Post-Harvest Handling and Storage Grants to Agricultural Cooperatives

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USAID/Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity

Request for Applications (RFA) No. 2019/11/031 for Post-Harvest Handling and Storage (PHHS) Grants to Agricultural Cooperatives

Issuance Date:                                             November 29, 2019

Applicant Workshops:                                   December 3-6, 2019

Deadline for Questions:                                December 20, 2019

Deadline for Submissions:                            December 27, 2019

Dear Applicant,

The USAID/Rwanda Hinga Weze Activity (Hinga Weze, or “HW”) is releasing a Request for Applications (RFA) to award grants to agriculture-focused cooperatives of smallholder farmers (less than 5 hectares (ha) per farmer) to promote the availability, accessibility, and use of appropriate post-harvest handling equipment and technologies to reduce post-harvest losses and food safety hazards. The grants will be awarded and implemented in accordance with the USAID and US Government regulations governing grants and Hinga Weze internal grants management policies. Grants will only be awarded to agriculture-based cooperatives within USAID/Hinga Weze target value chains and districts. Additional details on eligibility criteria, grant program objectives, and more can be found in the following sections of the RFA:

  • Section I: Program Description
  • Section II: Eligibility
  • Section III: Application Submission Information
  • Section IV: Evaluation, Selection, and Award Information
  • Section V: Terms and Conditions

USAID/Hinga Weze anticipates awarding up to 40 grants to selected cooperatives, ranging from $2,000 USD to $15,000 USD per cooperative, starting in March 2020. The life of the grant will be approximately one year from March 2020 through March 2021. Please only submit one application per cooperative. Applications should be submitted by the cooperative president; individual members of a cooperative cannot receive grants.

For any questions during the grant application process, please contact the Hinga Weze grants team at grants@cnfarwanda.orgThe application is attached to the RFA.

 Section I. Program Description

A. ABOUT HINGA WEZE

Hinga Weze is a five- year activity of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) implemented by CNFA. The primary objective of Hinga Weze is to sustainably increase smallholder farmers’ income, improve the nutritional status of Rwandan women and children, and increase the resilience of the agriculture and food systems to the changing climate. The program is comprised of the following three interrelated components:

Component 1: Increasing agricultural productivity

Component 2: Increasing farmers’ access to markets

Component 3: Improving nutritional outcome of agriculture interventions

B. GRANT PROGRAM DESCRIPTION 

Post-harvest loss is defined as the degradation in both quantity and quality of a food production from harvest to consumption. Quality losses include those that affect the nutrient composition, the acceptability, and the edibility of a given food product. Today, one of the main global challenges is how to ensure food security for a growing population whilst ensuring long-term sustainable development.

A major barrier for many farmers is the use of labor-intensive agricultural hand tools for onerous tasks such as weeding, planting, harvesting, and food processing. With minimal access to alternative energy or mechanized farm equipment, many smallholder farmers remain largely dependent on human labor for cultivation and agro-processing. The lack of appropriate and adequate technology and energy sources for rural farmers can perpetuate poverty and the consumption of unsafe food, which leads to malnutrition.

Hinga Weze has identified some factors limiting the adoption of post-harvest handling and storage (PHHS) technologies among smallholder farmers, including inappropriate and outdated PHHS-related extension messages; limited exposure to modern PHHS technologies; and lack of linkages with local toolmakers/suppliers and local availability of PHHS equipment.

During its first year of implementation, HW has identified the following post-harvest related issues:

Commodity

PHHS Issue(s)

PHHS Stage (critical point)

Maize

Aflatoxin, Grain damage (dry weight loss)

Harvesting, Drying, Storing

Irish potatoes

Shrink, sprouts, and pink rots

Harvesting, collecting packing and transport

Horticulture

Shrivel, abrasion, softening, and bruising

Harvesting, sorting, packing and transport

(1) Objectives:

It is in this regard, on behalf of USAID, that Hinga Weze is soliciting applications under its Grants Fund to increase availability, accessibility, and use of appropriate post-harvest handling equipment and technologies by smallholder farmers to reduce post-harvest losses and food safety hazards. Through the dissemination of PHHS technologies and trainings, the grant funds will support activities that increase the value of Hinga Weze promoted value chains, improve farmers’ access to markets which will create additional revenue streams and increased sales to value chain actors while offering safer foods to consumers.

 (2) Grant Activities:

Hinga Weze will award in-kind grants with technical assistance to agriculture-focused cooperatives that are located in one or more of the following ten districts of Rwanda: Gatsibo, Kayonza, Bugesera, Ngoma (Eastern Province); Nyabihu, Rutsiro, Ngororero, Nyamasheke, Karongi (Western Province) and Nyamagabe (Southern Province). The cooperative must be currently working in one or more of the following value chains: maize; high-iron beans; orange flesh sweet potatoes (OFSP); Irish potatoes (IP); and horticulture with high nutrient value.

