Published Friday , on 10 February 2017, 21:19:06 by Christophe Hitayezu

1.Overview of Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth Project

The Rwanda Private Sector Driven Agriculture Growth (PSDAG) project is a 5-Year project funded by USAID Rwanda that started in August, 2014. The project is implemented by IRG, an Engility Company. The goal of PSDAG is to increase smallholder farmers’ incomes by promoting private sector investments that contribute to the Government of Rwanda’s (GoR’s) Vision 2020 aim of “transforming agriculture into a market-oriented, competitive, and high-value sector.” PSDAG has two main objectives: 1) Assist the GOR to Increase Private Sector Investment; and 2) Facilitate Increased Private Sector Investment in Upgrading Agricultural Value Chains. The project’s Private Sector Engagement Strategy is based on a facilitative, market systems approach to inclusive agriculture development that catalyzes investment in productivity-enhancing technologies, builds the capacity of partners to grow their businesses and contributes to improved livelihoods and economic opportunities for Rwanda’s farmers.

The PSDAG program is seeking to develop strategic partnerships with the private sector to increase investment in agriculture and to expand economic opportunities for smallholder farmers through more competitive value chain market systems. PSDAG will strengthen the capacity of agribusinesses and farmers to respond to market opportunities by supporting increased adoption of technologies and management practices, including ICT solutions, to upgrade productivity and strengthen relationships within the market system.

In FY2016 (October 2015 to September 2016), PSDAG focused on four core value chains: Irish potatoes, beans, maize, and horticulture. For this current period’s APS, PSDAG will expand the current portfolio to consider other value chains with commercial potential, such as poultry, dairy, aquaculture, soybean, and floriculture. PSDAG will consider the following aspects when evaluating projects in new value chains:

Support development of Feed the Future and GoR priority value chains; 
Utilize or pilot innovative technologies and strong business models that can be scaled to support smallholder incomes; 
Focus on strategies that integrate women, youth, and Persons with Disabilities (PWD) at any stage of their development; and 
Is not a ‘traditional’ export crop (e.g. tea or coffee)
Within these value chains, PSDAG will also work on cross-cutting components that have linkages with value chain activities, such as Access to Finance, Communications, Information Communication Technology, and Advocacy. PSDAG has two mechanisms for partnering: 1) technical assistance under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) and 2) grant funding support through Value Chain Competitiveness Fund (VCCF), a grant fund designed to leverage private sector investment by reducing risk in investing in innovative or new technologies or capacity building. Partners must demonstrate their financial commitment to the activities by providing a minimum cost share of 50 percent. Partners will be selected on a competitive basis.

2.Purpose of Annual Program Statement

The purpose of this Annual Program Statement (APS) is to set forth the objectives for the PSDAG project for FY2017 and to solicit interest from eligible organizations, private sector value chain actors, and cooperatives seeking to partner with PSDAG to provide innovative solutions for upgrading the selected value chains. PSDAG works with partners under either a grant or a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Under grants, applicants are encouraged to respond to specific Requests for Applications (RFAs). InFY2017, PSDAG will prioritize applications that fall under the following RFAs, attached to this APS as individual annexes:

Cooperative Professionalization
Women’s Leadership& Entrepreneurship
Asset Financing
Innovation Challenge Fund
Institutional Capacity Building
PSDAG may also consider requests for funding outside these RFAs but at the time of publishing the APS, PSDAG is not releasing a broad call for applications as it did in FY2016 and PSDAG will not evaluate unsolicited applications that fall outside the eligibility and purpose of the RFAs listed above. Beginning in April, 2016, and subject to availability of VCCF (grant) funding, PSDAG may choose to evaluate Concept Notes for grant funding; however, priority will be given to applicants that submit Applications under one of the four RFAs.

Lastly, PSDAG may choose to partner under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), a non-grant partnership agreement under which PSDAG provides technical assistance in collaboration with its partners. Unsolicited concept notes may not be eligible for grant funding but may be eligible for collaboration under an MOU.

