GhanaVeg believes that the private sector can drive the research agenda and facilitate the quick uptake and adoption of research outcomes. By working closely with the private sector within the vegetable value-chain, research institutions can make a meaningful contribution in solving real world problems, as expressed by the sector.
This Call invites both domestic and foreign companies to develop a proposal for GhanaVeg co-financing that:
- Conducts research trials of different regimes of:
- Seeds (varietal trials)
- Soil fertility management (fertilizers, organic manure)
- Crop protection (organic, IPM methods)
- Organizes public-private partnerships for the development and release of disease and pest resistant varieties of vegetable seeds within 1-3 years;
- Investigates the impact of plant spacing, intercropping and crop rotation systems on yields and income.
- Demonstrates that the research:
- Demand-driven and private sector-led and addresses known constraints faced by the private sector
- Can be carried out on-farm instead of on-station
- Can pragmatically and economically generate a sector-wide impact
- Is innovative and additional to the existing business operations
66.7 % co-financing can also cover research trials under both rain-fed and irrigated conditions, research consumables (e.g. lab tests) and capital investments (<35% of total budget), farmer outreach activities, production and publication of research findings.
Minimum Eligibility Criteria
All companies soliciting co-financing under the GhanaVeg Program should adhere to the following minimum criteria. These will be pre-screened upon submission by the GhanaVeg Secretariat. If not complied with, the application will be immediately rejected. They are as follows:
- Be a legally recognized company (LTDs, PLCs, BVs) and must have demonstrated a sound operational track record of at least two years in Ghana.
- Be a producer, manufacturer and or agent of quality inputs (e.g. seeds, fertilizers, crop protection products, irrigation equipment).
- If applicant is a foreign company without a footprint in Ghana, the Ghanaian partners must have at least two years track record in Ghana.
- Have audited accounts.
- Be prepared to disclose bank account covering at least three months of business operations.
- The proposal must address the arrangements and issues as presented in this Call.
- Have a fully filled in project proposal in line with the provided format.
Required Engagement with GhanaVeg
Interested applicants who meet the above eligibility criteria are required to:
- Submit a 1-2 page concept note to GhanaVeg’s Senior Business Advisor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Schedule an Intake Meeting with GhanaVeg’s Senior Business Advisor to discuss concept note and plan of work
All applicants need to consider the following during their proposal development:
- Must address the arrangements and issues as presented in this Call
- Proposal to be developed in accordance with the project proposal format as described in the GhanaVeg Fund Manual; carefully filling in all boxes, the M&E indicator framework and the co-financing budget template
- Proposed activities should be additional to the core business of the company; all budgeted costs to be attributed to new project activities
- Proposals should focus on one or more of the following three outcome indicators:
- Productivity increase
- Growth (value- US$) of domestic high-end market
- Growth of export value (US$)
- Applications are to make clear projections on:
- Targeted farmers and farm workers (both directly and indirectly)
- Improved sustainability (environment/food safety) at farm level
- Productivity and income increase of targeted farmers and farm workers
- Company sales / turnover
- Companies are requested to also indicate how the proposal fits into their broader long term objectives
Overall Support from GhanaVeg
- 7 % co-financing grant for the project’s activities.
- Additional technical support from well experienced agronomists from Wageningen UR, with the possibility of developing specific training modules for crop production and postharvest management.
- Actively facilitate linkage of the company to other chain actors (buyers, agro-dealers, farmers etc).
After passing the minimum eligibility pre-screening by the GhanaVeg Secretariat, an independent Grants Selection Committee will evaluate applications on the basis of: Economic Viability, Technical Approach, Implementation Capacity, Value-for-Money and Corporate Social Responsibility. These criteria are further explained below:
Economic Viability (20%)
Proposed activity must show a cost-benefit analysis indicating a roadmap towards profitability in the short to medium term (3-5 years). This should be calculated taking into account the injection of the grant support, and consider the total project cost, cash flow projections and profitability
Technical Approach (20%)
This is the degree to which the proposed activity offers an innovative approach that meets the overall objectives and indicators over the life of the project. It can include the proposed extension approach, business model and/or service delivery model. Projects should be well thought through, with logical linkages between inputs and expected outputs.
