridging the knowledge gap among different practitioners of development planning, which include the central government sectors, local government authorities, non-governmental organizations, community based organizations and the private sector.”

2.2 Statement of Qualifications

Our core practice areas are: monitoring and evaluation; action oriented research; knowledgemanagement; professional and technical support services and solutions. IRDP offers technical services in needs assessments; project evaluations, action-oriented research; and data analysis using STATA, SAS, Minitab, Matlab, SPSS, Epinfo, FLAT and ENA for SMART; carry out editorial works of technical reports; design socio-economic profiles and strategic plans. 2.3 Experience in Similar Conditions One of the strengths of the IRDP is to work with the Government, Local Government Authorities (LGAs), Public and Private Sector Organizations, and CSOs in both urban and rural areas.The individual works of key team members for this assignment as detailed in Annexes 3 show that team members have strong experience in working in related conditions in terms of location, target population and methodologies. 2.4 Description of Similar Assignments

IRDP has conducted a number of similar assignments involving different teams or combination of staff. Annex 2 (see additional file) provides a list of 16 selected similar assignments (Re #1-16) conducted by IRDP thus, provide evidence of our track record and competence. In addition to Annex 2, the list ofsimilar assignments conducted by the proposed key team members for this assignment is shown on their respective CVs in Annexes 3 (see additional file).


The consultant has read the Terms of Reference (ToR) and understood that the overall objective of this consulting assignment is to conduct a research project to identify and pilot innovations to improve vanilla supply chain operations efficiency.It is understood that this project aim at scaling up and meet demand of NEI customers through reduction of cost-to-serve and increase in producers’ yields. It is also understood that, this research project which is done in partnership with AgDevCo’s Smallholder Development Unit (SDU), will be carried out through creation of Vanilla Centres of Excellence (VCoEs), which will provide standardized but decentralised training to Smallholder farmers (SHFs) as well as develop financial instruments for the SHF producers. It is clear to us that, this project will aim to achieve three overarching objectives;

a) Increase SHF productivity through targeted training strategies;

b) Decrease SHF supply risk through improved access to finance; and

c) Scale service delivery to SHFs through Vanilla Centres of Excellence (VCoEs).

Since all three objectives will be met through implementation of three workstreams, our institute is applying for workstream two, which is geared toward decreasing SHF supply risk through improved access to finance. Many farmers need cash several months before the vanilla harvest season, incentivising them to prematurely harvest the vanilla and side-sell it to middlemen, as they deeply discount future income streams. This is one of the main challenges that NEI faces in securing higher volumes of good quality vanilla. Thus, in order to mitigate premature harvesting, research will be conducted to assess farmers’ knowledge of financial products and the impact of access to finance. Financial instruments that could be suitable to meet their needs will be identified and piloted to inform deployment at scale. We also do understand that if given the task, it is required of us to undertake four key activities;

a) Assess SHFs’ knowledge of financial products and services, conditions for feasibility and the impact of access to finance on crop yields/quality

b) Identify relevant financial services products and delivery partners

c) Pilot relevant financial services for SHFs

d) Identify opportunities and dependencies to scale financial services

Upon accomplishment of these activities, the short-term and long-term expected outcomes include;

a) NEI understands its SHFs’ knowledge/perception of financial services, and their key barriers to financial inclusion

b) NEI understands the impact of access to finance on crop productivity, quality, and sustainability in SHF households

c) NEI identifies relevant, affordable, and accessible financial products for its SHF network

d) NEI identifies reliable third-party partners to deliver financial services to its SHF network

All of which are the short-term expected outcomes, meanwhile the two long-term expected outcomes are:

a) Improved awareness of and access to financial services in SHF households, leading to: Smoother seasonal production cashflows, improved crop productivity and quality, and decreased vulnerability to farmgate price volatility and crop theft

b) Reduced SHF supply risk for NEI

From the skills and experience requirement, we understood that multi-skilled team with significant experience in conducting qualitative and quantitative research, long term experience of working in local context, understanding of effect of financial access to crop yield and quality, understanding of financial services providers with their products in Tanzania’s economy, and long term experience on developing pilot proposal for expansion to scale, all of which Institute of Rural Development Planning is happily providing.