In summary, there are 3 ways to partner with PSDAG, outlined in the table below.

Partnership Opportunity



Respond to an RFA for a Grant
Grant. PSDAG will competitively award grants to successful applicants per the terms of the RFA.

RFAs will be released as annexes to the APS:

Cooperative professionalization – Dec. 2016
Women’s Leadership & Entrepreneurship – Jan. 2017
Asset financing – Jan. 2017
Innovation Challenge Fund – Feb. 2017
Institutional Capacity Building - Feb. 2017
Submit a Concept Note for funding
Grant. PSDAG may award grants in response to unsolicited concept notes.

Beginning in April, 2017, PSDAG will review concept notes on a monthly rolling basis and subject to the availability of funds.

Submit a Concept Note for partnership
MOU. PSDAG may enter an MOU with a partner in response to a concept note.

Interested partners may submit a concept note at any point for consideration by PSDAG for a partnership under MOU, under which each party agrees to a set of activities. MOUs are used by PSDAG to provide technical assistance to a partner but under MOUs no grant funding is awarded.

PSDAG encourages business models that:

Have clearly defined and quantified a verifiable market / buyer opportunity;
Improve linkages between value chain stakeholders (agro-input suppliers, producers, aggregators/traders, commercial buyers, and logistics/transport companies);
Utilize investment in technology to provide stakeholders improved access to goods and services, improve quality of goods and services, and / or improve productivity;
Provide platforms of scale to reach large numbers of small holder farmers;
Improve farm gate and agribusiness sales and income;
Increase access to clean energy for agriculture;
Support greater participation of women, youth, and persons with disabilities.
Examples of goods and services that may be funded include but are not limited to: training activities; technical assistance through expert consultancies; equipment and machinery for upgrading processing facilities, aggregation canters, pack houses, quality and packaging, and cold storage; export facilitation; association/cooperative development; international standard certifications; product and model development for Financial Institutions; investment in sustainable ICT solutions; educational outreach campaigns concerning agri-business; and institutional capacity building for associations representing the private sector. Please note that PSDAG will seek to hire service providers, such as for business development services, under separate Request for Proposals, which will be issued as needed.

Examples of goods and services that are NOT funded by the VCCF: ongoing operational expenses such as salaries, rent, and utilities; seed, pesticides, fertilizer, and other agricultural commodities; land purchase or land rehabilitation; direct provision of inputs; direct provision of extension services; construction or rehabilitation of roads; any form of construction of buildings; procurement of vehicles, including motorcycles; provision of funds for on-lending; individual scholarships; pharmaceuticals; alcohol or other luxury goods; used goods of any type.

Private Sector Leverage: The applicant will be expected to contribute a minimum cost-share for the proposed activity. Cost-share requirements will vary on a case by case basis, but generally a minimum of 50% is expected. In certain cases, some goods and services ineligible for direct funding under the VCCF could be considered as part of the applicant’s cost share requirement. All projects related to the cost-sharing grant must have quantifiable goals and results that can be measured and reported.

Types of Awards

Minimum Eligibility Requirements
To be eligible and competitive, partners must meet the requirements outlined in each individual RFA. In addition, partners must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements:

Submit an application with required documents according to instructions contained in the RFA.
Be a U.S. or Rwandan nongovernmental organization that is legally registered and recognized under the relevant country laws. Types of entities are:
Private enterprises or firms;
Agricultural based associations and cooperatives;
NGOs (non-profit);
Foundations, research institutes and universities; and
Legally-organized associations/syndications of the above organizations.
Demonstrate that the proposed investments contribute to PSDAG’s Objective 1 or 2 results and the specific objectives of the RFA.
Demonstrate ability to provide adequate cost-sharing of new project investment.
Ineligible organizations and individuals include:

