Proposal by RMI Development for Scaling Smallholder Service Delivery

RMI Development

Proposal

Scaling Smallholder Service Delivery

This proposal was created by RMI Development.

SECTION 1: BACKGROUND

Project name: Scaling Smallholder Service Delivery

Name of submitting organization: RMI Development

Proposed skill contributions:

Proposed partners: SPACE Development

Background: The challenge of agribusinesses looking at ways of strengthening their supply chain by developing models of inclusiveness with small scale farmers is ubiquitous across many commodities in Africa. In the past commercial relationships with small scale farmers were more often than not at arm’s length where price and various forms of coercion were the main factors driving the relationship between agribusiness and small scale farmers. In recent years things have begun to change as agribusinesses began to realize the benefits of a more Partnerial and long term relationship with their farmers. Terms such as shared value and social licence to operate began to permeate into the vocabulary of agribusiness as they have attempted to make farmers a more sustainable and resilient part of their supply chain. RMI have been at the forefront of many of these initiatives. A number of the projects that RMI has undertaken over the last ten years have been focussed on understanding the constraints faced by small scale farmers based on these learnings and helping agribusiness design models of support which strengthen the farmer-business relationship.

Of particular relevance to this assignment are the following projects that we have undertaken:

Many of these projects along with a number of others undertaken by RMI in the last 10 years have taken place in Tanzania. It is estimated that RMI has spent over 3000 senior man days on assignment in Tanzania. This has resulted in our team having an excellent understanding of the agricultural and development landscape in the country. For a number of the projects that we have undertaken we have partnered with SPACE Development and have a good working relationship with them. This partnership with SPACE builds on the RMI experience in Tanzania but also ensures local knowledge and solutions form an integral part of the assignment. The project director for this assignment, Ian Sherry speaks fluent Swahilli which is a considerable advantage in working in Tanzania.

Rural communities engaging in agricultural production of crops such as vanilla have a number of coping mechanisms in order to maximize their use of available resources. Our experience is that farmers fall into three main categories depending on a number of different factors inherent in their livelihood strategies. These phases are a survive phase, a growth phase and a flourish phase. In an ideal world and given the right support these phases are a continuum and farmers should progress until the flourish phase is attained. This seldom happens however as structural barriers in the enabling environment, in the support given to the farmers or the agricultural policies and strategies in the country becomes a barrier to progress. Understanding this is important for any agribusiness as farmers in survive mode, are inherently uncertain producers as their vulnerability impacts their ability to produce (especially in non-food crops like vanilla). Farmers that are predominantly in the flourish mode are far more resilient and agricultural production is therefore far more certain.

As RMI we therefore understand that in order to increase the surety of supply of any commodity, one needs to ensure that as many farmers as possible growing that commodity are flourishing. In order to do that, one first needs to segment the farmers to ensure that each farmer segment receives the right training and support (Our experience is that in any farmer population there are a number of different groups). We use a segmentation tool based on farmer’s attitude and their competencies and circumstances to describe each of the groups within the farmer population. Based on this understanding of the farmer population we can describe pathways to move different farmer groups from survive to grow to flourish. In describing these pathways to change we get a clear understanding (based on qualitative and quantitative research undertaken) of the enablers and barriers to change. This will allow us to design interventions to enhance the enablers and remove the barriers to change. Our experience working on similar projects are that some of the barriers to change are not always that obvious and require a good depth of knowledge and understanding of the farmers and communities. 

In one coffee project that we worked on one of the barriers identified was dysfunctional households at a social level. While the agribusiness involved thought that it was not their place to support in the social structure of households our research showed that the household was in fact the unit of production. A weak household therefore translated into dysfunctional production. By strengthening the household though activities such as food security initiatives and financial literacy training of female members of the household a positive impact was seen in the coffee production.