Approaches and Methodology


This section presents a proposed approach and methodology for this assignment. It is important to note here that what has been presented in this proposal is just a road map on how the consultant plans to execute the assignment. The detailed methodology will be prepared after having consultation with the client and will be reflected in the inception report. 4.1 Approach We propose to use participatory approaches in executing the assignment. The study will use both quantitative and qualitative techniques during data collection and analysis. This approach is considered appropriate for the current assignment because of its potential to generate comprehensive information to meet the objective of the assignment. Data will be collected primarily from SHFs for the sake of understanding (i) their perception/ knowledge of financial products and services available in Tanzania; (ii) how limited access to financial services may be impacting their crop yields and quality; and (iii) factors that enable or impede the uptake of financial products for SHFs. Data will also be collected from key informants which include institutions and companies offering financial product and services, and Villagers Government Leaders (VEOs and Village Chairpersons); and Local Government Authority Officials especially business officers.


Geo Focus, Sampling and Sample Size

The project is being implemented in Arusha, Kagera, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya and Morogoro Region. Multistage sampling will be used as described below:

a) Firstly, from each region, one district will be purposively selected in consultation with NEI.

b) Secondly, from each district, two (2) divisions will be purposively selected in

c) Thirdly, from each selected division, three (3) wards will be randomly selected by using simple random sampling method.

d) Fourthly, from each selected ward, three (3) villages will be randomly selected using simple random sampling method for data collection making a total of nine (9)villages in each district (45 villages in 5 districts implementing the programme). From each village, a sample of 20 smallholder’s vanilla farmers will be enrolled into the study making a total of sample of 900 SHFs (20 SHFs x 45 villages). In addition, we will involve allkey stakeholders for the study. The exact number of respondents will be updated during the development of the inception report.

Since all farms are GPS-mapped, the 20 SHFs will be selected randomly through GPS coordinates provided by NEI for the farms existing in selected villages.

Data Collection Methods and Tools

The consultants will use mixed methods in undertaking the assignment as per the scope of the evaluation. The rationale for employing mixed methods is that there is no a single method which can address all key issues under consideration. For this assignment, therefore, desk review, focus group discussion (FGDs), questionnaires and key informant interviews (KIIs) will be used as per the four activities indicated under this workstream.

Desk Review

Desk review will involve a review of available secondary data such as research articles and reports covering farmers perception and knowledge on uses of financial products and services, effect of financial services on yields and quality, and factors that impede or enable uptake of financial products for SHFs. Also, desk-based review will be used to identify gaps to be filled by data collection exercise and to develop data collection tools.


Focus Group Discussions (FGDs)

FGDs will be conducted with vanilla farmers who are already under the radar of NEI who have first-hand information about the implementation of the project. Each FGD session will consist of between 6 to 12 participants. A checklist will be used to guide FGDs. FGDs will be conducted from two purposively selected villages in each district. The selection of the villages will be done in consultation with NEI. From each selected village, there will be two FGDs (one representing a group of female beneficiaries and another representing a group of male beneficiaries). A total of 20 FGDs (2 FGDs x 10 villages) will be conducted.

Key Informant Interviews (KIIs)

KIIs will be conducted at different levels involving various stakeholders apart from institution providing financial products and services who will be highlighted during inception meeting.

Survey Questionnaire

A survey will be conducted to SHFs whereby a total of 900 SHFs (20 SHFs x 45 villages) will be enrolled into the study. In line with primary data collection, the consultant is going to use Mobile data collection (MDC) approach for the survey methods that involve collecting quantitative data from a big number of respondents at shorter time. In this regard, the Survey Solutions Software developed by World Bank that is free to use will be employed. To date, the software has been used by more than 90 countries. This system will allow converting from inefficient paper-based systems to a simple, fast and flexible mobile and web-based platform for data collection, paper form digitization, agent management and data analysis.

