Terms of Reference
Agricultural Value-Chain Scoping Study
The Lao Microfinance Association (LMFA) has always been taking the lead to introduce strategic actions to help improve the sectors performance toward making poor households especially in the rural areas become less vulnerable, improve their ability to become resilience, allow them to take advantage of opportunities to invest in productive activities and build assets.
Over the years it has been the leading network in promoting financial inclusion for low- income populations through consolidation and professionalization of the Lao’s inclusive finance sector working with the Bank of the Lao PDR (BOL), Financial Institutions Supervision Department (FISD). Recent developments however saw the need for rural households to be included in promising agriculture value chain so that they can be linked and integrated to reliable market for their produce. Thus, again LMFA is taking a bold and pioneering step to take on the task of supporting the agriculture value chain development efforts specifically to compliment with the financial services of rural financial services providers such as village funds and their Network Support Organizations (NSOs).
Along with its long-time partner ADA, a Luxembourg-based microfinance NGO, LMFA is in the process of identifying suitable and promising agricultural value chain activities that can be supported and developed in identified villages that is covered under the operations of SCU Nakai at Nakai District, Khamouanne province.
The objective of this call for technical services is to carry-out a value chain analysis and market assessment. This will enable the identification of potential agriculture value-chain development opportunities, technological and technical gaps, shed light on the status and viability of existing and potential markets including new market opportunities, environmental and resilience constraints, emerging needs of small-holder farmers, and also examine ways in which it can be supported to further establish new partnerships and include agriculture value-chain funding opportunities. Specifically, the scoping study should be able to provide evidence-based information toward piloting an agriculture value chain programme.
- SCOPE OF WORK and DELIVERABLES
The selected consultant(s) will work alongside with LMFA and with the SCU Nakai to conduct a scoping study of potential agricultural value chain that can be developed in the identified villages. It will be implemented in three stages: Preparatory stage, Desk Review and Fieldwork/Interview stage, and Analysis Report writing. The study is expected to be implemented with a total of 25 person-days inputs.
The following are the deliverables:
I. Preparatory stage
The consultant(s) should prepare and submit to LMFA a scoping/study Implementation Plan. The consultant(s) is expected to develop an appropriate methodology for primary data collection and develop data collection tools (e.g. market survey, interviews with market actors, key informant interviews) that will be used.
II. Desk review & Fieldwork/Interview stage
The consultant(s) shall conduct a desk review of existing studies and other related documents on value chain analyses and market assessments of identified agricultural products in Lao PDR. The consultant(s) is expected to spend time in the field to:
– Identify what are the most suitable agriculture production activities in identified villages.
– Identify major local, provincial and national and, if applicable, regional and international markets
– Assess size of markets, volume of sales, market segmentation.
– Assess local market structure and enabling environment (e.g. security issues or policies affecting market access).
– Identify market actors (consumers, sellers, traders, middlemen, employers)
– Identify procurement mechanisms, market requirements (standards, conditions for delivery) and prices.
– Other areas as identified by the methodology and data collection.
III. Analysis and Report Writing
- First Draft of the Report.
- An initial presentation of the results with stakeholders. A second round of revision may be required before the final version of the Final Report can be
- A final report (one copy in PDF Format and one in DOC format). The main body of the report should not be more than 30 pages (Annexes not included).
- A final presentation of the overall findings and recommendations/actions.
Specifically, the consultant(s) will be responsible for the following tasks:
(i) for the identified 8 villages at Nakai District, identify and select the agricultural commodities which have a comparative advantage and potential for developing the value chain. These villages are selected as they are the expansion area of the SCU, the members are willing to try other crops than rice, they have experience before in growing high value vegetable like bitter melon and since they have several water sources. The consultant(s) will propose a list of agricultural crops based on the assessment results.
(ii) undertake a desk review of relevant activities conducted by government or other development partners on the selected commodity value chains in Lao PDR in general and in Nakai district in particular;
(iii) conduct value chain analyses for each of the identified and selected commodities. The value chain assessments will entail:
– the agronomic production profiles (e.g., agricultural management practices, land ownership and use practices).