Implementation Capacity (20%)
The extent to which the applicant and her institution/company are capable of undertaking and accomplishing the proposed activities, based principally on the company profile and past achievements, as well as the qualifications of key staff being involved in the project.
The relationship between the co-financing grant that is requested and the significance and quality of the projected outcomes (as mentioned above in the outcome indicators). It also relates to the ambition level of the proposal, e.g. in terms of number of farmers/farm workers targeted or productivity increase aimed at. In addition, this indicator assesses whether the resources requested are reasonable in the context of the proposed project.
Corporate Social Responsibility (20%)
Corporate Social Responsibility involves the company’s approach towards social and environmental issues. The criterion assesses to which extent the proposed activity is likely to have meaningful, sustainable impact and demonstrative inclusiveness of women, youth and/or small-scale farmers.
Proposals need to be submitted on or before Wednesday June 1, 2016, 5 pm Ghana time.
Submitted documentation should include:
- A signed Project Proposal Application form, including a completed budget (in line with the budget format)
- Company profile and track record
- Other supporting attachments and documents as stated on the application form
All documents need to be addressed and sent to the GhanaVeg Fund Manager by e-mail: Mr. Hanson Arthur (email@example.com).
Annex GhanaVeg and R&D on Input Supply
GhanaVeg’s motto is: “Healthy and quality vegetables from Ghana through new ways of doing business”. GhanaVeg supports the development of a sustainable and internationally competitive vegetable sector that contributes to inclusive economic growth and has the capacity to continuously innovate in terms of products and services”.
Under the GhanaVeg umbrella a number of demand-driven research activities can be accommodated that support this mission. In total, 13 R&D Innovation Funds are available between 2014 and 2017 for private-sector led research projects, both from Ghana and abroad, to be carried out in Ghana. The R&D Innovation Fund is there to provide support for applied research for companies to enhance their innovation capacity, addressing specific agronomic or technical bottlenecks, mostly at farm or company level. The private sector is expected to lead these proposals, while public partners (knowledge institutes) can be requested to assist in the implementation. The Fund works according to a co-innovation approach with private and public players. Companies can apply for 66.7 % co-funding for innovative research ideas. The maximum amount of co-funding per proposal is €25,000 and projects can run for a period between one and three years.
This Call for Proposals addresses the research gaps existing at the input systems of crop varieties, soil fertility management, crop protection and irrigation in support of optimizing yield outcomes. Innovative research ideas for optimizing yields through other means (e.g. crop rotation, intercropping and plant spacing) can also be considered under this call.
Key constraints in the vegetable sector
Moving from ‘business as usual’ to a more demand-driven research agenda that addresses the information gaps within the vegetable sector requires serious efforts. Currently, Ghana’s vegetable sector is characterized by:
- Low availability and knowledge of improved inputs including but not limited to seeds, fertilizers and pesticides
- Limited agronomic skills and practices
- Poor food safety for both the domestic and export markets
- Poor postharvest management and
- Weak linkages between different chain actors
This Call addresses issues 1-2, with the private sector in the lead, and institutional researchers as service providers.
One of the major bottlenecks for the take-off of Ghana’s vegetable sector is the availability of well-adapted seeds and seedlings; specialized horticultural fertilizers and plant protection products (incl. IPM) and irrigation equipment. For example, in the seed sector, there is currently an overdependence on a relatively low number of older varieties (e.g. for tomato, peppers and onions) while few new domestic and international varieties enter the market. In addition, productivity is often hampered by low fertility status of the soils, both in terms of the level of organic matter and (macro and micro) nutrients.
Lastly, knowledge and skills of vegetable production, under both protected and open field conditions, are still relatively limited in Ghana. This is also demonstrated by the low yields per hectare. For example, tomato yields have remained stagnant over the last decade at 6 t/ha, while Kenyan farmers produce 22 t/ha and neighbouring Burkinabe farmers produce 9 t/ha. This is partly due to the inputs available, and partly to the agronomic practices.