Calls for expressions of interest

AO 231280

Support to the COLEAD team for the implementation and monitoring of COLEAD programme activities in Ghana

Post date: 07/03/2023

Please complete the application form below:

Terms of Reference - CEI 231280

1. Title of contract

Support to the COLEAD team for the implementation and monitoring of COLEAD programme activities in Ghana.
Ref: COLEAD/AO/231280

2. Location

The required interventions will necessitate travel within the country/region for which the service provider is responsible, to other ACP countries and possibly to COLEAD offices (Brussels, Rungis, Nairobi, etc).

3. Main object (CPV code)

Agri-food sectors

4. General address of the contracting authority

5 rue de la Corderie
94586 RUNGIS Cedex

5. Publication of detailed Contract Notice

Internet address of the contracting authority:

6. Procedure

The publication of this Contract Notice launches the first phase of the procedure and is intended to allow candidates to express their interest in bidding. An initial evaluation based on an analysis of the expressions of interest will result in the establishment of a shortlist of candidates deemed suitable to submit tenders.

Stages of the procedure:

Phase 1

  1. Publication of the Contract Notice and submission by candidates of their expression of interest
  2. Establishment of the longlist
  3. Pre-selection based on the application file
  4. Establishment of the shortlist

Phase 2

  1. Launching of the call for tenders (sending of tender documents to short-listed candidates)
  2. Selection based on the files provided by those tendering
  3. Establishment of framework contract with the selected tenderer

The service providers selected following the consultation will be offered a simple framework contract, specifying a maximum daily remuneration rate per proposed expert. This rate of remuneration may differ from the financial proposal made by the tenderer.

In general, the services of the successful tenderer may start from the day of the signature of the framework contract. The interventions of the successful tenderers may extend until the full consumption of the budget allocated.

7. Background information


COLEAD is a non-profit interprofessional association created in 1973. Its purpose is to facilitate and implement all actions allowing, directly and/or indirectly, to increase the contribution of the agricultural sector, and horticulture in particular, to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

From an operational perspective, COLEAD is organised into several departments corresponding to COLEAD’s internal areas of expertise: Technical Assistance, Training, Research and Innovation Brokerage, Market Insights, Information and Communication, Regulation and Standards, Access to Finance, and Networking and Alliances.

Policy context and regulatory developments

The international operational and regulatory environment has undergone a series of major changes over the past two years. The European Commission (EC) is currently assessing a new medium-term direction for EU trade policy in response to a variety of new global challenges and taking into account the lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic. EU trade policy has established global, regional and bilateral agreements with many partner countries and regions. Trade between the EU and OACPS member countries has historically been important in many sectors, including agri-food. This trade has created millions of jobs on both sides, generating growth and income for value chain actors, with a direct impact on smallholders, women and youth (as agents of change). The EU’s future trade strategy aims to ensure that the EU remains open to trade and investment while being able to adapt to growing geopolitical, economic, social and environmental challenges. In normal times, and even more so in the post-Covid-19 context, the challenge for the EU and OACPS member countries is to stimulate job creation, generate sustainable growth and investment.

In addition to the disruptions associated with COVID-19, new sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) compliance challenges continue to face the horticultural industry in OACPS member countries, in particular, (i) the tightening of EU phytosanitary rules (i.e. the new EU Regulation 2016/2031), which imposes increased requirements on inspection services and National Plant Protection Organisations (NPPOs) in ACP States and (ii) developments under Regulation (EC) 1107/2009, which governs the placing on the market of plant protection products (PPPs). The revision process of 1107/2009 is leading to the effective loss of PPPs, affecting the viability and competitiveness of some ACP exports, while exacerbating phytosanitary problems and leading to non-compliance with EU maximum residue limits (EU 396/2005). Finally, Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2020/625 of 6 May 2020 amended Commission Implementing Regulation (EU) 2019/1793 on the temporary reinforcement of official controls and emergency measures governing the entry into the Union of certain goods from certain third countries.