 

SECTION 2: PROJECT APPROACH

Rural communities engaging in agricultural production of crops such as vanilla have a number of coping mechanisms in order to maximize their use of available resources. Our experience is that farmers fall into three main categories depending on a number of different factors inherent in their livelihood strategies. These phases are a survive phase, a growth phase and a flourish phase. In an ideal world and given the right support these phases are a continuum and farmers should progress until the flourish phase is attained. This seldom happens however as structural barriers in the enabling environment, in the support given to the farmers or the agricultural policies and strategies in the country becomes a barrier to progress. Understanding this is important for any agribusiness as farmers in survive mode, are inherently uncertain producers as their vulnerability impacts their ability to produce (especially in non-food crops like vanilla). Farmers that are predominantly in the flourish mode are far more resilient and agricultural production is therefore far more certain. As RMI we therefore understand that in order to increase the surety of supply of any commodity, one needs to ensure that as many farmers as possible growing that commodity are flourishing. In order to do that, one first needs to segment the farmers to ensure that each farmer segment receives the right training and support (Our experience is that in any farmer population there are a number of different groups). We use a segmentation tool based on farmer’s attitude and their competencies and circumstances to describe each of the groups within the farmer population. Based on this understanding of the farmer population we can describe pathways to move different farmer groups from survive to grow to flourish. In describing these pathways to change we get a clear understanding (based on qualitative and quantitative research undertaken) of the enablers and barriers to change. This will allow us to design interventions to enhance the enablers and remove the barriers to change.

Our experience working on similar projects are that some of the barriers to change are not always that obvious and require a good depth of knowledge and understanding of the farmers and communities. In one coffee project that we worked on one of the barriers identified was dysfunctional households at a social level. While the agribusiness involved thought that it was not their place to support in the social structure of households our research showed that the household was in fact the unit of production. A weak household therefore translated into dysfunctional production. By strengthening the household though activities such as food security initiatives and financial literacy training of female members of the household a positive impact was seen in the coffee production.

The TOR are clear in that NEI is looking at developing a strategy that leads to them receiving a continuous and assured supply of vanilla. They require this to be done by getting a clear understanding of who their growers are and what motivates them, and then to use this knowledge to design a series of support interventions for their farmers. We strongly endorse this approach of starting with the farmers and designing strategies and systems of support around them.

The TOR is divided into three work streams with very close linkages between the three. We would see significant merit in one consultant doing all three work streams as to strengthen the linkages between the different outcomes. This is particularly so where survey are done with the community which could be combined to save both cost and to mitigate the impact of survey fatigue on communities. While we have priced the work streams individually, should RMI be awarded the three contracts, we would be happy to discuss how the savings made could be used to strengthen or enhance other aspects of the project.

Work stream 3 looks at tying up the information and strategies developed by the previous work streams into a number of centres of excellence. Our experience is that a centre of excellence is a place of teaching and learning which is an important element of farmer support, but we see the need a bit more holistic than that. We believe that the product which integrates the support that NEI offers its growers should be a Service delivery Model (SDM) This SDM should be a time bound costed plan that clearly articulates the strategies, systems and resources NEI needs to deploy to move farmers from survive to flourish and assure vanilla supply.

We see the need for the establishment of a number of service centres, rather than mainly centres of excellence. These service centres become the physical centre of all support provided to farmers, knowledge, finance, marketing, collection as articulated in the SDM. These service centre will also be the custodians of and fountains for information, knowledge and experience that is shared with and amongst farmers.

SECTION 3: ACTIVITIES AND DELIVERIES

Activity 1: Design the VCoE business model for decentralized field operations
Description: Our approach for this phase of the study is to Design the VCoE business model for decentralized field operations from results of Research undertaken in Part 1 (Increasing Productivity) and Part 2 (Reducing Risk) as set out in a matrix of the fundamental drivers for the SHF. We will also confirm the Goals and Objectives of NEI in terms of production, price and organization. This will enable us to prepare and submit the Inception Report.

We will present the project concepts at a Workshop with key stakeholders that will include NEI, Farmers, District officials, selected banks and input service providers. At the workshop, the TOR for the Pilot will be agreed in terms of its scope, location, division of roles and responsibilities, as well as the M&E systems to be adopted. At the workshop participants will develop a list of desired outputs and outcomes, and the activities to achieve these, as the organisations requirements and options for delivery.