The grant package will offer cost-effective technologies and post-harvest best practices and technologies such as harvesting using appropriate containers, drying using mobile dryers, quality tarpaulins, labor saving shellers and storage using zero energy cooling chamber (ZECC), cold rooms with cool bot, dry cards and hermetic containers such as PICS bags, super bags grain Pro cocoons, crates, harvesting bags, plastic silos, metallic silos, weighing scales, moisture meters, net bags and pallets. The complete list of equipment supported through this grant is located in the application. Hinga Weze will not support any equipment that is not on the list.

 (3) Expected Outcomes:

The grants are expected to contribute to the following Hinga Weze Activity outcomes:

No

Hinga Weze Activity

PPH grant expected outcome

Hinga Weze Indicator

1

Sub activity 11.1

Spark technology adoption and use

v  Cooperatives are benefiting from low-cost equipment, such as crates, tarpaulins, metal silos, and PICS bags.

Indicator 2 – Value of annual sales of farms and firms receiving USG assistance.

Indicator 4 – Number of smallholder households increasing agricultural yields at least 50% over baseline

v  Improved PHHS and Food safety practices are adopted at both household and market chain levels.

Indicator 21 – Number of households using improved supported food safety practices as a result of USG assistance.

2

Sub activity 11.2 Assessing PHH equipment demand under C1 sites and ABCs

v  Farmers increase income by 20% as a result of reduced post-harvest losses, and preserved quality of produce to meet buyers’ requirements (quantity and quality)

Indicator 2 – Value of annual sales of farms and firms receiving USG assistance.

Indicator 4 – Number smallholder households increasing agricultural yields at least 50% over baseline

C. AUTHORITY AND GOVERNING REGULATIONS

Hinga Weze grant awards are made under the authority of the US Foreign Affairs Act, Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) (2 CFR 200), and USAID’s Automated Directive System (ADS) Chapter 303, “Grants and Cooperative Agreements to Non-Governmental Organizations.” Grants administered under Hinga Weze will adhere to the terms of the applicable USAID Standard and Required as Applicable Provisions, as well as Hinga Weze grants procedures.

Hinga Weze is required to ensure that all applicants receiving USAID grant funds comply with the requirements found in these regulations, as applicable to the respective terms and conditions of individual grant awards. Under the Hinga Weze grants program, USAID will retain the right, at all times, to terminate, in whole or in part, Hinga Weze grant-making authorities or any grants in progress.

Section II. Eligibility

A. ELIGIBLE RECIPIENTS

  • Be a legally registered Rwandan cooperative with the Rwanda Cooperative Agency (RCA) and submit proof of registration
    • Note – a cooperative can apply for a grant if they are currently in the process of being registered with RCA by submitting their proof of registration at the sector level. However, if the applicant is awarded a grant, no equipment, funding, etc. will be disbursed until registration is completed with RCA.
  • Currently collaborating with the Hinga Weze Activity and maintains a positive working relationship;
  • Contributes at least 25% (in cash) toward the cost of any requested equipment value;
    • Note – the applicant will be required to deposit their portion of the funding PRIOR to receiving the equipment. No exceptions.
  • Demonstrate female and youth inclusion in cooperative membership
  • For maize cooperatives, the total membership should be more than 50 people;
  • For cooperatives working in maize and Irish potatoes, the applicant MUST list potential and/or past buyers. A copy of the contract(s) must be submitted along with the application.
  • Submit a complete list of cooperative members

B. ADDITIONAL CONDITIONS OF ELIGIBILITY

  • Have organizational objectives which contribute to Hinga Weze’s objectives and results;
  • Submit an application responding to Hinga Weze’s requirements and conditions;
  • Be committed to adhering to high ethical business standards, including transparency in business dealings and record keeping;
  • Demonstrate ability and/or willingness to learn how to maintain business, financial, and technical records, either manually or electronically;
  • Ensure compliance with relevant environmental protection requirements;
  • Complete and pass a site-visit and pre-award assessment;
  • Agree to the terms and conditions of the Mandatory Standard Provisions and Required as Applicable Provisions for Non-US NGOs, if applicable; and
  • Certify that the organization/individual is not debarred, suspended, or proposed for debarment from receipt of USG funds.