Capacity building in the area of SPS measures and market requirements also contributes to private sector development objectives, as outlined in the Joint ACP-EU Cooperation Framework for Private Sector Development (PSD).

Business standards, demanded by global buyers, are also changing. Previously, the focus was on food safety, then social responsibility, due to regulatory changes in key markets and the need to manage reputational risk in the face of growing consumer awareness and concern. Today, standards are expanding to address the environment and sustainable production in a much more comprehensive way. In addition, global buyers and standards bodies have imposed additional measures and requirements along supply chains in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, COVID-19-related requirements were added to audits for food safety risk assessments, health and safety measures, accident and emergency procedures, and subcontractor and visitor policies. The pandemic has also created new challenges for social requirements and audits. Additional requirements in social audits cover (for example) contracts, wages, child labour, hours of work and access to grievance mechanisms to deal with specific issues related to COVID-19.

These trends require producers, exporters and public sector quality and regulatory infrastructure institutions in OACPS member countries to be increasingly flexible and dynamic in responding to what is a very diverse market, meeting SPS challenges in a cost-effective manner and raising quality standards, among other adaptations.

SPS requirements and market demands can be seen as both a constraint and an opportunity, as they contribute to modernising agricultural processes and increasing international and intra/interregional trade, while ensuring food security in domestic markets. But the lack of intra/interregional harmonisation of SPS standards creates constraints to intra/interregional trade, increasing transaction costs and affecting the competitiveness of products of regional origin. Food insecurity is also increasingly attributed to the inability to transport food from surplus to deficit areas, as the pandemic has shown.

In parallel, the EU published in June 2018 a new Organic Regulation (EU) 2018/848 on organic production and labelling of organic products. This was to apply from January 2021, but following a request from stakeholders to take into account the overly complex situation resulting from the COVID-19 situation, the implementation of this new regulation has been postponed to January 2022. The draft Commission Implementing Regulation laying down detailed rules for the implementation of Regulation (EU) 2018/848 of the European Parliament and of the Council on controls and other measures ensuring traceability and compliance in organic production is still under discussion.

Organic production and trade essentially comply with a number of principles set out in the EU’s Farm to Table strategy. The EC is expected to propose a policy framework supporting sustainable food systems by the end of 2023. This policy framework should integrate sustainability into all food-related policies while addressing the responsibilities of all actors in the food system. Combined with certification and labelling of the sustainability performance of food products and targeted incentives, the framework will enable operators to benefit from sustainable practices and gradually raise sustainability standards to become the norm for all food products placed on the EU market.

Last but not least, the UK’s exit from the EU customs union and single market will also significantly change the trade dynamics between the EU27/UK/OACPS member countries in the coming months and years. In 2019, OACPS member countries exported £640 million of fruit, £162 million of vegetables and £77 million of cut flowers directly to the UK market, with a further large triangular trade in fruit, vegetables and cut flowers indirectly serving the UK market via initial landing points in EU27 Member States (estimated at over £500 million additional), which is particularly important for small-scale exporters of short shelf-life horticultural products.

The horticultural exporters from OACPS member countries most severely affected are likely to be Commonwealth countries, given their close trading links with the UK market. Indeed, many African and Caribbean Commonwealth fruit, vegetable and cut flower exporting countries are overly dependent on the UK market in their current trading relationship with the EU28. This makes them particularly vulnerable to sudden changes in UK tariffs and border clearance arrangements. The future relationship between the EU and the UK should be as close and frictionless as possible in order to preserve well-established trade routes and minimise trade disruption that could adversely affect UK, EU and ACP operators.

Support to private and public sector agri-food operators in OACPS member countries to improve the business environment and exploit opportunities in national, regional and international markets is more critical than ever due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes continuous capacity building of MSMEs, farmers’ groups and organisations, business members’ organisations, service providers, relevant authorities, research centres, training institutes, civil society actors and more, and improving product quality and standardisation to facilitate access to national, regional and international markets.