– value chain mapping (key stakeholders, flow of supplies and products, flow of
funds and information, etc.).
– functional analysis of each value chain (profiling of industry structure, adoption of skills, technology and innovation);
– economic analysis of potential opportunities to add value along the chain;
– and policy and institutional conditions necessary to create suitable enabling environment for value chain development;
– climate change implications;
(iv) conduct assessments of demand and market conditions for products within selected value chains including analysis of input and output markets, their structure and dynamics between actors, procurement processes, related standards, existence of monopolies, identification of lead firms, etc.;
(v) based on the above tasks, identify constraints and barriers (financial, technology, infrastructure, human resources/skills, marketing, regulatory, policy, institutional)
that must be addressed to enable the development of the value chains;
(vi) draft and recommend actions required to support the selected value chains. In the case of public infrastructure, recommend arrangements for
financing and mechanisms for sustainable operation and maintenance;
(vii) consolidate the outcome of the above tasks and prepare development of strategies and action plans for implementation in the selected
A consultant or a team of two consultants with at least one having a good understanding of local context and the ability to speak Lao will implement the proposed scoping study. The study will make use of both quantitative and qualitative analyses to try to come up with better understanding on the potential agriculture value chain and recommended actions to support its development.
It is expected that the following methodologies will be used for this study:
- Desk review of relevant documents, studies, policy papers such as the related to agriculture value-chain in Lao PDR
- Conduct fieldwork activities and interviews with small-holder farmers in the identified villages
- Interview of key stakeholders (Department of Agriculture and Forestry Office/DAFO, village authorities, district authorities and Village fund committees) and relevant government authorities/offices
- ROLE of LMFA
The overall role of LMFA is to provide needed logistical support during the conduct of the fieldwork. LMFA will assign a point person to work closely with the consultant for the duration of the engagement. Also, LMFA make the necessary arrangement for the fieldwork activities to take place in coordination with the international expert. The consultants will do the actual fieldwork interviews. All necessary translations and interpretations will be done by LMFA. If necessary, the LMFA will take charge of all the necessary support to be able to deploy the consultant in-person including the associated costs such as international travel expenses (airfares, cost of VISA processing and Certificate of Entry as needed.
- QUALIFICATION AND EXPERTISE REQUIRED
This scoping study is open to international experts with demonstrated experience in agriculture value chains and rural finance in the region. This engagement can be executed in a hybrid-manner, remotely and in-person.
The criteria for the qualification of the contractor are the following:
- Demonstrated knowledge and operations experience in the area of agricultural value chain development including agri-business development services.
- Extensive experience in rural finance especially with rural-based savings and credit unions and cooperatives.
- Ability to liaise properly with technical and administrative staff of local microfinance networks and organizations.
- Exposure to value and principles of the thematic issue areas as well as sensitivity to gender, disadvantaged groups and diversity.
The budget includes professional fees, local transportation costs and other logistical costs such as communication but excludes translation and interpretation costs and international travel costs.
Payment tranches and requirements
The following will be the payment to be made in 3 tranches as follows:
➢ 20% upon signing the contract
➢ 30% upon presentation of findings and submission of draft report
➢ 50% upon submission and acceptance of the final report
- SUBMISSION OF EXPRESSION OF INTEREST AND SELECTION CRITERIA
Interested applicants should submit an EOI of interest with their Technical and financial proposals, based on their comprehension of the TORs including CV(s) of the Consultant(s) to: Lao Microfinance Association (LMFA), Unit 14, Amone Village, Saysettha District, P.O.Box: 4030, Vientiane Capital, Lao PDR
The first email ‘Email A’ should be labelled “Technical Proposal” and the second email ‘Email B’ should be labelled “Financial Proposal”, as well as the RFP Dossier Reference No. 002/2022.
Please note that the deadline for submitting the proposals is 15th August 2022 at 3 pm local Vientiane time. Only shortlisted candidates will be notified for final selection. The consultant(s) should start work as soon as possible and provide the final report to LMFA by latest at the end of October 2022.
All proposals must first pass the criteria for administrative compliance thus a proposal that did not meet these criteria will be automatically rejected.