Terms of Reference (ToR) - Scope & Potential for SDG 7 for the Agriculture Production Clusters (APCs) in Odisha

Introduction to APC project:

The Agriculture Production Cluster (APC) project, launched in November 2018 in tribal regions of Odisha is a collaborative effort by Department of Agriculture and Farmers’ Empowerment, Mission Shakti, Department of Panchayati Raj & Drinking Water, Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation (BRLF), Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and Professional Assistance for Development Action (PRADAN). The project focuses to empower small and marginal women farmers by doubling their income sustainability though collectivization and synchronized production in backward blocks of the State

The project aims to create sustainable livelihoods for women SHG members in selected blocks of the State through various farm based and livestock rearing interventions. Sustainable and productive livelihood assets are also being created through converging relevant schemes from departments, with an aim to secure livelihoods of the small and marginal women farmers in the project areas. Thus, emphasis on farmers skill development on the package of crop practices, farm mechanization, creation of irrigation infrastructure, storage system and creation of marketing system at the local level are key highlights of the project. The programme is for a period of five years, where intensive support will be provided for four years and last year is the phase for consolidation.

Initially, the project was implemented in 40 blocks in 12 tribal dominated districts of Odisha. Later in 2021-22, considering the efficaciousness of the project, GoO expanded the project to 33 more blocks - all 17 blocks in Sundargarh, 8 remaining blocks in Keonjhar, 5 in Angul, 1 in Rayagada and 2 in Jharsuguda. Thus, presently the project covers 73 blocks across 14 districts in the State. The project covers about 401 gram panchayats, 2318 villages and 219000 farmers.

Objectives of the project:

  • To trigger growth in farm sector with the objective of sustainably double the income of 1- Lakh small and marginal farmers in the backward highland regions of the state
    • To establish the model of Agriculture Production Cluster (APC) in 40 backward blocks of the state, as an effective method to organize production system and services of markets and interface with public systems

Components of the project:

The basic components of the projects are:

  • Institution building - Around 100-150 women SHG members organized into one Producer Group (PG) to facilitate synchronized market linked production of selected high value crops and improved livestock rearing. Each PG takes up 2-3 crops in a synchronized manner to have marketable surplus which enables markets to reach their doorsteps. 20-25 PGs having 3000 to 5000 members are aggregated to form a Producers Company (PC)/Farmers Producer Company (FPO) at block/multi block level.
  • Synchronized production - High value crops are selected by considering smallholder farmer’s suitability, agro ecological compatibility and market attractiveness. Common nursery by the entrepreneur is raised to ensure synchronized planting and improved technologies and micro practices are ensured to enhance productivity.
  • Developing Infrastructure - To intensify the APC activities different livelihood assets are being created in a cluster manner with the convergence of relevant Govt Schemes and programs such as community lift irrigation points, diversion-based irrigation, orchards, post-harvest management structures, BYP and goat sheds, etc.
  • Improving Livestock - Improved goat and backyard poultry (BYP) rearing, regular vaccination and deworming and adoption of improved rearing practices like improved shed, supplementary feeding, better hygiene, collective marketing through PG and PC.
  • Promotion of Agri-entrepreneurs - Approximately 20-25 ‘Agri-Entrepreneurs’ (AE) from the local area are systematically selected and groomed in convergence with the scheme called AEPS (Agri-Entrepreneur Promotion Scheme) under APICOL on various agriculture and allied services such as input, seedling, mechanization, market logistics, livestock related services, etc.
  • Market Ecosystem - Different market mechanisms like selling to traders, Mandis, retailers, processors, Veg on wheels, opening retail outlets, linking with institutional buyers etc are adopted to provide better return to the producers.

Rationale for the scoping study:

The tribal communities are fully dependent on natural resources and are highly vulnerable to climate change. There is a lack of modern technology and innovative approaches to increase productivity and raise profitability. There is also a lack of decentralized irrigation facilities at the small and marginal farmers' farmland. So, in order to improve the livelihoods of these tribal communities, there is a need for implementation of DRE based solutions for improving their productivity and income and lower operation cost. In this regard, a scoping study is proposed to explore and analyze the current interventions, processes, gaps & challenges and potential for DRE based solution at Agriculture Production Clusters (APC) of the tribal regions of Kalahandi, Koraput, Rayagada and Sambalpur districts of Odisha.

Geography for scoping study: The scoping study would include a total of 6 APCs with proportionate representation across 4 districts of Koraput, Rayagada, Kalahandi and Sambalpur of Odisha.