FFM Plus programme

Fit For Market Plus: Mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening the sustainability of the ACP horticultural sector

In November 2021, the EC and COLEAD signed a five-year grant contract, “Fit For Market Plus: Mitigating the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic by strengthening the sustainability of the ACP horticultural sector”, with a total budget of EUR 25 million financed by the 11th EDF.

FFM+ is part of the intra-ACP cooperation programme between the EU and the Organisation of Africa, Caribbean, and Pacific States (OACPS), formerly ACP Group of States. It is part of European support for medium- and long-term policies aimed at strengthening productive capacities, stimulating innovation, and improving the sustainability and competitiveness of the ACP private sector.

The overall objective of FFM+ is to contribute to poverty reduction and improved food security and nutrition, by supporting the building of a fairer, safer and sustainable agri-food sector in member countries of the OACPS. Despite a disruptive landscape, the first specific objective is to support smallholders, farmer groups and MSMEs to maintain and improve access to national, regional, and international horticultural markets while adapting to changes in the operating environment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Simultaneously, in a context of accelerated changes and paradigm shift, the second specific objective is to enable smallholders, farmer groups and MSMEs of the horticultural sector to seize new market opportunities through the development and adoption of safe and sustainable practices, skills and technologies.

In the continuity of the previous programmes, the intervention logic of FFM+is based on the expression of requests from ACP enterprises or producer groups, but also from intermediary support structures – be they public or private – that are actively involved in the process of compliance of the ACP sectors concerned (service providers, professional organisations, training centres, competent authorities, research institutes,  etc.). It also adopts the following modalities and principles of action that have contributed to previous COLEAD programmes success:

  • Local ownership;
  • No substitution of local stakeholders;
  • Investment in local expertise and human resources;
  • Pooling of problems / economies of scale/intra-inter regional approach favoured;
  • Demand-driven approach;
  • A participatory approach and cost sharing;
  • South-South cooperation;
  • Technical, scientific and financial partnerships to avoid duplication, optimise synergies and upscale impact;
  • A cross-cutting framework on youth and women.

Other programmes managed and implemented by COLEAD (at the time of launching this contract)

As part of the diversification of its funding sources, COLEAD is implementing other national or multinational programmes funded by different donors. Thus, in addition to the FFM Plus programme, COLEAD is also currently involved in the implementation of several technical assistance programmes/projects in line with the association’s mission:

  • FFM-SPS (closing phase) “Fit For Market – Strengthening sanitary and phytosanitary systems of the ACP horticultural sector”, funded by the European Union (EU) and the Organisation of the ACP States (OACPS) through the 11th European Development Fund (EDF). The overall objective of this programme is to contribute to poverty reduction, improve food security and safety, and ensure inclusive and sustainable growth by strengthening the ACP agri-food export sector. The specific objective of the programme is to ensure that small ACP producers, farmers’ groups and organisations and MSMEs have access to international and domestic fruit and vegetable markets within a sustainable framework, by helping them to take account of the requirements of these markets, particularly in terms of food safety.
  • “Strengthening the Phytosanitary Control and Certification System in Guinea (STDF/PG/498) funded by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (FANDC – STDF).
  • NExT Kenya: Enhancing Kenyan Horticultural Export” (CRIS 414-898) funded by the EU aims to increase the contribution of the Kenyan horticultural sector to household incomes and improve food security, food safety and nutrition by strengthening the resilience, integration and sustainability of the country’s horticultural value chains.
  • “AGRINFO – Towards a fair, healthy and environmentally friendly food system: addressing compliance with EU regulatory and non-regulatory measures” (FOOD 2021/427-777), funded by the EC for a total budget of EUR 7 million. The AGRINFO programme focuses on identifying and monitoring EU policies, regulatory and non-regulatory measures, standards and market trends that have a potential impact on competitiveness, market access and trade dynamics on national, regional, international levels for agricultural operators in partner countries and in the EU.
  • “DEFIA: Support for the agro-ecological transition of the pineapple sector through the implementation of the Programme for the Development of Entrepreneurship in Agricultural Sectors” This programme, financed by ENABEL, aims to enable operators in the pineapple value chain in Benin to begin a gradual transition to agro-ecology, while meeting the requirements of local, regional and international markets.

