Issuance Date:                                                                              June 20, 2019

Deadline for Receipt of Questions:                                         July 12, 2016 (12.00 noon)

Information Session:                                                                  July 12, 2016 (16.00 pm)

Closing Date/Time for Submission of Applications:           July 18, 2016

SUBJECT:             Request for Application (RFA) Number: AID-472-C-15-00001-RFA-#001

USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project in Timor-Leste is seeking applications from qualified, legally registered US and Timorese non-profit, for-profit, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for a grant agreement to Establish a Fruit and Vegetable Packing Facility.

The Successful Applicant will be responsible for ensuring achievement of specified grant objectives. Please refer to Section 1 – Funding Opportunity Description for a complete statement of goals and expected results.

This RFA consists of the following sections:

1.      Section 1 – Funding Opportunity Description

2.      Section 2 – Grant Award Information

3.      Section 3 – Eligibility Information

4.      Section 4 – Application and Submission Information

5.      Section 5 – Application Review Information

6.      Section 6 – Grant Award and Administration Information

7.      Section 7 – Annexes

Pursuant to 22 CFR 226.81, it is USAID policy not to award profit under assistance instruments. However, all reasonable, allocable and allowable expenses, both direct and indirect, which are related to the grant activity and are in accordance with applicable cost standards (22 CFR 226, 2 CFR 230 for non-profit organizations, the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 31 for for-profit organizations, and 2 CFR 220 for educational institutions), may be paid under the Grant.

The Project reserves the right to fund any or none of the applications submitted. Issuance of this RFA does not constitute a grant commitment on the part of the Project, nor does it commit the Project to pay for costs incurred in the preparation and submission of an application. Further, the Project reserves the right to reject any or all applications received if such action is considered to be in the best interest of the US Government. Applications are submitted at the risk of the Applicant; should circumstances prevent making a grant, all preparation and submission costs are at the Applicant’s expense.


Applicants should submit any questions concerning this RFA in writing to USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project Grants and Subcontracts Manager, electronically, via email at . The deadline for receipt of requests for clarifications / explanations is July 12, 2016 at 12.00 noon local time.

Applicants are invited to sign up and attend Information Session regarding this RFA which will be held on July 12, 2016 at 16.00 pm local time, at USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project office. No questions will be accepted after this date.

Applicants should submit applications electronically, referencing RFA No. AID-472-C-15-00001-RFA-#001, via email at The Closing Date for Submission of Applications is July 18, 2016 and the Closing Time for Submission of Applications is 17:00 hours local, Timor-Leste time. Applications that arrive after this deadline will not be considered.



A. Background

The USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project in Timor-Leste is a horticulture value chain activity aimed at addressing the key challenges in rural poverty, natural resource degradation, food insecurity and undernutrition. The value chain approach will be applied in achieving increased productivity along key horticulture value chains that include vegetables, fruits, and legumes. Through the promotion of sustainable production practices, increased functionality of farmer groups and associations, improved market linkages, and increased availability and access to quality agricultural inputs and services, including access to finance, the project will aim to stimulate and support increased economic activity and growth in targeted rural communities and districts.

The purpose of this RFA is to solicit applications to support the Project in the achievement of its program objectives, specifically, to Establish a Fruit and Vegetable Packing Facility.

B. Program Description

B.I. Background on the specific grant activity

This grant activity is designed to develop packing and shipping capacity of horticulture companies that serve growers. The packing facility put in place through this activity is designed to prepare high quality fresh market produce in Timor-Leste for sale into modern lucrative markets. Fresh produce from high elevations around Aileu, Maubisse, and Ermera are of high value and need to be handled in such a way as to maximize shelf life and marketability of the produce. High quality produce packed properly will have a very good local and international market. 

B.II. Goals and objectives of the activity

The goal of this RFA is to provide improved market access for at least 600 growers (per one grant award) to supply high value temperate zone fruits and vegetables to lucrative markets.