Non U.S. international organizations;
Organizations that are not legally registered under applicable regulations;
Any public international organization (PIO);
Government entities and employees;
Political parties, groupings, or institutions or their subsidiaries and affiliates; and
Organizations and individuals that advocate, espouse, or promote anti-democratic policies or illegal activities.
4. Number and Amount of Awards

Subject to the availability of funds, PSDAG intends to award grants to fund eligible.Any awards resulting from this APS are expected to be in the range of USD$25,000 to a maximum of USD $100,000for activities whose implementation shall be completed by September 30,2017. Awards for amounts greater than USD $100,000 and/or greater than 1 year, will be considered on a case by case basis.

5. Types of Awards

The type of award will be determined by PSDAG based on the nature of the grant activity, the value of proposed grant, and the applicant’s administrative and financial systems, accountability and internal reporting requirements.

to refer a mechanism used to transfer funds (or other valuables) from USAID PSDAG to a partner for the implementation of programs that contribute to PSDAG’s goals and objectives. If a grant is awarded, PSDAG will consider one of four different grant mechanisms: standard, simplified, fixed amount award, or in-kind grants.
is an agreement between PSDAG and its partner to each complete (and fund) specific activities that contribute to PSDAG’s goals and objectives. Under MOUs, no funds (or other valuables) are transferred from PSDAG to its partner. However, PSDAG may offer to provide technical assistance under an MOU to help its partners achieve their goals.
6. Request for Application and Grant Award Process

The PSDAG project team will receive and review Grant Applications submitted in response to this APS and attached RFA son a rolling basis beginning with the release until the closing date listed on each RFA. The process for reviewing Grant Applications is as follows:

A Grant Application that follows the requirements laid out in the RFA can be submitted to the PSDAG office by the potential grantee for an initial review of the minimum eligibility criteria noted in the RFA (electronically or hard copy).
A PSDAG Grant Evaluation Committee will review and evaluate applications.
PSDAG staff may conduct site visits, interviews and evaluations to determine further eligibility to receive a grant. Reviews include environmental impact of the grant project and financial management capability of the organization, among other criteria.
Once all reviews are completed, PSDAG submits the proposed grant scope and budget to USAID for final award determination.
Whether approved or not approved, the applicant will receive written confirmation of the result from the PSDAG Grants Evaluation Committee.
Approved grantees will sign a Grant Agreement to receive the award. PSDAG staff will then begin to work with the grantee to implement and monitor all activities.
7. Grant Application Instructions

Please refer to each specific RFA (see Annexes) for Grant Application instructions.

8. Concept Notes

In addition to Grant Applications received in response to the five RFAs, the PSDAG project team will also receive and review Concept Notes submitted in response to this APS.

Concept Notes received that request technical assistance under an MOU will be reviewed by a technical expert and will form the basis for the scope of activities and partnership terms. Under an MOU, PSDAG does not provide any cash or in-kind goods to the partner but agrees to provide technical assistance to the partner or other stakeholder where it aligns to the goals and objectives of PSDAG.

Starting April 1, 2017 through September 30, 2017, PSDAG may consider Concept Notes for VCCF grant funding. This is subject to the availably of VCCF funds. The process for reviewing Concept Notes for grant funding is as follows:

A 2-page Concept Note plus cover sheet is submitted to the PSDAG office by the potential grantee for an initial review of the minimum eligibility criteria noted in this APS (electronically or hard copy).
The Concept Note will be evaluated by the PSDAG Grants Evaluation Committee on a monthly rolling basis.
If the Concept Note is approved by the PSDAG Grants Evaluation Committee, PSDAG will provide the applicant with a full Grant Application, which must be completed by the organization and re-submitted to PSDAG within a given timeframe (electronically or hard copy).The full Grant Application form requests additional and more in-depth information. The Grant Application will also provide guidance on the application evaluation criteria.
The Full Application will be evaluated by the PSDAG Grants Evaluation Committee on a monthly rolling basis; note that approved applications may need to be revised, including reductions and change to the budget.
PSDAG staff will conduct site visits, interviews and evaluations to determine further eligibility to receive a grant. Reviews include environmental impact of the grant project and financial management capability of the organization, among other criteria.
Once all reviews are completed and a final grant budget and scope is negotiated, PSDAG submits the proposed grant scope and budget to USAID for final award determination.
Whether approved or not approved, the applicant will receive written confirmation of the result from the PSDAG Grants Evaluation Committee.
Approved grantees will sign a Grant Agreement in order to receive the award. PSDAG staff will then begin to work with the grantee to implement and monitor all activities.

