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The original request for proposal (RFP) no. RP5#1 is available on the ICIMOD website.
Documents related to the RFP:
ICIMOD is a regional intergovernmental learning and knowledge sharing centre serving the eight Regional Member Countries of the Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region – Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan – and is based in Kathmandu, Nepal. In Afghanistan, ICIMOD has been working in the area of capacity building, institutional strengthening, research and demonstration, and fostering regional cooperation. Through its Climate Service Initiative, ICIMOD facilitates the implementation of the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS) within the HKH region. It brings together providers and users of climate information. The Initiative’s approach is to strengthen the institutional and technical capacities of various stakeholders, particularly to improve the generation, processing, and use of climate services and co-develop appropriate solutions.
Agricultural advisories essentially deliver information on weather forecasts, crop seasons, good farming practices, local crops, agricultural market prices and arrivals, availability of fertilizers, electricity timings, early warning systems on disasters, education and upcoming training opportunities, prevention of plant and veterinary disease, and financing and insurance services. These advisories emerge from large network of partners including extension workers, agronomists, governmental systems, research institutes, universities, and extension services. In Nepal, a number of actors have recently started making efforts to enable farmers’ access to such information.
The Nepal Agricultural Management Information System (NAMIS), under the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoAD), in collaboration with the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) and Nepal Agricultural Research Council (NARC) has been providing the seven-day Agromet Advisory Bulletin (AAB) since 2015 for 25 pilot districts in Nepal. The bulletin includes a summary on weather, crops, livestock, tables on weather and agrometeorological parameters, current and past week weather information along with weather forecasts, information on pests and diseases, etc. so that farmers and stakeholders can make on-farm decisions to reduce the adverse impact of climate change and increase agriculture production for enhancing food security situation. The NAMIS Advisory is the first effort to demonstrate effective use of multidisciplinary knowledge integration for supporting farmers on in-season farming practices by communication through digital means. In its current form, the advisory process is highly centralized and based in the federal capital Kathmandu. It involves experts and deals with large and highly variable agriculture conditions across Nepal. The value of such processes can be substantially improved by taking this process into sub-national levels.
The agriculture extension system in Nepal is largely dominated by the public extension that has primarily the regular set of extension activities, trainings, and services. MoAD recently developed the Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS; 2015–2035) in addition to other key reforms and has highly advocated decentralized science, technology, education, and extension programmes (DSTEP). The ADS aims at reforms in structure, process, implementation, and coordination of research and extension in addition to other related programmes and institutions to help effectively promote demand-driven technology and services.
The Constitution of Nepal (2015) explicitly mentions that agricultural research would be the primary responsibility of the federal and provincial governments, while extension would be the responsibility of the provincial and local governments. In the new setup, an agriculture development division has been established within each local government office. Though farmers expected enhanced access to and better delivery of extension services, lack of clarity on the power, authority, and roles and responsibilities at different levels has adversely affected the reach and impact of extension service delivery.
The localized advisory process relates to location-specific advice provided to the farmer from subject matter experts at the district and sub-district levels, with respect to their agriculture-related needs. The expert advice may be needed during the entire crop cycle in normal circumstances as well as during adverse climatic conditions like drought and floods. They may need advice regarding pest attacks, animal diseases, processing and marketing of their produce, etc. The expert advisory should be location specific and up-to-date.
This initiative proposes district-level local farmer-relevant advisory generation and dissemination process along with value additions from the use of ICT for in-season agronomic profiling, crop reporting, crop conditions monitoring, and data analytics.
This part of the document has been drafted to share understanding of the proposed solution and how it envisions technology to support the proposed digital agriculture advisory platform. These terms of reference aim to provide ICIMOD’s requirements and expectations from a comprehensive technology solution, including software and training services among any other things that may be required. This document however by no means should be taken as an exhaustive scope of the project, and prospective private partners are encouraged to identify other relevant components that may be essential for effective functioning of the proposed solution.
