Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL)

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1 Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL) TERMS OF REFERENCE INVESTIGATING A POTENTIAL E-MARKETING PLATFORM FOR PRODUCE IN THE CARIBBEAN The Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL) project is implemented by World University Service of Canada (WUSC) with funding support from the Government of Canada through the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD).

2 TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.0 INTRODUCTION PROPEL OVERVIEW PROPEL Coverage and Approach Initial Thoughts on Potential Platform SCOPE OF WORK DELIVERABLES SCHEDULE CONSULTANT QUALIFICATIONS PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS Structure of the Technical and Financial Proposals Submission of Proposal Questions... 6

3 TERMS OF REFERENCE 1.0 INTRODUCTION The Promotion of Regional Opportunities for Produce through Enterprises and Linkages (PROPEL) project is a sustainable economic growth project which aims to increase the value of Caribbean fresh produce accessing high-value markets (HVMs) in the Caribbean and internationally by CAD $ 100 million over six years. Funded by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and implemented by World University Service of Canada (WUSC), the project is working with producers, private sector buyers, other value chain actors and business service providers to facilitate the safe, effective and efficient movement of fresh produce from the farm level to high value markets. PROPEL focuses on the needs of the HVM buyers as the entry point for determining market prospects at the local, intra-regional and extra-regional levels. These needs are then the basis for identifying producers that may be able to supply into the markets. The intent of PROPEL is to facilitate the development of commercially based linkages between producers and HVMs that will be sustainable and reach scale in terms of the target sales and ability to grow over time. In the original project design in 2010, a Caribbean Produce Marketing Corporation (CPMC) was to be established to act as a regional buyer. The CPMC would be a self-supporting non-profit corporation that would act as an intermediary between the small producers and high value market buyers, receiving, grading and distributing fresh produce throughout the Caribbean. In 2014, a feasibility study was undertaken that identified a series of issues with the original concept some of which related to a changing context since In the interviews for the CPMC, a range of people mentioned that the information and support systems within the region are weak and need to improve to build linkages between producers and buyers particularly on an intra-regional basis. At the May 2015, PROPEL Strategic Advisory Committee (SAC) meeting, the concept of an on-line marketing platform was raised as a possibility for facilitating linkages between buyers and producers. It was agreed that the feasibility of this regional platform would be further explored to determine its potential viability and business model. Any platform developed would have to have a strong business model that would show sustainability within three years. 2.0 PROPEL OVERVIEW 2.1 PROPEL Coverage and Approach PROPEL has established a number of parameters for its work. Regional Coverage PROPEL is to work in eight countries: Barbados; Jamaica; Dominica; Guyana; Trinidad & Tobago; Grenada; St. Lucia; and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Any initiative would need to have regional coverage of at least these locations. 1

4 HVM Buyers The term HVM buyer is broadly defined by PROPEL. The definition includes: Direct buyers: hotels, supermarkets, cruise ships, airlines, restaurants, processors and exporters. The exporters are domestic firms that currently export products intraregionally within CARICOM or to Canada, the United States or the European Union. Intermediaries: consolidators, distributors, trading companies, brokers, processors, importers and local markets. 1 Local markets are included as an intermediary only when they have products that are supplied to the HVM Buyers listed. The importers included would be sourcing some products intra-regionally or domestically as well as importing internationally. Producers For the producers, PROPEL s primary target group are small and medium producers, including women-owned and youth as well as cooperatives and associations. 2 To effectively deliver to the HVMs, however, PROPEL recognizes that the pool of producers needs to be capable and willing to meet the standards, quantities, timeframes and prices required for the HVMs. Produce The term produce includes both fresh and agro-processed products in three categories: Tropical fruit; Vegetables; and Roots and tubers, specifically yams, sweet potatoes, ginger, Irish potatoes, onions and dasheen. 2.2 Initial Thoughts on Potential Platform Two initial ideas were presented at the SAC meeting for consideration. Virtual Trade Show Approach Here the platform would act as a source of information on the whole spectrum of groups that are involved in produce value chains including producers, buyers, shippers (both local and maritime), finance institutions, quantity surveyors, processors, suppliers of various kinds of crates and other containers, and agronomists providing agricultural support. Each company would have their own booth where a wide range of information could be included on a website such as contact information, Powerpoint presentations, promotional videos, fees and schedules. 1 The term distributor here includes a range of market intermediaries such as middlemen, hucksters and higglers. 2 Note that youth refers to an owner between the ages of 18 and 35. 2