The list of other programmes/projects is not exhaustive. Indeed, COLEAD is involved in the implementation of several national and regional technical assistance programmes/projects, in partnership with donors working towards inclusive and sustainable agri-food production and trade. Please refer to the COLEAD website to learn more about its interventions.

Problems to be solved – contract justification

COLEAD programmes are demand-driven: partner-beneficiaries have to take the initiative to write requests and once their development projects are validated, invest themselves in the implementation of the actions identified.

However, COLEAD’s past experience has shown that some operators, need close support to:

  • be informed of the programmes and how to access support;
  • structure their requests (presentation of their activities, problems encountered in terms of food safety, etc.)
  • monitor the implementation of development projects.

Moreover, the use of national relays makes it possible to complete the local anchoring of COLEAD which already exists through the Nairobi and Cotonou/Lomé offices.

In addition, in order to respond appropriately to the needs of the agri-food sector, key information such as needs, challenges, evolution of the sector, etc. must be captured continuously at the national level.

This is why it is necessary for the COLEAD team to be supported by “National Facilitators” in the beneficiary countries for the implementation of the programmes, especially for those targeting interventions with more complex structures such as public services or in countries with more complex environments due to, for example, particular political situations or poor communication means.

8. Market description

Type of contract

The successful tenderer will be offered a simple framework contract.

Overall objective of the contract

The objective of this tender is to facilitate information to partners, the signing of development projects, effective implementation, smooth running and monitoring of the activities of the COLEAD programmes, and more specifically of the FFM+ programme, in the beneficiary country/region for which this service contract has been issued.

The services provided by the contractor will contribute to :

  1. Facilitate relations with the various stakeholders in the public and private sectors, particularly at the decision-making level (supervisory authorities, professional organisations, directorates general of the various ministries involved, public/private dialogue platform);
  2. Assist the COLEAD team in ensuring the coherence of the actions of the Association’s programmes with other projects and programmes implemented by other organisations whose objectives or part of the objectives touch the same fields of action, namely the reinforcement of the competitiveness of the ACP horticultural sectors on the local, regional and international markets;
  3. Facilitate the processes of sending requests for assistance, building and validating the resulting development projects by liaising with the contact person within partner beneficiary structures;
  4. Support the COLEAD team in the evaluation of development projects;
  5. To support the preparation and organisation of the COLEAD team’s missions: making and organising appointments, logistical support, contact with the stakeholders necessary for the success of the missions. ;
  6. Promote COLEAD programmes at events
  7. Support the organisation and implementation of other activities related to the implementation of COLEAD programmes.

Within the framework of their mission, the service provider undertakes to defend the interests of COLEAD and never to harm it, the interest of partners-beneficiaries in the country and the donors of the programmes associated with this mission. All materials produced in the framework of the assignments under the framework contract shall belong to COLEAD.

Description of the interventions

The services to be provided under this call for tenders will cover one or more of the following activities:

  1. Facilitation of relations with different stakeholders:

This activity aims to facilitate relations with stakeholders involved in strengthening the competitiveness of their respective fruit and vegetable sectors, and more particularly those responsible for setting up sanitary and phytosanitary safety systems within the beneficiary countries. The service provider must have a good knowledge of the key interlocutors, their respective positions within their institutions and have privileged access to these persons. The service provider should be able to intervene with stakeholders to achieve the set objectives, speed up decision-making (such as the signing of a framework agreement), collect any complaints and pass them on to the COLEAD team, etc.

