Calls for expressions of interest

AO 241334

Support to strengthen the competitiveness and compliance of the horticultural industries of the target countries to regulatory and/or private requirements of domestic, regional, and international markets through training and technical assistance in the areas of food safety and plant health

Post date: 13/05/2024

Please complete the application form below:

Terms of Reference - CEI 241334

1. Title of contract

Support to strengthen the competitiveness and compliance of the horticultural industries of the target countries to regulatory and/or private requirements of domestic, regional, and international markets through training and technical assistance in the areas of food safety and plant health.

Ref: COLEAD/AO/241334

2. Location

The required interventions may require travel within the target countries. The target countries are those on the list of low-income, lower-middle-income and upper-middle-income economies of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with particular emphasis on the member countries of the Organisation of ACP States (OACPS). Depending on the case, the experts may be invited to visit the various COLEAD offices if necessary (Brussels, Rungis, Nairobi, etc.).

3. Main object (CPV code)

Agri-food sectors

4. General address of the contracting authority

3, Avenue du Viaduc – Bât B3A
CP 90761
94550 Chevilly Larue

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 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 Networks and Alliances.

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 horticulture sector”, with a total budget of €25 million funded by the 11th EDF.

FFM+ is part of the intra-ACP cooperation programme between the EU and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS), formerly the ACP Group of States. It forms 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 private sector in ACP countries.

The overall objective of the FFM+ programme is to contribute to poverty reduction and improved food security and nutrition, by supporting the construction of a fairer, safer and sustainable agri-food sector in OACPS member countries. Despite a disrupted 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. At the same time, in a context of accelerated change and paradigm shift, the second specific objective is to enable smallholders, farmer groups and MSMEs in the horticultural sector to seize new market opportunities through the development and adoption of safe and sustainable practices, skills and technologies.

Following on from previous programmes, the rationale behind FFM Plus is based on applications from companies or producer groups, as well as intermediary support structures – whether public or private – that are actively involved in the process of bringing the sectors concerned into compliance (service providers, Business membership organisations [BMOs], training centres, competent authorities, research institutes, etc.).

Other projects implemented by COLEAD (at the date of launch of this call for tenders)

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

  • “Strengthening of the Phytosanitary Control and Certification System in Guinea” (STDF/PG/498) financed by the Standards and Trade Development Facility (FANDC – STDF)
  • “Strengthening phytosanitary capacities to contribute to food security and the development of exports of horticultural products from Senegal” (STDF/PG/946) financed 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, 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 with a total budget of €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 and international levels for agricultural operators in partner countries and the EU.

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 find out more about its interventions.

Regulatory changes concerning SPS measures

One of the main changes in EU Regulation 2016/2031 is that it deals with all the pests (quarantine and non-quarantine) that will be listed following the risk assessment. This includes the so-called priority pests, i.e. the EU quarantine pests that potentially have the most serious impact on the EU. These are subject to reinforced measures, including surveys, eradication plans and contingency plans.

The regulation also introduces specific measures concerning imports and movements within the EU of certain high-risk products. This is a new level of precaution. Annexes III and IV of Directive 2000/29 ** linked to the current rules remain valid, and an additional list of high-risk plants or plant products has been adopted.

Lastly, the regulation makes significant changes to the requirements for phytosanitary certificates, registration of professional operators, traceability of basic products, plant passports (planting material), export, re-export and pre-export certificates.

The stricter application of SPS standards and the increasing role of market requirements in determining access to certain parts of the EU market are exacerbating the trade challenges faced by exporters. Strengthening compliance with SPS measures and simplifying market entry conditions is an important area that is receiving increasing attention from public authorities in many third countries.

Regulatory changes concerning plant protection products

In the EU, active substances are approved for a maximum period of 10 years under EC Regulation 1107/2009, after which the approval must be reviewed. The review process involves the detailed assessment of existing (and sometimes new) data against a series of criteria, many of which have changed since the substance was first approved.

When an active substance is submitted for review, the manufacturer must submit a dossier containing the required data. In some cases, perhaps due to a lack of commercial interest, or in the knowledge that certain substances will not pass the evaluation processes, manufacturers decide not to invest in re-evaluation. This is all the more critical for minor crops in exporting countries, representing a relatively small market, so manufacturers and input suppliers are less inclined to invest in new solutions.

Following the expiry/non-renewal of EU authorisations, maximum residue limits (MRLs) are generally lowered to the limit of determination (LOD), i.e. 0.01 mg/kg. In most cases, this means that these substances can no longer be used on crops intended for export to the EU.

The revision of EC Regulation 1107/2009, leading to an effective loss of plant protection products (PPPs) affecting the viability and competitiveness of certain ACP exports, has also been taken into account as a focus for analysis, in order to identify the value chains most impacted by the effective loss of PPPs, thereby informing the Research and Innovation Brokerage department’s trials programme and priority issues for crop protection.

