Sustainable Food and Nutrition Security and Transforming Smallholders’ Livelihood

Terms of Reference for Baseline Study

Project Background: 

Solidaridad Asia, with support from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO), will be implementing the ‘Good Farming, Good Food’ project from August 2019 to July 2023 in Madhya Pradesh, India. The project contributes to combatting malnutrition among the vulnerable, undernourished population of Madhya Pradesh, especially women and children, through increasing availability, affordability, accessibility and finally consumption of fortified soy products and fresh vegetables.

The experience of Solidaridad and its consortium partners will be applied to simultaneously tackle multiple key constraints to nutrition security in Madhya Pradesh: smallholder farmers will be supported to make more nutritious food available through farm and household production and will be enabled to do so through improved access to seeds, agri-inputs, technology transfer and capacity building on improved practices which include effective rotation of soy and vegetables and improved post-harvest handling. Furthermore, the project will lead to the development of an industry-grade safe and nutritious soy product which will be brought to the BoP (Bottom of Pyramid) markets and governmental nutrition security programs.

The overall objective of the project is to strengthen sustainable food and nutrition security and transforming smallholders’ livelihood in Madhya Pradesh. The specific objectives of this project are:

  • Contribute towards reduced malnutrition of vulnerable rural groups in Madhya Pradesh, particularly rural youth.
  • Contribute to agricultural growth and resilience of smallholders in Madhya Pradesh, which further contributes to increased food and nutrition security. As a result of this project, the project farmers (f/m) will have improved their net income from farming on the basis of crop diversification, (which also will lead to improve food intake) improved access to inputs and more profitable markets.

Theory of Change

The ‘Good Farming, Good Food’ project has three impact pathways which are tailored for improving the availability of safe and nutritious foods, increasing the accessibility and affordability of nutritious foods and finally improving the acceptability and consumption of nutritious foods through awareness raising. To achieve the targets as per the result chain, the intervention is organized in three pathways:

  • The first impact pathway is dedicated to increasing availability and affordability of safe and nutritious foods, specifically soy and vegetables, through interventions aimed at improved farm and household-level production of both crops.
  • The second impact pathway focuses on creating availability, affordability and accessibility of nutritious fortified soy products to the BoP, specifically iron-fortified and protein-rich soy chunks, targeting governmental food and nutrition aid beneficiaries and rural BoP markets.
  • The third impact pathway is dedicated exclusively to awareness raising and education on the consumption of nutritious soy products and fresh vegetables among consumers and undernourished vulnerable citizens in the project area.

The changes that the project intends to achieve at the ultimate outcome level are:

  • Improved livelihood of farmer households;
  • Production system for farm households becomes more resilient to possible stresses and/or shocks;
  • Improved access to affordable safe and nutritious food
  • Sustainable business case for BoP marketing of nutritious soy chunks
  • Vulnerable households and household members’ nutritional situation become more resilient to possible stresses and/or shocks.

Eventually, the project is expected to result in 50,000 people with improved food intake in Madhya Pradesh, of which a large share are particularly vulnerable women and children; and improved income generation for 30,000 smallholder farmers (m/f) in the project districts. The 30,000 farmers will be part of the 50,000 households.

Baseline Study

3.1 Purpose and Objective:

Based on the objectives of the program and the expected outcomes, the purpose of the baseline study shall be:

  • The baseline study will be done to measure the status at the beginning and the end of the project to assess the results achieved (intended and unintended, direct and indirect) against the immediate, intermediate and ultimate outcomes level of the project (provided in the annexure).
  • To understand what are significant factors that affects the achievement of improved nutritional status.
  • To assess the changes in the implementation of the Mid-day meal scheme in the project area with inclusion of fortified soy chunks.
  • To establish a business case of soybean production, collectivization, buyback and sale of fortified soy as an integrated model of soy supply and value chain.
  • To capture the perspective and the experience at the farm and household level but also of other key stakeholders like private sector companies engaged in the programme and other government institutions involved.
  • To distill lessons learnt/innovations to strengthen the programme.

The specific objectives of the baseline study shall include a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the project’s immediate, intermediate and ultimate outcomes

3.2 Methodology and Sample

The agency shall adopt a cohort time series study using mixed methodology (combination of quantitative and qualitative methods). A set of indicators has been defined to measure the outcomes in the impact pathways and the agency shall be expected assess the predefined indicators. It is important that the evaluation captures the exposure difference in terms of the time the beneficiaries have been associated with the programme. The methodology adopted shall have an analytical model that provide insights into the causal and significant factors that affect the outcome indicators.