Data Management and Analysis Plan

The consulting team will administer quantitative data entry through Survey solution. The baseline study team, including enumerators will first pre-test the tools in anarea that will not be included in the actual baseline study exercise to make sure that there are no issues that require modification or change in the tool before using it in all the target areas. The pre-testing will enable enumerators to familiarize with the tools and raise any challenges encountered during the pre-test for adjustment and clarification. Based on the nature of the data to be collected, that is primary data and most of the secondary data, the analysis of data will also vary accordingly. For this case, data that are qualitatively collected will be analyzed using thematic analysis. Data collection tools will be prepared in English and translated into Kiswahili. Interviews and focus group discussions proceedings will be conducted in Kiswahili. Proceedings will be audio recorded. Recordings will allow preservation of participants’ words and retrieval of information at any time needed during data processing and report writing. The analysis of data will combine both deductive and inductive strategies. In this regard, we will neither approach the data with rigid set of pre-conceptions nor fully inductively but rather abductively, a combination of the two. This is based on the assumption that a better and broader understanding of the phenomenon under investigation would be informed by bothresearch objectives/questions and emerging insights from the data. The analysis, however, will proceed through the following three main steps: preparing and organizing data, creating categories/themes, and coding, presentation and interpretation.

Data from the interviews and focus group discussions will be presented in verbatim quotations. The interpretation of the findings will be informed by spiral-like movement, which will involve going back and forth from the data and the evolving interpretation. In addition, a codebook for quantitative data will be created.

Quality Assurance

In order to ensure quality and credible data collection and analysis, the study will be led by a qualified and experienced consultant with a background in quantitative and qualitativeresearch methodologies. In addition, the study will involve other researchers who will be engaged in data collection, data management, transcription, entry, and cleaning. The consultants will observe key elements of data quality: validity, completeness, consistency, accuracy, verifiability and timeliness.

a) Validity indicates whether the data collected and reported by grantees appears tomeasure the approved performance measure or program goal.

b) Completeness indicates whether there is enough information to draw a conclusionabout the data and whether enough individuals responded to it to ensure representativeness.

c) Consistency considers the extent to which data is collected using the same process andprocedures by everyone doing the collecting and in all locations over time.

d) Accuracy: The degree to which data correctly describes the “real world” object or eventbeing described.

e) Verifiability considers the extent to which grantees have ways to verify that data wascollected and reported according to plans and procedures.

f) Timeliness: The degree to which data represent reality from the required point in time.

Furthermore, to maximize the quality of the study conducted by multiple researchers, the study will adhere to various quality control measures from the commencement through completion of the study as outlined below:

a) Briefing sessions: This will involve briefing meetings among the research team members and between the team and the client. The sessions will focus on various components of the study before and during data collection, and during data entry, analysis and reporting phases.

b) Preparation, exchange and finalization of proposal with detailed methodology, sampling strategies, data collection tools, and timeframe.

c) Pre-testing and revision of data collection tools.

d) Back translation (English-Kiswahili) of finalized data collection tools.

e) Data cleaning. This will involve checking the data for accuracy.

f) Member checks of the transcribed data and identified themes.

g) Exchanges of drafts and final report among researchers, and between the research team and the client.


Activity 1: Inception report and Data collection tools preparation

Development of inception report

Validation of inception report

Data collection tools preparation

Duration: 10 days.

Deliverable: See additional file.


Activity 2: Data collection and Analysis

Pretesting of data collection tools

Data collection

Data analysis and report writing

Duration: 25 days.

Deliverable: See additional file.

Activity 3: Review of report
Description: See additional file.

Duration: 2 days.

Deliverable: See additional file.

Activity 4: Validation of the report
Description: See additional file.

Duration: 3 days.

Deliverable: See additional file.

Activity 5: Submission of the final report for activity 1&2

Description: See additional file. 

Duration: See additional file.

Deliverable: See additional file.

Activity 6: Piloting

Linking selected financial products and services to farmers

Collecting feedback from field

Submission of final report on activity 3&4

Duration: 30 days.

Deliverable: See additional file.

Project measurables: See additional file.

Methods of data collection: See additional file.

Risks in project: See additional file.

Risk management strategies: See additional file.


Relevant past experience: See additional file (Annex 2)

  • Key staff experience: See additional file (section 6)



Currency Selection: TZS

Upper fee limit: 109,850,000/=

Payment structure: Milestone/deliverable based

Reporting processes: Interviews,Focus Group Discussions

Desired frequency of reporting: Monthly

Interest in follow on work: Contract dependent



CV 1

See additional file (pp 27-46)

Workplan and budget


See additional file (section 7, p 11)

Additional files