Gender equality

As part of COLEAD’s mission and commitment to sustainability, interventions in the countries with which we engage are expected to raise awareness of the importance of gender equality in achieving sustainable development. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) places the empowerment of women at the core of its concerns and recognises their contribution as a key driver of progress towards all goals and targets.

Women make a significant contribution to agriculture and the rural economy in all regions of the world. However, despite progress, women continue to face challenges that limit their access to economic opportunities. COLEAD’s commitment to promoting women’s economic empowerment in the agricultural sector, and horticulture in particular, will hopefully help foster inclusive growth and improve the effectiveness of the assistance it provides.

8. Market description

Type of market

This market concerns the provision of support services for the technical implementation of all of COLEAD’s current and future projects/programmes.

All successful tenderers will be offered a framework contract, which will specify the names of the selected experts and the maximum daily fee per expert. In certain cases, and following evaluation of the proposed CVs, the fees mentioned in the contract may differ from the fees proposed in the tenderer’s financial offer.

The objective of this call for tenders is to create a pool of experts with the required expertise, as described in the “type of activities”, who can be mobilised by COLEAD’s technical team if necessary. Services will therefore be required on an as-needed basis and through ordering letters specifying the terms of the assignments.

As a result of the above, it is important to note that in the context of this call for tenders, although the signing of a framework contract is a prerequisite for working with COLEAD, this does not guarantee that all service providers will be invited to carry out assignments.

Principles of interventions

In continuity with previous programmes, the intervention logic of COLEAD’s programmes is based on the expression of requests for support from MSMEs or producer groups in partner countries, but also from intermediate support structures – whether public or private – which are actively involved in the process of compliance and the development of value chains concerned (service providers, BMOs, training centres, inspection services, etc.). It also adopts the following modalities and principles of actions that have contributed to their 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.

COLEAD will preferentially involve service providers with consultants based in partner-countries[1], from which the partner-beneficiaries of the programmes are requesting support, in order to ensure that the characteristics of the operators concerned and their environment are considered rapidly and effectively. This concern for the increasing involvement of local expertise is an integral part of COLEAD’s intervention logic.

Topics covered by the market

The themes covered by this call for tenders are as follows:

Food safety: Hygiene, risk analysis, traceability, health quality management systems, self-checking, etc.

Plant health: Safe use of pesticides and compliance with MRLs, Management of quarantine organisms, Plant protection product approval mechanisms, Plant health regulations (local, regional, national, European), National inspection, monitoring, control and sanitary and phytosanitary certification systems, etc.

Any other sub-theme or new issue that could limit the compliance of horticultural production in the target countries with local, regional or international regulations and trade constraints and/or impact the competitiveness of horticultural operators is included in this market.

Tenderers must demonstrate that they have sufficient skills and experience in at least one of the areas covered by this market to enable them to carry out any assignments that may be entrusted to them.

Beneficiaries / target groups

The beneficiaries/target audiences are stakeholders in the agricultural industry, including, but not limited to, directors and technical managers of companies and farmers’ organisations, outreach staff of organisations supporting small producers, agents of intermediary structures in the agricultural sector, public and private sector service providers, and public service agents, in particular the competent authority for SPS inspection and certification (the National Plant Protection Organisation – NPPO), plant protection product approval services, laboratories responsible for pesticide registration, etc.

Target countries

The target countries are those on the list of low, lower-middle and upper-middle income economies of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), with particular emphasis on the member countries of the Organisation of ACP States (OACPS).

Type of activities

The planned activities will be carried out taking into account COLEAD’s digital transformation process and that of the partner-beneficiaries of its programmes. The planned activities can be carried out either face-to-face, or entirely remotely using the digital tools available, or in a hybrid way with part face-to-face and part remotely.

The actions to be organised under this call for tenders will include the following aspects:


The services sought will help to increase the technical and educational skills of the target audiences in the various areas covered by this contract. The various actions to be carried out under this call for tenders will be as follows, depending on the category of beneficiary and its needs:

  • Preparation (e.g. review and/or preparation of a training programme) and delivery of technical and pedagogical training courses, leading to qualifications or otherwise (face-to-face or at a distance using digital means);
  • Training follow-up (coaching, training advice, evaluation, adjustments to training programmes, etc.);
  • Improvement of training courses in vocational training centres and/or in structures benefiting from the programmes;
  • Support for the introduction of internal training systems (and training follow-up) for beneficiaries;
  • Supervision of distance learning via the COLEAD training platform and/or a third-party platform (where applicable).

Illustration – Some examples of actions

  • Run a group training course on crop protection and the safe use of pesticides;
  • Review and adapt the training course on Good Hygiene Practices and Basic Principles of Traceability;
  • Supporting an expert technically and pedagogically via individual coaching sessions (topics covered by this contract);
  • Run a collective digital training course on the organisation of official controls for NPPO managers;
  • And so on.