In general, the level of responsibility of the stakeholders targeted in this activity will be high: for example, the Secretary General of a ministry or even the Minister or a member of their cabinet, a Director of a department of a ministry, the President or Director of a professional organisation, the head of a public/private platform, etc:

  • Trustee authorities ;
  • Representatives of the European Union (EC Delegation) ;
  • Competent authorities;
  • Professional organisations ;
  • Public/private platforms ;
  • Consumer organisations ;
  • Other Programmes.
  1. Promotion of COLEAD programmes

Sectoral, national and regional meetings, symposia and fairs are regularly organised in ACP countries. It may be of interest to COLEAD to publicise the possibilities of support through ongoing programmes to potential partner-beneficiaries.

To do this, the service provider will be able to :

  • to give an overview of COLEAD Programmes based on presentations prepared by the COLEAD team;
  • distribute documentation ;
  • collect and forward contact details of potential partner-beneficiaries;
  • take any other steps that would improve the visibility of the support available through COLEAD programmes.

The provider may also identify opportunities to promote the programmes and share them with COLEAD. It may alert COLEAD to opportunities identified, whether or not they are known to the association.

  1. Coherence with other ongoing programmes/projects in the beneficiary countries

Many programmes financed by the European Union or other donors have similar components and fields of action to those of the programmes implemented by COLEAD in ACP countries. In order to maximise complementarities and synergies between these interventions and to avoid any risk of duplication, the service provider will be responsible for regularly informing the different donors about their respective activities and for feeding back the information to the COLEAD team. They will facilitate the contacts between those programmes/projects and COLEAD offices.

  1. Facilitate the process of sending requests for intervention, construction and validation of development projects (DEVP)

The follow-up required of the service provider here is administrative, organisational and technical support. The service required for this activity will consist of :

  • To support the beneficiary-partners in formalising and sending their requests for intervention with no substitution to these structures;
  • Participate in the technical analysis of requests for intervention received by COLEAD and in the construction of action plans/budgets
  • Ensure that the development project is validated (and signed) within a reasonable timeframe;
  • Ensure that the actions programmed are carried out as explained in the development project (and in particular in relation to the respect of the commitments made by the beneficiary structure);
  • Gather any complaints about the progress of development project activities and feed them back to the COLEAD team.
  1. Evaluation of development projects

The activities carried out in the implementation of COLEAD programmes should be assessed through internal control procedures. These internal controls will be carried out either by the COLEAD team in the framework of monitoring and reporting activities (and in particular for the deployment of the COLEAD self-assessment tool), or by independent experts specialised in this exercise. The service provider will be asked to support the COLEAD team and these evaluators in the successful completion of this task.

  1. Preparation, organisation of COLEAD team missions

Many missions are and will be scheduled. These missions are usually of short duration. The service provider will therefore have the task of organising the appointments according to the indications given by the COLEAD team and, if deemed useful, of accompanying the mission.

  1. To support the persons designated by the partner-beneficiaries

In each country, COLEAD builds long-term relationships with the structures that benefit from its programme interventions. Within these structures, a person is usually designated as the focal point for relations with COLEAD. The service provider ‘s role will be to assist and advise these designated persons in carrying out the tasks assigned to them.

  1. Present COLEAD resource center

The service provider could be mobilised to guide the partner-beneficiaries through COLEAD’s resource center, in particular: digital resources (library, e-learning, monitoring of regulations, statistics), self-assessment tools, the network, news and online events.

  1. Other activities

COLEAD may call upon the service provider for any other assignment related to the implementation of the programmes for which it is responsible.