The above will enable us to prepare and Theory of Change Matrix which will be used to develop the Monitoring and Evaluation tool. The above will also enable us to prepare an Options Report setting out financial and operational feasibility of proposed models.

Duration: Four weeks

Deliverables: Report,Presentation,Implementation Plan,Workshop or meeting

Outputs:

    • Inception report
    • Workshop with key stakeholders,
    • ToR for the Pilot,
    • Theory of Change
    • Matrix and Options Report

Outcome: NEI understands the financial and operational feasibility of the VCoE mode.

 

Activity 2: Develop the implementation roadmap for the VCoE models
Description: This phase entails developing a roadmap for the implementation of the VCoE model: setting down and aligning the service delivery objective for NEI, Farmers, Government and Banks. This will be done through communication and engagement with stakeholders. The roadmap will then be further detailed to cover the following:

    • Pathways: looking at the different routes to achieve the objectives
    • Vehicle: looking at institutional options for service delivery
    • Resources: identifying resource needs and development a Resources Schedule
    • Time and Costs: Developing a costed Gant Chart

The Roadmap will be reported to NEI with recommendations

Duration: 4 weeks

Deliverable: Report,Presentation,Implementation Plan,Workshop or meeting

Outputs:

    • Roadmap for the VCoE model

Outcome: NEI understands the key requirements/dependencies to successfully launch and scale the VCoE model

Activity 3: Design a proof-of-concept VCoE trial (implemented by NEI)
Description: This phase is aimed at designing a Proof-of-concept VCoE Trial and implementing it. This will entail the Trail Design and Implementation steps:

    • Develop the ToR for the Trail agreed at the Workshop in V1 in terms of scope, location, overall
      roles and responsibility and M&E.
    • Trim the long list of objectives table at the workshop and set out a short list suitable for the Trail
    • Identify Wards and Villages for the Trail
    • Submit proposal to NEI management and staff. Agree on the next step
    • Hold workshop at Ward level with NEI to inform farmers and ward officials about the proposed
      Trail
    • Finalise activities sets, organisational arrangements and process for the Trail
    • Implement the Trail
    • Monitor and Evaluate implementation and results

Duration: Seven weeks

Deliverable: Report,Presentation,Implementation Plan,Workshop or meeting

Outcome: Planned implementation of the VCoE Trail.

Activity 4: Identify opportunities and dependencies to scale training improvements
Description: The objective of this phase is to Identify opportunities and dependencies to scale the VCoE model. We will do a full analysis of M&E data gathered during Trial. This will enable us to highlight successes and failures and prepare a Trail Evaluation Report that outlines the results and reasons.

This Report will be workshopped with NEI, District, Farmers, Banks and Service Providers to shed further light on successes and failures and lessons learnt.

The Service Delivery Model will be refined based on the M&E results and workshop inputs, as well considering the applicability of the model in others that may have different dynamics and physical circumstances. This will be followed by the costing of the full scale roll out model, which will be submitted to NEI as part of the Roll-out report..

Duration: Five weeks

Deliverable: Report,Presentation,Implementation Plan,Workshop or meeting

Outcome: a costed roll-out model that will lead to improved crop productivity and quality for SHFs and improved cost/reach efficiency for NEI’s supply chain operations.

