SLP DB UI: Projects – ToR – Increasing SHF productivity

Natural Extract Industries Ltd.

Terms of Reference (ToR)

Vanilla Value Chain: Increasing Smallholder Farmer Productivity – Tanzania


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Project name: Vanilla Value Chain: Increasing Smallholder Farmer Productivity – Tanzania

Name of organization: Natural Extract Industries Ltd. (NEI)

Service(s) required to deliver project:
    • Research and analysis on smallholder farmers (SHFs)
    • SHF training content development
    • SHF training pilot testing and analysis
    • Training programme improvement

Project location(s): Tanzania: Arusha, Kagera, Kilimanjaro, Mbeya, Morogoro

ToR closing date: 31 January 2020 (13H00 UTC)

Submission instructions: Proposals are to be submitted through the Social License Platform (SLP)

Deadline for clarification questions: 24 January 2020 (13H00 UTC)
Answers to all of the clarification questions received from bidders will be posted on the SLP.

Clarification questions document: Vanilla Value Chain – Clarification questions

Background: Natural Extracts Industries (NEI), Ltd. is a vertically integrated vanilla agribusiness founded in 2011 and based in Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. NEI currently sources 100% 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 partnership with AgDevCo’s Smallholder Development Unit (SDU), NEI is conducting a research project to identify and pilot innovations to improve its supply chain operations efficiency. In order to scale and meet demand from its customers, NEI is seeking to reduce its cost-to-serve and increase its producers’ yields. This will be done through the creation of Vanilla Centres of Excellence (VCoEs), which will provide standardised but decentralised training to SHFs (incorporating learnings from behavioural research), as well as develop financial instruments for the SHF producers.

The project will aim to achieve 3 overarching objectives:
    1) Increase SHF productivity through targeted training strategies;
    2) Decrease SHF supply risk through improved access to finance; and
    3) Scale service delivery to SHFs through Vanilla Centres of Excellence (VCoEs).

These 3 objectives will be implemented through 3 project workstreams. Third-party service providers will be hired to execute each workstream, with NEI serving as the programme manager across all 3 project workstreams.

This ToR posting is for project workstream 1 only; however, ToRs for all 3 project workstreams are available on the SLP at the links below. Qualified service providers are encouraged to apply for additional project workstreams via the SLP.

Workstream 2: Reducing Smallholder Supply Risk Through Access to Finance (link)

Workstream 3: Scaling Smallholder Service Delivery (link)


The objective of this workstream is to increase vanilla SHF productivity through the research and design of improved farmer training strategies. Productivity among SHFs is highly variable, with average productivity being too low compared to theoretical potential yields. The behavioural productivity drivers at farmer level are unclear, limiting NEI’s ability to address productivity concerns.

Due to lengthy timelines of vanilla production (3-4 years from planting to first flowering; several more to achieve vines’ full maturity and higher yield), there is an inherent risk that SHFs may lose interest in the crop after NEI has invested in them but before achieving any/optimal production.
In order to implement corrective actions, NEI is looking for a suitable contractor to conduct human-centric research to identify key drivers of SHF productivity variance. This should enable the piloting of interventions for smarter farmer selection, specifically for the incorporation of more women and youth, as well as targeted support and knowledge dissemination through more effective media.

The project requires the Service Provider (SP) to conduct four key activities:
• Identify behavioural drivers of SHF productivity
• Segment NEI’s SHF network based on training needs
• Design and pilot segment-specific training content/methods
• Identify opportunities and dependencies to scale training improvements

Short-term outcomes of the project:
• NEI understands key drivers of / barriers to household productivity across its SHF network
• NEI understands its key SHF segments and their respective training and extension needs
• NEI’s training materials are designed to address segment-specific SHF capacity gaps
• NEI’s training programme is designed for scale to reach 7,000 SHF beneficiaries

Number of longer-term outcomes of the project:
• NEI is able to proactively identify and contract high-potential SHF producers
• SHFs increase adoption of vanilla cultivation
• SHFs improve compliance with vanilla production best practices
• SHFs increase productivity to 0.5 kg/vine per annum

Possible risks: SHFs are not interested in or do not have the time required to participate in research activities or training pilots; SHFs are reluctant to adopt new farming practices or techniques; factors beyond NEI’s control or influence are impacting SHF productivity (e.g., household or community dynamics, climate change, scarcity of resources).

Project duration: February – November 2020

Possible follow on activities: Post-project monitoring and evaluation (M&E) of training programme improvements selected for implementation


Activity 1: Identify behavioural drivers of SHF productivity
The SP will carry out qualitative and quantitative research to identify behavioural drivers of productivity in SHF households across NEI’s supply chain network. To complete this activity, the SP will need to be skilled at consulting and engaging with SHFs, have experience conducting qualitative and quantitative research, and have a strong understanding of conditions and dynamics impacting SHFs in Tanzania. Research findings are to be presented in a written report and summary presentation.