Objectives of scoping study:

The assignment set out in this TOR will assess the feasibility of different Decentralized Renewable Energy and Green Built Environments based solutions and the trend of growth trajectory of the APCs across sectors in the districts. The specific objectives are :

  • To understand the current status, initiatives and processes adopted by the APCs related to agriculture and allied sectors
  • Examine the institutions, functions and constraints of existing FPOs, PGs and SHGs related to pre-production, production and postharvest where energy is considered as a critical input
  • Detailed value chain analysis particularly to agricultural and allied sector value chain
  • Assess the functioning, gaps and challenges of different livelihood infrastructural assets created in a cluster such as community lift irrigation points, diversion-based irrigation, orchards, post-harvest management structures, BYP, goat and poultry sheds, vaccination center, etc.
  • Mapping ecosystem of stakeholders (Govt/CBOs/NGOs/FPOs/PGs/SHGs/Agri-entrepreneurs) and their roles in productivity and promotion of clusters around energy driven interventions
  • Mapping technology (machines + energy infrastructure) in terms of identifying technologies used across the value chain, innovations, if any, constraints and barriers regarding technology used.
  • Mapping synergies with FI programs/schemes for strengthening the sectors and livelihoods within the value chains in the select geographies.
  • Estimate demand and potential impact of SDG 7 solutions.
  • Identify key issues and strategic measures to move forward.

Scope of work for scoping study:

To inform future programming design and investment decisions on APC activities, a scoping study will identify the current status, drivers and constraints relating to APC cluster activities across sectors and components as below:

1. Institution building:

  • Explore and provide an overview of the current scenario of the institutions with respect to production enhancement, financial linkages, capacity building, convergence, etc.
  • To explore the geography, commodity coverage and sources and flow of finance of the institutions.
  • Identify and analyze the functionality of the institutions along with strength, weakness, opportunities and limitations.
  • Scope for integration of energy within the institutions for business promotion and revenue generation.

2. Synchronized production:

  • Provide an overview of the current practices and knowledge base of production in the specific deep dive geographies of OD. This will include reviewing present/ongoing production practices and identifying key opportunities, constraints and lessons for SELCO to take up as challenges and to come up with the solutions.
  • To identify and characterize potential agriculture value chains.
  • High value crops, winner crops, cropping patterns and potential income generational activities in production clusters and smallholder agriculture systems (Water management, IFS, INM, IPDM & IWM) with respect to sustainable production and value addition.
  • Assess the factors and gaps influencing productivity such as agro-ecological factors, climate change, environmental factors, social aspects, etc.
  • Pivotal focus on agricultural technology providers relevant to the production cluster.
  • Map technologies and micro-practices used and potential for integration of DRE in the activities

3. Developing Infrastructure:

  • To assess the current practices of the infrastructure created in the clusters and barriers and enablers of the assets on the small farmers
  • Map tools and technologies used and potential for integration of renewable energy in all possible activities

4. Improving Livestock:

  • Assess the existing livestock rearing practices (Goatery, poultry, fishery, etc) in the agriculture production clusters with respect to energy based interventions.
  • Assess the economic, environmental, financial, social and natural aspects of the livestock value chain along the marketing corridors.
  • Access the present practices, gaps and scope for energy integration in the entire value chain.

5. Promotion of Agri-entrepreneurs:

  • Explore and provide an overview of the current scenario of ‘Agri-Entrepreneurs’ (AE) with respect to various business proposition of energy based interventions
  • Identification of the gaps and challenges faced by the AEs in delivering the services along with the enabling factors.
  • Assess the extent of training and capacity building mechanism of the AEs of the AEPS (Agri-Entrepreneur Promotion Scheme) under APICOL on various agriculture and allied services.
  • Assessing the gaps and scope for integration of DRE based business plan in their business portfolio

6. Market Ecosystem:

  • Assess the forward and backward linkages across different value chains / crops / animal husbandry.
  • Explore the major market channels and their responsibilities like traders, mandis, retailers, processors, veg on wheels, retail outlets, linking with institutional buyers etc. adopted to provide better return to the producers.
  • Assess the gaps and loopholes in the marketing strategy and suggest measures to minimize risk and losses.
  • Scope for integration of value addition services like packaging, branding and marketing.

Target Groups:

The target groups for the study would be:

  • Government line departments at district and block level covering Horticulture dept., Agriculture dept. Irrigation dept., ORMAS, Mission Shakti and OLM representatives, ITDA, across 4 districts
  • Lead NGO partner-PRADAN
  • Implementing NGO partners across 6 APCs
  • Agri-entrepreneurs of the 6 APCs
  • Office bearers of FPC or PG of each of the 6 APCs

Indicative Approach and Methodology:

The study would involve a combination of both primary and secondary research. A mixed method of qualitative and quantitative study / surveys would be adopted including in depth interviews, key informant interviews and FGDs.

1. Desk review:
Undertake comprehensive desk review to explore the policy environment, gather data on regions and sectors, identify stakeholders and relevant programmes.