Project measurables: See below for write up on M & E

Methods of data collection:

    • Interviews
    • Focus Group Discussions
    • Public Meetings
    • Written Surveys
    • Technology
    • Other – See write up

RMI’s methodology for Monitoring and Evaluation is explained here.
Briefly: For each Activity Set, we will design a Theory of Change. This comprises linked  Activities, Outpiuts, Outcomes and Impacts. Our monitors check that the activities have been done,  and the outputs are in place. Our Evaluators evaluate the outcomes, impacts, and the assumptions  and compare with those planned in the Theory. The causal logic and assumptions are also evaluated.
The steps are given here:

Step 1

    1. Develop the Theory of Change for each project component, and jointly for the project as a
      whole.
      The ToC identifies the project activities and their tangible outputs which are needed to produce the desired outcomes. ( for example the Activity “training in governance” leads to the tangible Output of a Board Charter which in turn brings about the outcome of Improved Governance ). Put together, the desired Outcomes, result in the desired Impacts.
    2. Clearly identify the causal logic that link the activities to the outputs, the outputs to the outcomes and the outcomes to the impacts; the causal pathways.
    3. Clearly state the assumptions on which the change theory is based. For example, that the political situation is stable.

Step 2

    1. Develop indicators for each activity, output, outcome and impact. This is done as part of the activity set at the time of execution to suit the actual requirements on the ground.
    2. Indicators must be holistic in nature and properly reflect the clients desired outcomes.
    3. These indicators determine whether things have actually taken place as conceived.
    4. Develop suitable Means of Verification for the selected Indicators. These will be quantitative and qualitative.

Step 3

    1. During execution of the activities use the indicators to determine whether the activities have actually taken place as designed.
    2. After execution, use the indicators to determine whether the outputs of each activity are in place, as designed.
    3. In case of defects or faults, examine the assumptions and causal logic.
    4. Using the indicators, evaluate the desired outcomes and impacts using a set of appropriate indicators.
    5. Evaluate validity of assumptions and correctness of the logical pathways.

Risks in project: In General the risks with these projects are:
– Vision not shared.
– Purposes different.
– Strategies poorly chosen.
– Relationships faulty.
– Key stakeholders ignored.
– Processes too complicated.
– Inadequate time given to thinking.

In particular, we see that on agriculture projects the human element is often ignored: attention is paid to plant health at the expense of human intellectual health.

Please see our comments on the TOR above.

Risk management strategies: Our risk management strategies lie in knowing what we are doing. We have combined experience of over 3,000 man days doing this work. We know and understand Tanzania and the Organizational setup. We understand the importance of relationships and keeping people informed. We ensure empowerment and participation at all times.

SECTION 4: SKILLS AND TEAM

Relevant past experience:

We give below details of three projects that show some of our experience in:

    • Working with a major Agri-industries company to design, pilot and scale comprehensive Outgrower Service Delivery in several countries in Africa
    • Working with smallholder farmers in Tanzania
    • Working on new investor greenfield projects in Tanzania

Outgrower Service Delivery Models for Illovo (2012 – 2019)
Location: Kilombero, Tanzania; Maragra, Mozambique; and Nakambala, Zambia
Funders: EU, Solidaridad and Illovo
Project Objective: Develop a Service Delivery Model for the outgrower extension teams at Kilombero Sugar Tanzania,
Maragra Sugar Mozambique, and Zambia Sugar, Zambia.
Work description:
RMI assisted the three estates to design Outgrower Service Delivery Models suited to the different ways the farmers are organized: in Maragra one large apex cooperative with 1500 farmers, at Kilombero 17 Farmers Haulage Associations and at Mazabuka 5 Farmer companies. Number of farmers at these three estates is approximately 22,000.
Desired outcomes were: growers sustainably supplying good quality crop for processing, at sustainable prices.
Essentials were understanding drivers of farmer behaviour, to encourage new farmers to enter, existing farmers to stay, and all farmers to grow in terms of productivity, income and participation in the industry, establishing reachable targets for productivity, encouraging levels of income and empowering degrees of participation.
These three projects formed part of the base work that enabled the Illovo group of companies throughout Southern Africa design the new outgrower strategy with RMI support.

Kyerwa Coffee Project (2011 – 2016)

Location: Kamuli, Tanzania

Funder: Self-funded by RMI

Project Objective: To move coffee farmers down value chain from selling dried cherries to casual traders to selling prepared green coffee to specialty coffee roasters

Work description: We worked with 150 farmers in three villages of the Kyerwa District of Kagera. The farmers were growing arabica coffee in a mix crop system of bananas, coffee and vegetable crops. The coffee was sold as dried cherries to passing traders but had a potentially very high value as a speciality coffee if sold directly to roasters.