Technical Assistance

The services sought will aim to :

  • Accompany the beneficiaries/target groups through each stage of upgrading/compliance with the themes covered by this contract;
  • Support the installation of tools to control the systems put in place and monitor their performance;
  • Support the improvement of services offered by intermediary structures (public and private) and service providers to their beneficiaries and/or members (companies, small producers, etc.) and their customers (companies and/or consumers) respectively;
  • Validate the compliance of the systems put in place with current national or international standards and private/regulatory norms (e.g. pre-audits and certification audits);
  • Facilitate the setting up of consultation frameworks between private operators and public institutions and the creation of working groups (i.e. public-private exchange forums) to understand new regulatory requirements or any other issues common to horticultural operators under the themes covered by the market;
  • Development and implementation of procedures to improve national SPS systems (monitoring, inspections, sampling, internal audit, etc.);
  • Drawing up Guides to Good Plant Protection Practice and putting them into practice among public and private stakeholders;
  • Strengthening the governance of national SPS systems ;
  • Carry out an assessment of national SPS systems, in particular – but not exclusively – using the R-SAT tool developed by COLEAD.

Illustration – Some examples of actions

  • To support producers and MSMEs at every stage in the installation of systems that meet the demands of local, regional and/or international markets (regulatory or based on private standards), possibly with a view to certification;
  • To support the improvement and effectiveness of official sanitary and phytosanitary inspection, control and certification procedures by the services of National Plant Protection Organisations and/or other public/para public structures;
  • Supporting the improvement of national food safety systems (e.g. initial diagnostics, development of roadmaps, feasibility studies, etc.);
  • Support for small producers who supply the companies and for their integration into the systems set up;
  • And so on.


The services sought will help to facilitate the logistical organisation of COLEAD’s technical assistance and training activities under this contract:

  • Obtain and analyse offers for training rooms, catering services, accommodation services and/or transport services. Submit the best offers and their analyses to COLEAD for validation;
  • Ensure that the selected service providers and companies/participants understand and accept COLEAD’s terms of payment and the terms and conditions of COLEAD’s financial support;
  • Confirm the exact number of reservations to be made (catering and accommodation) based on the actual number of participants registered. Ensure that the rooms have the necessary equipment (video projector, flipchart, etc.) and, if not, take the necessary steps to equip them;
  • Collect and register registration forms from invited companies. Follow-up with companies that have received invitations to ensure their participation, help them choose their participants and explain how COLEAD will cover the costs;
  • Support participants and/or experts from abroad with administrative formalities and organising their transport to the activity/training venue;
  • Obtaining the equipment needed for the training to run smoothly, after discussing needs with the experts and COLEACD. Receive and, if necessary, clear through customs the materials sent by COLEAD for the activity/training. Hand over the training materials sent by COLEAD to the experts for distribution to the participants;
  • Ensure that, each day, participants and/or experts sign the documents required by COLEAD (attendance lists, accommodation lists, handover sheet for teaching materials, list of people trained, etc.);
  • Check final invoices from service providers and compliance with booked services, attendance lists and accommodation lists. Send scans of documents completed by participants and/or experts during the training course at COLEAD and, after verification and validation by COLEAD, send the originals by registered post.

This list is not exhaustive and certain services may be added or removed depending on the logistical needs of the activities to be organised.

COLEAD is ISO 21001 certified. This means that specific procedures linked to the TMS (Training Management System) must be followed when organising each training course.

9. Budget

The maximum value of this Contract Notice is € 2,500,000.

10. Provisional timetable

Date of publication of this Contract Notice: 13/05/2024

Deadline for receipt of applications (expressions of interest): 12/06/2024

Deadline for publication of the shortlist: 10/07/2024

Expected date for sending invitations to tenders: 10/07/2024

Deadline for submission of tenders: 11/09/2024

Date of notification to the successful bidders: 04/12/2024

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. 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 French and English and must be completed in one of these languages.

It includes the following data:

  1. General information on the applicant
  2. The application file:
  • 1 detailed description of one or more recent assignments (within the previous 3 years) related to the type of activities, illustrating your competence in one or more of the areas of expertise described in the terms of reference. Highlight how the experience acquired in the context of this project demonstrates your skills in one or more of the areas covered by the terms of reference, such as training, technical assistance or logistical organisation, particularly in the areas of food safety and plant health (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 especially in the fields of food safety and plant health. In the case of an application made on behalf of an independent consultant, no other expert may be proposed.
  • At least one professional reference with an email address.

The application must be received by COLEAD no later than Wednesday, June 12th, 2024.


 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/241334 in the title of your email when communicating with COLEAD.

[1] Partner countries are defined as low-income, lower-middle income and upper-middle-income economies, categorised according to the DAC List of ODA Recipients.

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