The target groups for the survey will be:

i) Men farmers,
ii) Women farmers,
iii) Schools and anganwadi,
iv) Enterprises promoted as part of the project,
v) Farmer Producer Organization,
vi) Private company (partner to this project,

For farmer survey and survey with women, quantitative surveys will be conducted. For choosing the final sample, multistage sampling will be done. The programme team will define all the clusters that will be covered in the programme. From the given clusters, random selection of villages will be done and from the randomly selected villages, systematic sampling will be done to select the households. In systematic sampling, respondents from the villages will be selected to a random starting point but with a fixed, periodic interval, called sampling interval. It is expected that the programme will be delivered in 5 districts, covering 16 clusters with nearly 400-450 villages, covering 30,000 farmers. The sample size should not exceed more than 1000 farmers. Clusters are formed on the basis of distance from a center location of that particular cluster. Average radius of each cluster is 15- 20 kms. For estimating the sample, the agency will cover all the clusters and suggest statistically appropriate villages and number of households for conducting the assessment.

Qualitative surveys like focused group discussions (FGDs), Key Informant Interviews (KIIs), In-depth interviews (IDIs), etc. will be conducted amongst the rest of the stakeholders for every cluster.

Additionally, market level surveys will also be conducted amongst FPOs, micro-entrepreneurs and Vippy. The market level survey will try to capture information on the inputs that are procured, the quantity used, the place of procurement, how the outputs are sold and where are they sold, what is the distance from market while procuring inputs or selling outputs, etc.

The relevant tools will be finalized in consultation with Solidaridad before administering fieldwork. The selected evaluators will apply triangulation approach towards authentication of information using both primary and secondary data sources.

It is expected of the agency to present indicator wise assessment method, stakeholder to be interviewed and the data validation measures that shall be undertaken.

3.3 Activities

The following activities need to be performed by the consultant’s/consulting agency while undertaking the baseline study:

  • Conduct a desk review/ secondary literature review of previous evaluations done by any other organizations, related to the topics of research – to decide on areas of enquiry and the overall design of the study;
  • Develop a detailed study plan and protocols including the study design, methodology, sampling approach, key respondents/sources of data, implementation plan, data management and analysis plan, structure of the report and the timelines;
  • Draft study tools and protocols;
  • Implement data collection – this includes both data collection and supervision of the process to ensure high quality and fidelity of the data collected; 
  • Clean, analyze and interpret data using appropriate statistical tools;
  • Submit a draft report of top-line findings to the project team;
  • Incorporate comments from the project team
  • Final presentation of the findings/report.

Deliverables/ outputs of the assignment:

The consultants/consulting firm shall produce the following deliverables for the baseline study:

  • A consolidated report (both hard copy and soft copy) with a page limit of 30 (including 5 pages executive summary) and organized according to the scope of the work mentioned above;
  • The list of indicators, filled in with baseline information
  • A power point presentation;
  • Soft copy of analysis and databases of the study

Team Composition and Requirements:

The Consultants/Consultancy firm will need to have experience and expertise in Market Assessment and Value Chain Development, Food and Nutrition Security, Social and Economic Assessments and conduct of rigorous evaluations. The consultants/consultancy firm should meet the following criteria:

  • Experience in the project evaluation and assessment of development assistance activities, in particular NGO programme assessments and evaluations;
  • Understanding of the socio-political and economic situation in Madhya Pradesh;
  • Strong leadership, coordination, work planning and writing skills; The consulting firm must have previous working experience in similar studies;
  • Methodological/technical knowledge and experience to carry out a baseline study;
  • Good analytical skills on food security, commodity-based supply chain, nutrition and gender.  
  • The team members under the baseline study must have experience in baseline study including quantitative and qualitative data collection from the field.

Timeframe for Baseline: The baseline evaluation will be carried out over a period of 3 months. The tentative time schedule will be: 

SNActivityTentative Dates for completion of the activities
1Onboarding of consultant/consulting agency7th February, 2020
2Tool finalisation20th February, 2020
3Start of data collection21st February, 2020
4Completion of Data collection21st March, 2020
5Share draft report of the study31st March- 7th April, 2020
6Finalisation of the report20th April, 2020

 General terms

  • Solidaridad reserves the right to accept or reject any proposal without giving any verbal and/or written rationale;
  • The intellectual Property rights for all reports and documents prepared during the assignment will be with Solidaridad;
  • The reports/documents or any part, therefore, cannot be sold, used and reproduced in any manner without prior written approval of Solidaridad;
  • Solidaridad reserves the right to monitor the quality and progress of the work during the assignment;
  • Solidaridad will reserve the right to extent or cancel the agreement (if required).

Proposal Submission:

The invited agencies are expected to submit both technical and financial proposals separately by e-mail to shailesh.acharya@solidaridadnetwork.org  by 6th February, 2020.

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