Terms of Reference (TOR) for Consultancy of Developing Business Case of Saline-Tolerant Vegetables of Salt Solution Project

About  the Salt Solution Project of ICCO Cooperation

The Project Objective:

The Salt Solution Project is one of the new Project of ICCO Cooperation Bangladesh. The objective of the project is the introduction of salt tolerant crops in Bangladesh to increase food production of small farmers and improve their food security and income.  The target group consists of poor vulnerable farming families in the coastal areas of Bangladesh. The project trains 5000 direct farmers in saline agriculture under 4 districts but  25,000 indirect farmers  will  get benefit.

Expected results of the Project:

The project is expected to achieve the following results throughout its project tenure, are: have Introduced atleast 5 salt tolerant-crops, 5000 famers are trained to cultivate crops in saline lands, production increased  (25%), Income increased (25%) and increase employment  (40%) and increased family consumption and sales.


This is a three-year long (now 3rd year going on) consortium project where ICCO (lead agency), Salt Farm Texel or SFT (Technical Partner) and CODEC (local implementing partner) in Bangladesh. This project has introduced an innovative solution where salt affected soil are made usable for  agriculture again by introducing new & popular crops that grow well on salt affected land. The Salt Solution project has been funded by the National Postcode Lottery (NPL), Netherlands and will directly benefit 5000 smallholder farmers and reach out indirectly to 25,000 smallholder farmers. The project is working in 8 upazilas of 4 districts in saline affected coastal area and focuses on vulnerable farming families in coastal areas where agriculture is affected severely by salinity in soils and irrigation. The Salt Project has a blend of research and extension as its implementation strategy. The crops (mostly vegetables) are tested first in SFT’s lab in Texel (Netherlands), then tested again at field-level research station in costal and saline affected lands of Bangladesh, and the best performing crops & practices  from the research stations are then grown further  in 200 Demonstration Plots (demo plot) throughout the project area in 8 Upazila of 4 coastal districts under 200 farmers groups (One farmers group has 24 farmers organized for  each of demo plot). These demo plots are run by Local Resource Famers called “Lead Farmer” followed by capacity building intensive supports from project. These demos also act as training & extension platform for direct farmers in organized farmers groups (200 groups) and Farmers Field Day (FFD) for indirect farmers as well.

 Rationale  of this Study:

The project is in its 3rd year now. At this matured stage of the project, it aims to capitalize  on the potential  business case of the new varieties of crops (Carrot, Red beet, Potato, Kohlrabi,  Cabbage etc) that the project has introduced to farmers over the last 2 years. Some of these crops produced excellent results in saline affected lands and farmers sold surplus of their produce, after consumption. However, in order to scale-up and seriously consider commercialization of these saline-tolerant seed varieties, we need to understand whether there is real demand for the seeds and the final produce in markets.
As evidenced in the private sector seed industry, when demand-driven product design is introduced into productive plant breeding programs, and combined with excellent science and technology, development rigor and appropriate awareness campaigns with farmers and customers, significant gains in adoption rates can be made. The greatest challenge is finding a cost-effective way to integrate and tailor these methods and success criteria into public sector and seed company plant breeding programs. As such, the project aims to develop business cases for each variety to determine whether investment should be prioritized for further R&D in parallel with commercialization and strengthening seed delivery systems.

Objective of the study:  

The objectives of this study is to:

  • Analyze crop specific business potentials of the selected crops, and
  • Generate business case reports on these crops as solid documents to support business cases for scale up & sustainability.

The purpose of the assignment is to assess the potential market demand for various types of saline-tolerant seed varieties which are currently being promoted by the project. It is important that the assignment does this by investigating into the various aspects of the rural seed market for each of the selected sub-sectors (vegetables) and provide a clear illustration of the reality of the market for saline-tolerant seeds in the project areas. Coupled with this, the assignment should also explore and attempt to identify and prepare a list of the “early adopters” for different sub-sectors that are being promoted. It should also be the aim of the assessment to understand the factors that influence the early adopters into making their decision regarding the purchase of the seeds in the project areas. On the other hand, the study should also place due importance on the institutional arrangement of existing LSPs and the status of farmers with regard to purchasing agricultural services.