With young people from the community, we set up a training team to train coffee farmers in working together and improved coffee husbandry. We engaged an extension officer from the Coffee Research Institute, with the involvement of the Ward Extension Office in providing the training and designing the quality assurance systems.

Farmers were taught about (1) the coffee industry, the value chain and their position within it (2) opportunities for making more money by moving down the value chain (3) ways of improving productivity through stumping and insect control (4) ways of getting finance for their crop (5) ways of organising themselves so they could improve quality and sell a higher value product.

We engaged with two banks, NMB and CRBD, to get funding for Capacity Building and Group Formation and advances against cherry supplies. This was not successful. We did obtain funding for advance coffee purchases from a charitable foundation, the Burkhardt Foundation of Germany. We tried to get a loan from a bank to buy a huller without success.

The project collapsed after a major infestation with coffee borer beetle which destroyed the intrinsic quality, and hence value, of the coffee berries.

Bagomoyo Eco-Energy Community engagement Project (2011 -2016)

Location: Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Funder: Eco-Energy

Project Objective: Empower the community to actively participate in the planning and implementation of a 3000ha sugarcane outgrower scheme

Work description: Develop and implement the community development and outgrower service delivery strategy for the Eco- Energy sugar project in Bagomoyo, including:

    • Engagement with the District and Village leadership on the outgrower project (Informing and discussing)
    • Training of Farmers and the village leadership
    • Developing options with the villages for the implementation of the outgrower project including models for Service Delivery

While the main Project eventually failed due to a breakdown of relations with the government, our efforts were successful in:

    1. Organizing three rice farmer groups in Kiwangwa, Matipwili and Kigame to upscale and commercialize their irrigated paddy rice production (as precursor to the larger outgrower scheme). These projects are still running.
    2. Designing a framework for holistic delivery of Service to farmers and Communities as part of the EcoDev initiative.
    3. Securing funding from IFAD and AFDB: $50 million for infrastructure; $20 million for farm capitalization; and $8 million for capacity building

Key staff experience:

Team Leader : Ian Sherry

Pilot Design Specialist : Mike Ogg

Pilot Delivery : Reuben Mgonja

Ian Sherry will lead the team with his knowledge and experience of designing Service Delivery to smallholder farmers. He will play an active role in designing materials and delivery systems. Ian has been working with outgrowers for 20 years and has led several initiatives to deliver service to smallholder farmers.

Mike Ogg will assist with the design of the pilot. Mike is a South African with more than 25 years working with smallholders in East and Southern Africa, Mike has been leading the Outgrower Strategy Design for Illovo Sugar and is a leader in ideas around outgrower service delivery. He has extensive in experience in developing farmer service delivery models.

Ruben oversee the delivery of the pilot. He is a Tanzanian Professional with more than 10 years’ experience working with smallholder farmers all over Tanzania in a wide variety of crops. Ruben holds a Bachelors in Agricultural Economics and Agribusiness Master’s in Business Administration.

 

SECTION 5: FEES, REPORTING AND FOLLOW ON

Currency Selection: USD

Upper fee limit: $93 025.00

Payment structure:

    • Milestone/deliverable based;
    • Other

An advance of USD 25,00 to enable us to commence work.

Thereafter full amounts for each activity: staff as budgeted under utilization, Car, Lodging and flights at actual cost.

Reporting processes: N/A

Desired frequency of reporting:

    • Monthly
    • After submission of each deliverable / achievement of each milestone
    • Other – Activity Reports

Interest in follow on work: Yes. We are interested in long term partnership with NEI. We wish to undertake all 3 projects

SECTION 6: ADDITIONAL FILES

CVs

1. Ian Sherry

2. Mike Ogg

Workplan and budget

1. Budget

Additional files

1. Draft Concept Paper- Sugarcane Outgrower Centres

2. Scaling Smallholder Service Delivery