The intended audience of these terms of reference include interested IT firms and technology partners to better understand requirements and expectations from the proposed IT solution as well as other stakeholders and comprehend how the technology will work within agriculture institutions.
The proposed digital agriculture advisory platform will focus on integrating information on the following:
To support the district level agriculture advisory committee, a digital agriculture advisory platform will be established by linking weather and climate data with local agriculture practices and data analysis to enable agriculture experts to translate scientific data into the accessible agriculture advisory. The advisories will help crop cultivators to plan land preparation, sowing, and other agricultural operations (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Conceptual diagram of localized agriculture advisory process and three key components of this RFP
The three components to be developed under this RFP are described below:
Farmers can register for the service by filling a physical form with the district agriculture departments or through internet/mobile interfaces. In addition to collecting basic information about geographical location, land holding, etc., farmers also specify up to eight crops/agriculture related activities for obtaining information or advice. The database will be linked to advisory development process. The dashboard will support sending SMS in local language and the officials who are registered as users can send SMS through various options by selecting mobile numbers from the database, or from an Excel or CSV file.
Capturing farmer’s details (such as contact details, landholding, types of crops grown, financial status and needs, and required inputs) is of utmost importance to understand, plan, and provide the required services to the farmers. Farmers’ information would help in tracking the current status of farmers, which would help in equipping the farmer with right knowledge and tools for decision making and planning activities.
The farmers’ database will be created for capturing their details. To get a comprehensive overview of farmers, the information can be classified in two parts:
An open source web based platform for analysis and visualization of farmers’ data.
This part of the work includes the development of an Android application along with associated data analysis/visualization/management system.
The mobile app will primarily be designed to enable field extension staff to capture field activities into the digital system mainly related to the following:
The up-to-date database of reported activities will be used as a means to understand the ground situation and help advisory committee in proposing ground relevant solutions in their advisories.
Farmers’ database and Agriculture-Extension app data will be accessible on the Agriculture Advisory Dashboard to be developed in the form of data visualization and analysis platform. In this component, innovative use of data analytics and visualization is highly encouraged.
This part of work mainly consists of integration of information from component 1.2 and 2.2 in a user friendly and interactive single dashboard.
The application will be developed using stable open source software. This will ease the mobility of application and can be transferred to any organization having proper hardware infrastructure. In the process of selected development and deploying platforms, higher priority will be assigned to the open source platforms.
A focal person from the ICIMOD geospatial information technology team will be assigned to guide and test the system (technically) during the development period. The focal person will coordinate with the IT firm on the following tasks:
As ICIMOD implements an open data policy, all finalized software code and design documents must be handed over to ICIMOD and concerned partner organizations on completion of the project. The contractor will provide troubleshooting services for six months after the completion of the system.
The service provider will be selected on the basis of the highest ranked technical proposal (60% weightage) and lowest cost financial proposal (40% weightage).
The service provider will be selected on the basis of the highest cumulative scores obtained in the technical and financial proposals using the following formula:
The service provider scoring the maximum score based on the aforementioned criteria will be awarded. However, the service provider should score at least 70 points in the technical proposal.
Applicants are advised to present their technical proposal in four sections:
In this section, applicants should explain their understanding of the objectives of the assignment, approach to the services, methodology for carrying out the activities and obtaining the expected output, and the degree of detail of such output. Applicants should explain the technical approach they would adopt to address the problems being addressed.
Applicants should propose the main activities of the proposal, their content and duration, phasing and interrelations, milestones (including interim approvals by the client), and delivery dates of the reports. The proposed work plan should be consistent with the technical approach and methodology. A list of the final documents and software modules to be delivered as final output should be included here.
Applicants should propose the structure and composition of their team, mentioning their qualifications and skills. Applicants should list the main disciplines of the assignment, the key expert responsible, and proposed technical and support staff.
Applicants should include the past experiences of their organization relevant to the call. Technical proposals will be evaluated on the basis of their responsiveness to the terms of reference, applying the evaluation criteria and point system specified.
Applicants should use the attached financial proposal template while submitting the proposal.