GhanaVeg believes that vegetable exporters, processors, wholesalers and retailers can become key drivers of change for improving the productivity and quality of vegetables in Ghana. Closer arrangements in terms of contracting, service provision and certification between the chain actors can boost the reliability and quality supply of vegetables to the high-end domestic and export markets. Target vegetable crops include: tomatoes, onions, capsicum, okra, garden egg, eggplant, other Asian vegetables and members of the Cucurbitaceous family (cucumbers, squash, butternut and melons).
This Call invites both domestic and foreign companies in vegetable exports, processing, wholesaling and retailing to develop a proposal for GhanaVeg 50% co-financing that:
- Develops direct chain arrangements between exporters, processors, wholesalers and/or retailers on the one hand and vegetable producers on the other hand with the aim of building long-term market partnerships.
- Explores new sourcing and retail business models for alternative market outlets.
- Develops innovative and cost-effective cooling systems for use by both SMEs and top-sector actors alike
- Increases farmer productivity and income from vegetable production.
- Supports healthy and quality vegetable production, taking into account sustainable environmental and food safety standards.
- Supports the certification of vegetable produce under a label that represents Good Agricultural Practices (i.e. Global GAP, Ghana Green Label, and BRC) or equivalent arrangements.
- Explores direct (new) dedicated (high-end) export channels for high-quality and healthy vegetables from Ghana.
- Develops farm extension and training activities (service provision).
The 50% co-financing can also cover Capital investments and inputs (max. 25%) and Market linkage activities. More detailed information on eligible costs can be found in the Fund Manual, accessible on the GhanaVeg-website.
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 vegetable exporter, processor, wholesaler and/or retailer. Retail can include the likes of: supermarkets, fresh delivery service, corner shops and farmers’ markets.
- 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 (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.
- 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Annex: GhanaVeg Background
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 innovative business ideas can be accommodated that support this mission. In total 27 Business Opportunity Funds are available between 2014 and 2017 for innovative, frontrunner companies, both from Ghana and abroad. The Business Opportunities Fund aims at mobilizing innovations and investments that address key gaps in the vegetable sector. Companies can apply for 50% co-funding to a maximum amount of €50,000 per proposal. The duration of the activities is for a period of between one and three years.
Key constraints in the vegetable sector
From literature and experience 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 4 and 5, with a clear private sector focus.
The export market for peppers, Asian vegetables, butternut squash and baby corn shows a strong and growing outlook. The majority is exported to the UK and north-western Europe (Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany). Both specialized larger farms with out-grower schemes as well as small-scale individual farmers are targeting this market, focusing on high-quality products with some form of quality control. The growth in this market has recently drastically declined due to food safety and phytosanitary issues. In 2011, Ghana exported more than US$ 22 million of Asian vegetables (including chilli peppers), whereas in 2014 this dropped to less than US$ 3 million. The demanding export market requires Good Agricultural and handling practices, as well as detailed inspections at the airport (phytosanitary certificates). It is assumed that limited linkages between input suppliers, producers, middlemen and exporters, as well as weak postharvest management, are an important reason for the current decline in vegetable exports.
The second high-end value chain actors are the supermarkets, hotels and restaurants. An emerging retail and high-level hospitality industry is developing, demanding high-quality vegetables. This is especially visible in the number of new supermarket chains investing in Ghana. Currently, the demand cannot be met neither in quality nor quantity, and imported vegetables fill the gap. The production systems require a high level of agronomic knowledge and skills, as well as postharvest management. Greater involvement of wholesalers and retailers in the chain is seen as a solution to the current stalemate.
At the same time, fresh delivery services, local corner shops and farmers’ markets are emerging as specialized outlets for quality vegetables. Also, these markets offer the potential for vertically integrating with farmers and adhering to higher quality standards including better postharvest handling and aligning with initiatives like the Ghana Green Label – while catering for the high-end consumer market.
The processed vegetable chain: especially tomato paste and canned vegetables, like eggplant. Though often seen as a last resort market (with low market prices) the chain still requires specific varieties and quality standards. Currently, most factories are idle due to the fact that imported products are cheaper and domestic supply of raw materials is expensive (market prices for fresh produce are higher). The overall competitiveness of this sector is questioned, though for specialized processed food products a market exists.