Resources Required

The technical skills required will depend on the type of assignment and will be defined on a case-by-case basis. In general, the service provider must demonstrate, in whole or in part :

  • excellent knowledge of the horticultural sector in the country/region concerned by this call for tenders;
  • specific knowledge in one or more of the fields of intervention described (see paragraph – Description of the interventions);
  • professional experience in the implementation of support programmes for the development of agri-food chains financed by international donors in ACP countries;
  • a good knowledge of the public institutions and private organisations in the country/region involved in the establishment of sanitary and phytosanitary safety systems;
  • a good practice in advising and/or intervening in the governance and management of multi-partner projects;
  • recognised and proven expertise in sustainable production and national and international SPS regulations/standards applicable to ACP companies producing and marketing fruit and vegetables;
  • The location of the provider in the country/region concerned is required;
  • the service provider must have a good command (both oral and written) of one or more of the following languages: French, English, Spanish, Portuguese or Dutch.
  • Knowledge of other languages spoken in ACP countries is considered an asset and should be highlighted;
  • Knowledge of COLEAD intervention methodologies and previous activities under intra-ACP programmes is an asset. Information sessions on these subjects could be organised by COLEAD.

9. Budget

The maximum value of this Contract Notice is € 25,000.

10. Provisional timetable

Date of publication of this Contract Notice: 07/03/2023

Deadline for receipt of applications (expressions of interest): 06/04/2023

Deadline for publication of the shortlist: 20/04/2023

Expected date for sending invitations to tenders: 21/04/2023

Deadline for submission of tenders: 22/05/2023

Date of notification to the successful bidders: 27/06/2023

Expected start date of the contract: (from) from the date of signature by the 2 contracting parties

The final schedule will be included in the tender documents.

11. Eligibility

Participation is open, under equal conditions, to all natural persons and legal entities (participating individually or in a consortium of bidders) who are nationals of the ACP and EU States and/or listed in Annex 1 to this document. A consortium may be a permanent group with legal status or an informal group created for the purpose of a specific call for tenders. All the members of a consortium (i.e. the lead partner and all other partners) are jointly and severally liable to the contracting authority.

A check will be carried out to ensure that none of the candidate bidders appears on any of the Financial Sanctions Lists (lists designating persons, groups or entities subject to financial sanctions by the United Nations, the EU and France).

The participation of an ineligible natural person or legal entity will result in the automatic exclusion of the application concerned. If this ineligible person is part of a consortium, the application of the entire consortium will be excluded.

12. Prohibition on pre-selected candidates forming groups

Any tenders received from tenderers allied with firms other than those mentioned in the shortlisted application forms will be excluded from the tender procedure. Shortlisted candidates may neither associate nor conclude mutual subcontracting agreements in the context of the contract in question. No more associations will be allowed after the shortlist has been established.

13. Criteria for selecting applications

Selection criteria relating to the technical and professional capacity of the bidder will be applied to candidates. In the case of an application submitted by a consortium, these criteria will apply to the whole consortium.

These criteria ensure that the candidate (or the consortium as a whole) has sufficient skills and experience to perform the contract.

The correct observance of the instructions for sending the application file will also be considered in the evaluation.

14. Application form

The bidder should indicate an interest in participating in the call for tenders by applying. If the candidate is pre-selected, the name of the structure indicated on the application file will be used in the shortlist. No further changes (name, consortium or other) will be allowed.

The form is available in English and should therefore be completed in that language.

It includes the following data:

  1. General information on the applicant
  2. The application file:
  • 1 brief description of one or more recent assignments (within the previous 3 years) related to the means required to illustrate your competence in one or more areas of expertise described in the terms of reference (4000 characters maximum, spaces included).
  • the names of up to 3 experts who technically meet the expertise requirements and a brief description of their respective skills and experience.
  • at least one professional reference with an email address.

The application must be received by COLEAD no later than Thursday, April 06th, 2023.

15. Communication with COLEAD

If you have any questions regarding this Contract Notice or your application, please email

Be sure to include Contract Notice reference COLEAD/AO/231280 in the title of your email when communicating with COLEAD.

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