C. INELIGIBLE APPLICANTS, ACTIVITIES AND UNALLOWABLE COSTS

 The following entities are not eligible for grant funds:

  • Individuals and cooperatives whose members own more than 5 ha of land per member
  • An entity having as key staff a direct relative (spouse, child, parent or brother/sister/sibling) of CNFA (including Hinga Weze) or USAID staff;
  • Any entity or member that appears on the U.S. Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) and Blocked Persons list or in the System for Award Management (SAM) database;
  • Entities or members engaged in any activities related to Trafficking in Persons;
  • Entities or members engaged, transacting with, or providing resources to individuals or organizations associated with terrorism;
  • Entities which have been debarred, suspended, or otherwise considered ineligible for an award by the US Government.

III. Application Submission Information

 IIIA. APPLICANT WORKSHOP

As part of this RFA, applicants will have the opportunity to visit one of the Hinga Weze district offices for an applicant workshop to learn more about the solicitations and to ask questions. Attending a workshop is not a requirement to submit an application; however, it is highly encouraged. If you need directions to any of the Hinga Weze district offices, please call our Kigali office at 0788-310-516.

No

District

Date for the Workshop

Time

1

Ngoma

3/12/2019

9H 00 AM -12H 30 PM

2

Kayonza

3/12/2019

9H 00 AM -12H 30 PM

3

Gatsibo

4/12/2019

9H 00 AM -12H 30 PM

4

Bugesera

3/12/2019

9H 00 AM -12H 30 PM

5

Nyabihu

3/12/2019

9H 00 AM -12H 30 PM

6

Ngororero

6/12/2019

9H 00 AM -12H 30 PM

7

Karongi

3/12/2019

9H 00 AM -12H 30 PM

8

Nyamagabe

4/12/2019

9H 00 AM -12H 30 PM

9

Nyamasheke

3/12/2019

9H 00 AM -12H 30 PM

10

Rutsiro

4/12/2019

9H 00 AM -12H 30 PM

IIIB. QUESTIONS AND APPLICATION SUBMISSION REQUIREMENTS

 Any questions related to this RFA must be submitted to grants@cnfarwanda.org no later than 1:00 pm, Kigali, on Friday, December 20, 2019

Grant applications will be accepted only in the application format given in the attached Grant Application. Applications and any required supporting documentation should be submitted no later than 5:00 pm CAT, on Friday, December 27, 2019. Applicants must strictly adhere to the requirements of this RFA.

Electronic applications should be submitted to grants@cnfarwanda.org, with the RFA number in the email title. Hard-copy applications should be in a sealed envelope, with the RFA number on the envelope (NO NAMES) when submitted to any Hinga Weze district or Kigali offices. Applicants should be sure to request a confirmation of receipt from Hinga Weze when submitting applications, to ensure their submission was received.

Applications received after the specified time and date will be considered late and will be considered only at the discretion of CNFA.

IV. Evaluation, Selection, and Award Information

 All applications submitted in response to this solicitation will be evaluated in accordance with the following criteria:

Purpose of the grant supports goals of Hinga Weze laid out in activities proposed under PHH grants and reaches a large number of beneficiaries

25 points

Activities proposed will reduce the existing post-harvest handling and best practices gaps/challenges within the selected value chain (harvesting, drying, storing, collecting, packing, and transport)

25 points

Activities proposed integrates women and youth among project beneficiaries

15 points

Proposed business activities support existing post-harvest initiatives in order to scale up/meet the required standards within the market.

10 points

Applicant has the organizational and financial capacity to meet the demands of implementing a grant, including the ability to meet or exceed the cost sharing requirements.

25 points

Total Points Possible

100 points

Once applications have been submitted to CNFA, members of the Hinga Weze Grant Selection Committee will evaluate applications in accordance with the above selection criteria. Applicants that pass evaluation will be contacted within 1-2 weeks after the submission deadline for a site visit. A site visit is conducted to confirm the accuracy of the application. Hinga Weze may contact the applicant to discuss details of the grant. A site visit and/or discussion on grant details is NOT a commitment to funding.

Within 90 days of submission deadline, applicants will be informed, by writing, if they have been approved or not for grant funding.

V. Terms and Conditions

Applicants understand, by submitting a response to this RFA, that application submission does not constitute an award or commitment on the part of Hinga Weze, nor does it commit Hinga Weze to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. Further, Hinga Weze reserves the right to accept or reject any or all applications received, as well as issue amendments revising the terms of this RFA before or after receipt of applications. In submitting an application, applicants understand that USAID is not a party to this solicitation and the applicant agrees that any communications regarding this solicitation will be conducted with Hinga Weze, and not USAID. Applicants will be informed in writing of the decision made regarding their application.

Attachment

HINGA WEZE GRANTS

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