In this instance the study should investigate and map the potential market for new seed-varieties of 6 varieties of crops, as well as find out the motivations and explanations for early adopters (see explanation above), seed companies (especially Lal Teer), dealers/retailers, and farmers. In more specific terms the study should focus on providing answers for the following issues:  

  • Potential market size and prospects for market growth for the selected seed varieties which are being (or will be) promoted in the project areas.  
  • An early adopter profile for each sub-sector, based on their market segmentation for seeds, which should include:
  • Geographic Segmentation
  • Demographic Segmentation
  • Behavioral Segmentation
  • Psychographic Segmentation
  • Social and Cultural Segmentation  
  • To conduct a cost/benefit analysis for the selected sub-sectors and compare it to general and best farmer practices. A flexible and adjustable cost benefit analysis tool needs to be used based on depth analysis of:
  • Production characteristics of a series of commodities/crops
  • Results of saline production trials
  • Supply chain of the chosen commodities/crops in a selected number of regions/production set-ups
  • Market data for the chosen commodities/crops
  • To conduct a SWOT analysis of producers and lead firms/PSAs and find ways to increase their investment in business/market.
  • To assess existing problems and challenges of producers to get quality inputs, services and marketing of the product under poultry, pigeon and sunflower subsectors.
  • To analyze demand-supply of different inputs and output marketing for all selected subsectors.
  • To identify potential lead firms (national and regional) local firms who would be interested
    to start businesses in the thin markets of the selected sub sectors in the Khulna/Barisal region.
  • To describe the new business model (opportunity and incentives) for lead firm and local
    PSAs to supply quality inputs or purchase produces from Khulna /Barisal of these subsectors. A hands on roll out plan/users guide needs to be prepared through this assignment for a range of potential users such as:
  • Smallholder farmers (groups)
  • Large scale commodity producers
  • Extension officers
  • Government officials
  • Donors investing in smallholder production

Study approach /planning and duration ( Total 18 Days)
Possible phases of this study consist of several phases.
Phase 1: Proposal submission & Plan of Approach development (2 days)
The firm will prepare and submit final technical proposal and budget for this assignment. And will develop a road map of implementation with detailed planning schedule against each major task.
Phase 2: Identification components and tools (2 days)
During this phase the study team will develop a first outline of the required tools. Based on this outline the key components and their field level knowledge   are required as input will be identified. Further desk research to also set benchmark levels for ‘regular’ production circumstances as reality of the project.
Phase 3: Tool development and calibration (3 Days)
After identification of the key components and data the team will develop the tool and run various simulations to ensure calibration in various production circumstances. For these calibrations a series of supply chain analysis will be executed in order to allocate the right costs that various stakeholders incur before the product reaches the end market.
Phase 4: Roll out plan / users guide (2 days)
In order to facilitate the use of the tool, the study team will develop a hand on users guide targeting the various potential users of the tool.
Phase 5: Data gathering in field (6 days)
Phase 6: Data analysis and reporting (3 days)

Deliverables from the assignment

  • Final  work plan and tools after incorporating feedback from  ICCO
  • Final report (2 Set of colorful hard copies with illustration, photos, images, tables etc) of selected crops/seed  (separate report for each crop) on glossy paper print and soft copies of reports

Proposal submission instruction

The consultant/firm must submit the following documents along with Technical & Financial Proposal: The financial proposal should include 15% VAT only for consulting firm. ICCO will deduct Income Tax and or VAT as per government legal laws at source from the agreed consultancy amount.   

Doable of Consultancy Firm/ Freelancer Individuals:

Expressions of Interest (EOI) should include:

  • Cover letter (maximum one page)
  • Technical Proposal (4-5 page max, please see the details of the TOR)
  • Financial Proposal (maximum one-page max.)

Study team:

Qualifications and skills needed for the study team:

  • A team of freelancer team or a consultant firm with at least one key team member of the consultant team must have university degree at the post graduate level from Agriculture or mix with Agiculture plus   marketing.
  • Have business/Marketing /Agri-Value chain expertise in team 
  • At least 10 years’ experience in conducting and leading similar type of study with demonstrated skills in guiding participatory study processes in field level in Bangladesh;
  • Solid understanding on knowledge and experience on salinity issues, saline tolerant crops, income, household food security, nutrition etc.
  • Experience in managing and coordinating participatory evaluation/research exercise, delivering agreed outputs on time and on budget
  • Strong analytical and interpersonal communication skills;
  • Ability to respond to comments and questions in a timely, appropriate manner
  • Ability to write high quality, clear, evidence based concise reports in English
  • Please provide following document while submitting EOI:
  • Maximum 2 page of individual/organization profile highlighting related assignments completed with client name, contract person and mobile number
  • Lead Consultant’s (who will lead the assignment) Maximum 2-page CV highlighting related assignment completed, role in the completed assignment 
  • If a firm or a team with more than one persons, one paragraph short CV for each individual team members will be highlighting related assignment completed and role
  • Organization’s/Firm’s Certificate, TIN and VAT registration. For Freelancer consultant if it is applicable
  • Documents such type of previous relevant experiences

Please mention the assignment title ‘Consultancy Assignment - Business Case Development for The Salt Solution Project’ in the subject line during application via below mentioned email. Submit following separate pdf files.

Interested and qualified consultancy firms should submit their proposal to the following email address to be received no later than 15 March, 2019 to: ICCO Cooperation, Bangladesh Country Office. Send your EOI in these email address: hr.bd@icco.nl