5 Virtual auction system Here actual linkages would be developed between buyers and sellers with mechanisms for payment clearance and logistics support. Links could be made to shippers that were handling less than container loads and which could consolidate products for intra-regional trade. It is recognized that a wide range of other models and approaches have been successfully implemented around the world. The Consultant will be expected to consider alternative approaches as well that could be suited to the Caribbean context. The two presented here are simply initial thoughts. It is expected that any approaches put forward by the Consultant must complement existing efforts in the Caribbean, not compete with them. The electronic information systems and Business to Business (B2B) platforms currently operating or planned in the Caribbean region will need to be identified and assessed in terms of their potential coverage, service options and gaps. For example, the Agricultural Policy Programme (ACP) funded by the European Union (EU) and Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA) started in 2014 has one component focused on improvements in domestic and regional information systems. The plan is to support the enhancement and expansion of the systems to include other information besides just market information. AgroCentral in Jamaica has established a mobile application that will serve as Jamaica s first digital agricultural clearinghouse. Powered by Web-to-SMS and SMS-to-Web technology, AgroCentral works to link motivated buyers, such as hotels and restaurants, directly with small farmers who previously relied on middlemen to sell their products. 3.0 SCOPE OF WORK The Consultant will be responsible for developing the methodology for undertaking the work. The objective is to assess the potential for the creation of some form of e-marketing tool that could be sustainably operated in the Caribbean region and provide value added to the development of linkages between buyers and producers in the produce area. The Consultant will provide information required by PROPEL to make decisions on a potential regional e-marketing platform. The key questions to be addressed include the following: What is the potential demand by HVM buyers, intermediaries and producers for some form of e-platform to facilitate linkages among value chain actors in the Caribbean produce sector? Do the HVM buyers, intermediaries and producers have similar interests and needs in terms of an e-platform? Can these interests and needs be reconciled? Are there clear benefits for all the parties? Do they see risks such as increased competition? Is there a potential role for some form of e-platform and what would the focus and approach be (e.g. information sharing, brokering, value chain development, etc.)? Can the current and planned initiatives in the region fill this demand or are there gaps? 3

6 If gaps exist, what are the options for the development and delivery of a platform? What services would be focused on? Which groups would be the primary clientele? What obstacles would it face in terms of either the demand or supply of produce? Could the platform be viable within three years? If it can be viable, what is the business model under which it could operate and become sustainable? Is the model regional or local (e.g. best focused in one or several countries)? If the platform is taking a brokering role, what are the considerations for a shipping and handling model designed in support of this e-platform? 4.0 DELIVERABLES There are three key deliverables that will need to be approved by PROPEL before moving to the next stage: Overview of the methodology to be used for the investigation. Report outlining the findings of the review and making recommendations for PROPEL to consider. If the recommendation is to proceed, an overview of the business model that is most appropriate for implementation. All deliverables should be as concise as possible and provide information in a concrete and practical manner. 5.0 SCHEDULE The work must be fully completed within 2 months of contract signature. It is anticipated that the Consultant will keep the designated PROPEL representative informed of the progress being made on an on-going basis. 6.0 CONSULTANT QUALIFICATIONS The RFP is an international competitive bid open to both firms and individuals. Preference will be given to firms and individuals from the Caribbean region or Canada. The individual or team must have the following qualifications. A post-graduate degree in marketing, agriculture economics with specifics in IT or training in e-marketing Demonstrated experience designing or implementing electronic platforms for buyers and sellers Experience working in the Caribbean is highly desirable A good analytical understanding of the processes of linking buyers and producers and the electronic tools that can help promote it Experience working with the private sector in food related sectors Demonstrated ability to engage stakeholders in the design of an electronic platform including senior government officials and private enterprises 4

7 7.0 PROPOSAL REQUIREMENTS 7.1 Structure of the Technical and Financial Proposals The Consultant should provide a two part proposal in response to this RFP, sent as two separate files. Technical proposal is worth 80 points and must be structured in the following manner. Page limits must be respected where they are specified. o Section 1 Overview of the methodology that would be used. (20 points) (maximum two pages) o Section 2 - Short overview of two similar assignments that have been undertaken by the firm or individual (30 points) (maximum one page each). In this context, similar means assignments that focus on designing or implementing some form of e-platforms. For each assignment, the following information must be supplied: Name of the Project Location Client Date Personnel involved Detailed description of the services produced, the results achieved and the relevance to the current assignment. Web link to site if appropriate o Section 3 - Qualifications and experience of the firm or individual that meets the requirements listed in Section 6.0 above in the following format. In addition, CVs for the key consultants should be included. For the purposes of establishing the extent of the experience, one year of experience refers to at least 100 days of work in a period of 12 consecutive months (25 points) Experience of the Firm/Individual Demonstrated experience designing or implementing electronic platforms for buyers and sellers Experience working in the Caribbean Good analytical understanding of the processes of linking buyers and producers and the electronic tools that can help promote it Experience working with the private sector in food related sectors Demonstrated ability to engage stakeholders in the design of an electronic platform including senior government officials and private enterprises A post-graduate degree in marketing, agriculture economics with specifics in IT or training in e-marketing 5

8 o o An overview of the level of effort by each individual, including their role on the study and the timelines required for completion from start to finish (5 points). The level of effort must be clearly stated for each individual proposed. A schedule of when deliverables will be available after the contract signature must be included. Two professional references. Financial proposal (20 points) o The financial proposal should present a budget that breaks out the fees for each individual proposed based on the above level of effort and provides an estimate of the reimbursable costs for travel and other items. It should be noted that PROPEL reimburses travel and other expenses based on actual receipts and Canadian Treasury Board Guidelines. 7.2 Submission of Proposal Proposals should be sent by with the subject captioned TOR for Investigating a possible e-marketing platform for fresh produce in the Caribbean to Nadia Pacquette- Anselm prior to the closing date of 23:59 (EDT) 30 th September As indicated in the ToR, the proposals should have two components clearly marked as technical proposal and financial proposal. 7.3 Questions All questions should be directed to prior to three days before bid closing. 6

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