2. Key informant interviews (KIIs):
Interviews with experts including officials from the Nodal Agency, Other Line departments and NGO representatives at district and block level within the APC space are expected to provide the bulk of the information for this assignment. The study would cover at least 1-2 officials each from district and block level across 4 districts. As regards to NGO representatives, at least 2-3 district & block level representatives of the lead NGO partner PRADAN would be covered. Besides, the study would also cover at least 1-2 representatives from each implementing NGO partners across 6 APCs.

3. In-depth Interviews IDIs):
The study would involve in-depth interviews of the agri-entrepreneurs, office bearers of FPC or PG of each of the 6 APCs. This will provide anecdotal evidence that helps us understand the realities of APC value chain activities. Some of these interviews can focus on specific sectors that are significant for the district– e.g. Agri and allied sectors.

4. Focus Group Discussion (FGDs):
The study would also cover at least 1 FGD of the representative of the PGs of the APCs across each district.

Outputs of scoping work:

A comprehensive analytical report of all the 6 APCs (excluding annexes) summarizing the main findings and conclusions. A template for this will be developed in the inception phase. A power point slide deck summarizing the main findings and conclusions of the report.

Expected Deliverables:

The following deliverables are expected from the consultant:

  • Inception report detailing approach for the study, plan of action with detailed framework of activities, methodology to be applied, proposed content outline for the report, schedule and any logistical propositions.
  • Different set of questionnaires and checklist for interviews and FGDs to be developed and shared by the Consultant
  • 2 days orientation / training program of the researchers to be conducted by the Consultant / Agency in presence of SELCO Foundation team.
  • Surveys & FGDs to be conducted across 4 districts with the target population
  • Draft scoping study report to be developed and presented verbally to SELCO Foundation team to allow discussion and feedback.
  • Final scoping study report, including an executive summary and recommendations for the APC clusters separately for the districts.
  • Final data sets to be shared with SELCO Foundation team
  • Key findings PPT of the report to be developed and shared with SELCO Foundation team

Duration of the study:

The duration for the scoping study would be for 3 months and is expected to conclude by August 2023. However, the consultants are free to propose their ideal time period.

Administrative and Logistical Support:

  • The Consultant is expected to liaise regularly with the SF team to report on progress, deal with any queries and highlight any challenges that threaten timelines. It is expected that this will involve a meeting every 2 weeks at a minimum.
  • The Consultant will report to the nodal person of SELCO Foundation on specific issues.
  • The Consultant will recruit, train and pay research assistants, manage all travel and accommodation related to the assignment, organize for meetings with relevant stakeholders and invite SELCO Foundation team to participate as appropriate and in compliance to Covid-19 Guidelines by the Odisha Government.

Required credential of the Consulting / Agency:

It is expected that the consultant(s) / agency will have the following qualifications and experience:

  • Extensive and demonstrated experience in designing, facilitating and coordinating scoping assessments or evaluations in the development sector by non-governmental and donor (bi-lateral and multilateral agencies)
  • Extensive and demonstrated experience in the use of mixed methods approaches (integrating quantitative and qualitative data), statistical analysis and interpretation of results
  • Should have a good understanding of APC cluster activities in achievement of development outcomes.
  • Excellent understanding of agriculture and animal husbandry related activities and business models
  • Understanding and experience on decentralized renewable energy related program/projects
  • Should have experience and presence in the State of Odisha with a dedicated local team, preferably fluent in Odia language
  • Holds an M.Sc or MA (preferably PhD) in agriculture, livestock, rural economic development or related fields.
  • Demonstrated ability to lead and coordinate multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Excellent communication skills – both interpersonal and written.

Proposal format :

Interested consultant / agency should apply the proposal by presenting the following Documents:

  • Cover page
  • Letter of Confirmation of Interest and Availability
  • Technical proposal
    • Agency profile
    • Evaluation approach, methodology, field data collection plan and sample size
    • Team and person-days
    • Tentative timeline of activities
    • CVs of team leader and team members
    • Short descriptions of similar and other relevant projects done
  • Financial Proposal should be supported by a breakdown of Man-days, unit costs and total costs.

Proposal evaluation scores:

Experience of firm – 20 points: Firm should have experience in the same scope of work using mixed methods approach.
Human resources allocated - 20 points:Professionals with capabilities and experience, and essential qualifications to carry out the tasks.
Approach and methodology proposed – 40 points: Understanding the requirement of the ToR, a study design, with appropriate methods and approach to collect quality data to fulfill study objectives, timelines and deliverables
Budget proposed- 20 points:Realistic budget to complete all the activities involved in completion of the research
Eligible interested firms are requested to submit their proposal with all supporting documents as indicated in eligibility criteria to https://forms.gle/dmN4dqPBWX5jmXmp9

The last date of submitting the proposal is 20th May 2023.