Activity 2: Segment NEI’s SHF network based on training needs
Based on research findings from Activity 1, the SP will identify key farmer segments and their respective training needs within NEI’s SHF network. The farmer segmentation should reflect quantitative and qualitative analysis of key behavioural, demographic, and environmental SHF variables researched during Activity 1. To complete this activity, the SP will need to be skilled in qualitative and quantitative data analysis, and knowledgeable of training methods and content to build farmer capacity. The preferred outputs for this activity are a written report and summary presentation of key farmer segments and respective training needs.

Activity 3: Design and pilot segment-specific training content/methods
Based on findings and analysis from Activities 1 and 2, the SP will design and pilot training content and methods that meet identified training needs. To complete this activity, the SP will need to have considerable experience designing and implementing trainings, preferably to SHFs in East Africa. The SP will be required to provide a written summary of findings from the pilot.

Activity 4: Identify opportunities and dependencies to scale training improvements
The SP will be required to take the learning from Activities 1-3 and identify any opportunities and dependencies required to scale the training improvements. To complete this activity, the SP should have experience in training programme design, preferably for SHFs in East Africa. The preferred output for this activity is a written report of recommended implementation strategies.

The form and timing of outputs may be discussed further upon contract award.


The ideal SP will consist of a multi-skilled team with significant experience in research with SHFs, training content design and piloting, training programme improvement, and training programme M&E. The selected SP must have full mobility to visit NEI’s SHFs and their farms on their own accord. The selected SP should preferably be located in East Africa, or possess significant project experience (5+ years) in East Africa.

Minimum requirements:
• Understanding and experience working in local context
• Experience in conducting both qualitative and quantitative research
• Experience in developing and conducting training of farmers
• Experience in developing pilot proposals for expansion to scale

The Proposal should highlight all experience that is relevant to this project.


Currency Selection: USD

Language selection: English

Upper fee limit: $100,000; Proposals will be considered on a value-for-money basis

Evaluation criteria:
Evaluation criteria                                                                                  % of total score           
Technical Criteria                                                                                              75%                 
(i) Understanding of the objective, activities and deliverables                            10%
(ii) Quality and clarity of proposed approach, including how                             35%
appropriate, feasible and innovative the methods proposed are
for undertaking the work
(iii) Ability of the SP to carry out the scope of work based on:                          30%
(i) quality and depth of project team experience, and
(ii) experience with similar projects

Cost criteria                                                                                                      25%               
(iv) Overall price                                                                                               15%
(v) Realistic costing of the Proposal                                                                  10%                                                                                                                                                

Language requirements: English; Swahili considered an asset

Budget requirements: Detailed budget by major cost category

Payment structure: Milestone/deliverable based

Reporting processes: Progress reports will be provided through regular phone calls or in-person meetings between NEI and the SP. Deliverables will be submitted in writing to NEI and the SDU; terms and timing of these deliverables will be further specified in the SP contract.

Desired frequency of reporting: Weekly/Biweekly/Monthly

Additional submission guidelines: CVs of project team members


Conflicts of Interest
The SP is required to provide details of on any potential or actual conflicts of interest arising from other assignments or interests. This relates to those who are involved in the conduct of the procurement procedure or may influence the outcome of that procedure have, directly or indirectly, a financial, economic or other personal interest which might be perceived to compromise their impartiality and independence in the context of the procurement procedure.

The SP agrees to keep confidential all information that they receive, directly or indirectly from NEI, AgDevCo or any other stakeholder, as well as all analyses conducted on the basis of such information (collectively, the “Material”). The SP shall use the Material exclusively for the purpose of preparing deliverables relevant to this assignment. The confidentiality obligations shall not apply to information that is in the public domain. The SP shall only permit access to the Material to persons within their organization on a need-to-know basis. The SP shall explicitly inform such persons of the confidential nature of the Material prior to providing it to them and shall subject them to the same confidential obligations contained in these Terms of Reference.

Data protection
There may be circumstances where NEI, AgDevCo or the SP may be required to exchange or process personal information. NEI, AgDevCo and the SP shall ensure that it only uses personal information when the law allows us to and in accordance with AgDevCo’s data protection policy (as amended from time to time).

Code of Conduct
AgDevCo, as an investor of UK Government funds, has very high expectations of the conduct of its staff and contractors. For details of AgDevCo’s code of conduct, including details of AgDevCo’s whistleblowing policy, please see our website: In particular, the SP is required to abide by AgDevCo’s Responsible Business Principles referred to in the Code of Conduct.

AgDevCo has a zero-tolerance policy regarding bribery and corruption, money laundering and tax evasion.

AgDevCo is also committed to the health, safety and welfare of all those affected by AgDevCo’s work. The SP shall be responsible for the adequate management of health and safety risks to those working under its contracts and any other parties affected by its work, in line with AgDevCo’s expectations.

The SP is required to provide details of its policies and procedures on health and safety, anti-bribery and corruption, anti-money laundering and anti-tax evasion. If awarded, any AgDevCo contract will include contractual provisions on these matters.