A recent study on private extension services, commissioned by GhanaVeg, indicates that there is a clear void in the delivery of technical support services for the commercial vegetable sector, which is slowing down the further development of the sector. There are a lot of knowledge-based issues that could and should be addressed. In the same study two models of private extension services have been identified as promising and profitable:
(1) Input supply companies or contract farming scheme operators hosting local GAP advisors for smallholder farmers; and
(2) Consultancy companies providing vegetable business development coaching for larger companies (one on one consultancy support).
At the same time, GhanaVeg and Wageningen UR are developing an interactive curriculum of 9 modules on the various aspects of vegetable production in Ghana, which can support the certification of vegetable extension workers in Ghana.
→ A more extensive summary on this report can be found in the Annex to this Call.
Under this Call innovative extension and technical support services can be supported. GhanaVeg invites consultancy companies, contract farming schemes and input suppliers from Ghana and abroad to develop a proposal for 50% GhanaVeg co-financing that:
- Improves knowledge of (emerging) commercial growers, input suppliers and extension advisors on production and investment planning, cultivation, product handling, quality assurance, and traceability in the vegetable sector.
- Present a viable business case of commercial extension and technical support services that is profitable in the medium term.
- Has a willingness to collaborate the GhanaVeg/Wageningen UR curriculum on vegetable production in the business case.
- Builds on existing vegetable production expertise and training curriculum of applicants.
- Supports the certification of vegetable produce, e.g. the Ghana Green Label.
- Increases productivity and revenues of smallholder, emerging commercial and/or commercial farms.
50% co-financing can cover hardware investments such as commercial training centres and model farms for a maximum of 25% of the budget, as well as upgrading existing curriculums on vegetable production and training activities that target (emerging) commercial growers, input suppliers and extension advisors.
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.
- If applicant is a foreign company without a footprint in Ghana, the Ghanaian partners must have at least two years track record in Ghana.
- Be a consultancy/training company, input dealer/wholesaler or outgrower scheme.
- Have audited accounts.
- Be prepared to disclose bank account covering at least three months of business operations.
- Have a fully filled in project proposal in line with the provided format.
- The proposal must address the arrangements and issues as presented in this Call.
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 (email@example.com)
- 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
- 50% co-financing grant for the project’s activities.
- Proposal development support to applicants that submit a concept note that meets the issues as presented in this Call and undergo a successful Intake Meeting.
- Access to the GhanaVeg / Wageningen UR Interactive curriculum of 9 modules on the various aspects of vegetable production in Ghana.
- Certification of 2 vegetable extension employees under the Wageningen UR label.
- 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 training approach and business 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 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Annex: Summary of private extension report
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”.
From literature and past projects a number of key constraints have been identified that hamper the growth of the vegetable sector:
- Low availability and knowledge of improved inputs,
- Limited agronomic skills and practices,
- Poor food safety for both the domestic and export market,
- Poor postharvest management, and
- Weak linkages between different chain actors.
This Call specifically focuses on issues 1, 2 and 4, with a clear private sector focus.
The study on private extension services, commissioned by GhanaVeg, has indicated that there is a clear void in the delivery of technical support services for the commercial vegetable sector, which is slowing down the further development of the sector. There are a lot of knowledge-based issues that could and should be addressed. Below the main technical support needs are listed for different supply chain actors:
- Production & investment planning (assessing qualitative & quantitative demands; financial planning and funding; dealing with uncertainties)
- Cultivation (irrigation, pest & disease management, soil fertility)
- Product handling (preservation, sorting, grading, handling, packing)
- Quality assurance & traceability
Emerging commercial growers
- Cultivation (choosing the right cultivars, soil fertility management, irrigation, crop protection & safe use of chemicals, harvesting)
- Product handling (preservation, grading)
Input suppliers (wholesale / large scale)
- Trends and opportunities in the sector
Input suppliers (rural shops)
- Cultivation (cultivar choice, soil fertility management, crop protection, etc.)
Handling agents & logistical service providers
- Quality management systems and traceability
- Handling of vegetables (sorting, grading, processing and packing fresh vegetables)
The required know-how and skills are largely available already in the country. There are several local consultancy companies and a number of technical specialists working for public sector knowledge institutes who have the combined expertise required. GhanaVeg and Wageningen UR are currently developing an interactive curriculum of 9 modules on the various aspects of vegetable production in Ghana, which will support certification of vegetable extension workers in Ghana under the Wageningen UR label. Furthermore, the input supply sector is well-connected internationally, and has access to modern technologies and inputs used in the international commercial horticultural sector.
However, the uptake of the available knowledge and expertise by the sector is limited. There is a general inability and unwillingness to invest in knowledge-intensive improvements. This has led to a sector-wide knowledge gap on various aspects of vegetable production, which ultimately contributes to poor food safety, yields and revenues throughout the vegetable value chain in Ghana.
Proposed Private Extension Models
Model 1: Local GAP advisors for smallholder growers
- Intensify smallholder vegetable production in a sustainable and viable manner
- Raise quality and food safety standards in the smallholder vegetable sector
- Increase growers’ yields and income
Smallholder vegetable growers (male and female) who see vegetable cultivation as their major income generating farming activity
Key subjects to be covered:
Good Agricultural Practices, including:
- Choice of improved varieties
- Sowing, nursery and transplanting techniques
- Soil fertility management
- Identification and prevention of most common pests and diseases
- Effective and safe control measures for pest and disease outbreaks
- Harvesting & post-harvest handling
- Optional: irrigation techniques, out-of-season cultivation
Means of delivery:
- Selected local input dealers trained in production advice (‘training-of-trainers’)
- Series of CD’s with films on GAP for main vegetable crops
Large scale input supply companies or contract farming scheme operators with co-funding from GhanaVeg for the development and start-up of these training of trainers’ programs and the production of the audio-visual materials.
Key success factors / preconditions:
- Adoption of GAP by growers will lead to higher income and more use of appropriate inputs and equipment.
- Focus on the major vegetable crops for the main production regions only.
- Develop a training-of-trainers programme with inputs from international vegetable crop specialists and align the GAP with international standards on vegetable production and product quality.
- Select only local input suppliers with a basic agricultural background and interest for the training-of-trainers programme.
- Link-up with the main vegetable buyers in the selected regions.
- Check whether different wholesale suppliers of inputs and equipment can jointly work together on the training of trainers and development of films.
Model 2: Vegetable business development coaches
- Reliable supplies of fresh produce with consistent high quality
- Efficient logistics and supply arrangements with supply chain partners
- Increased turnover and profits
- Improved (international) market access
Commercial (export) growers & aggregators; logistical companies and handling agents
Key subjects to be covered:
- Production planning
- Cost awareness and management information services
- Supply chain efficiency
- Outgrower scheme development
- Equipment selection and investment planning
- Quality control in the supply chain, traceability and certification
- Human resource development
Means of delivery:
One-on-one consultancy support
Own contribution with co-funding from GhanaVeg.
Key success factors / preconditions:
- Experienced (international) advisor (e.g. DLV Plant, GreenQ) chosen by the client him or herself
- Returns on investment for the client
- Clear insight in risks and strategies to mitigate the risks
- Combination of clear short term gains and longer term impact
- Willingness to pay for consultancy services