9. Concept Note Instructions

The Concept Note should be at most 3pages long and should include:

The APS Number/Title
Address, locations, and point of contact information;
Description of the company or organization and its main activities (history of operation);
Description of the project proposed and how it will further PSDAG objectives to provide innovative solutions for upgrading the selected value chains;
The expected results from this activity and who will benefit from it (include the objectives, the method of approach, proposed duration of the activity);
Why PSDAG support is needed for this activity; and
For MOUs, what technical assistance is requested by the potential partner and what activities they will agree to fund that contribute to the overall objective of the partnership;
For application for VCCF grant funding, what is the total amount of funding needed to implement the proposed activity (type of support requested – e.g., funds, equipment, materials, technical assistance, etc.); and what is the cost-share the applicant proposes and how will that cost-share be provided; and
How the activity will be sustained after PSDAG funding has ended.
Concept Notes for partnerships under an MOU may be submitted to PSDAG from the date the APS is released through September 30, 2017. Concept Notes for VCCF grant funding may be submitted to PSDAG beginning from April 1, 2017 up to the closing date of this solicitation, which is September 30, 2017 at 17:00 hours CET. Concept Notes should be submitted to: or delivered to the PSDAG offices located at KG 684 St, No. 19, Kacyiru, Kigali.

10. Project Performance Indicators

PSDAG will track the following results indicators as headline measures of its performance. All awards will be expected to advance some or all of these results indicators. In addition, all awards will be expected to actively monitor and report on the results of indicators relevant to their project.

Value of gross farm incomes of assisted farmers;
Value of new private sector capital investment in the agriculture sector or food chain;
Value of exports of targeted agricultural commodities;
Value of domestic sales of value-added agricultural products;
Value of incremental sales (collected at farm-level);
Number of beneficiaries with new market linkages;
Number of farmers, private enterprises, and others that applied improved technologies or management practices;
Number of hectares under improved technologies and management practices;
Number of MSMEs, including farmers, receiving USG assistance to access loans;
Value of Agricultural and Rural Loans’
Number of MSMEs receiving business development services
Number of agricultural and nutritional enabling environment policies analyzed, consulted on, drafted or revised, approved, and implemented
Number of private and civil-sector stakeholders (organizations and individuals) responding to calls for input on relevant reforms
It is to be emphasized that any activity that PSDAG will fund must have a concrete, realistic expectation that it will create impact over time. For example, if support for the expansion of the production capacities of a business is proposed–for example by providing grant for additional equipment– the applicant for PSDAG funding must clearly demonstrate that the capacity expansion responds to a clear run filled demand din the market for the company’s products. Or, fan applicant proposes to provide skills training to unemployed persons, it must be clearly demonstrated that market demand exists for these skills, so that upon completion of training participants are highly likely to be hired.


ANNEX 1: RFA-17-01 Cooperative Professionalization

ANNEX 2: RFA-17-02 Women’s Leadership & Entrepreneurship (to be released January, 2017)

ANNEX 3: RFA-17-03 Asset financing (to be released January, 2017)

ANNEX 4: RFA-17-04 Innovation Challenge Fund (to be released January, 2017)

ANNEX 5: RFA-17-05 Institutional Capacity Building (to be released February, 2017)

ANNEX 5: Concept Note Template