The objectives for reaching the goal are to establish a modern well managed post-harvest handling system through local buyers that will support the packing, shipping, and sale of product from at least 600 growers on 300 hectares of land into high end markets (per one grant award). The objective of this RFA is to provide 50% or less buy in to a facility that is equipped to provide good standard packing and shipping using cold chain facilities. The model developed will be scalable and replicable enabling the buyers to expand to meet growing demand and supply for Timorese fresh market produce.

It is expected that USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project will provide one (1) 3 meter by 4 meter by 3 meter refrigeration unit for said pack-house. The chiller will be designed to hold product at temperatures between 0°C and 20°C and will require approximately 7kW of 3 phase power during the duty cycle.

The recipient will be required to supply all other balance of systems. The balance of systems can include storage and packing areas, grading equipment and processes, quality inspection tools and instruments, drying platforms, machinery for shifting products, packing and branding equipment. In addition, the system could include transportation (refrigerated trucks) to get the harvested product to the pack house and equipment to stack product safely in transit. Applicants are free to propose the balance of systems that they deem most appropriate for a Fruit and Vegetable Packing Facility. The packing house design sample is available as Annex D to this RFA.

B.III. Expected deliverables

It is expected that the grant recipient(s) will use the matching grant offered to build and operate a packing and shipping facility complete with an integrated cold chain system that includes pre-cooling and cold storage.  The grant recipients will provide marketing services for growers of high value product and work with the Project to:

1.       Construct the facility in compliance with the design provided by USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project technical team;

2.       Operate a contiguous refrigerated supply chain that does not break the cold chain from the point of pre-cooling in the pack house through to the next point of product distribution or retail.

3.       Offer fair prices to growers and honorable share of the end market price as is standard for this type of operation;

4.       Share information on quantity and approximate value of product that moves through the packing house (USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project) will treat as confidential any information that is determined sensitive in regards to competition)

5.       Explore export markets in cooperation with USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project

6.       Participate in extension programs to improve growers capacities and skills;

7.       Contribute to success of the activity by providing cost-share (more details on cost-share types and criteria is given in Section 3 – Eligibility information);

B.IV. Expected results

It is expected that:

1.       Grant recipient(s) will be able to serve at least 600 growers with packing and shipping services after 12 months (per one grant).

2.       Product moving through the packing facility will be of superior quality and meet a high standard of bio security and freshness that will enable at least 50% of product to be of export quality.

3.       The packing facility and post-harvest handling systems put in place in the pack house will extend average shelf life of produce by at least 300%.

4.       The high quality of the produce sold out of the packing facility will increase market demand at least by 300% by the end of a 30 month period.

5.       Grant recipient(s) will adapt the technology and pack house systems to extend the growing season into the wet season. Grant recipient(s) should also look at how the pack house may be used for perennial tree crops as well. This will be done in coordination with other USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project activities that are using climate smart agriculture approaches to extend growing seasons.

B.V. Illustrative activities

Support to grant recipient(s) (focus of this RFA) will provide means to build and operate a packing and shipping facility complete with an integrated cold chain system that includes pre-cooling and cold storage. Detailed example of the expected functioning of the supply chain following the grant implementation is further described.

Example: Examples of this activity may be the fresh broccoli supply chain. The buyer would meet with growers producing for the buyer. The buyer may choose to initiate a forward purchasing contract program.  If so, the buyer needs to:

1.       Specify Good Agriculture practices that describe best production methods.

2.       Provide seedlings for transplanting. The seedlings would be of a variety most appropriate for the target market.

3.       Specific size of the heads and proper plant spacing should be specified to the grower.

4.       Provide clear grading specifications that are clearly understood by everyone in the supply chain.

5.       Provide production scheduling which the growers are required to adhere to.

6.       Provide payment for produce within three days or in accordance with agreed terms between the buyer and producer.

7.       Specify or provide the field crates required for harvesting. This helps to insure product quality.

8.       Assign individual tracking codes for the farmer, the field, the crop, the packing facility.

The collection, packing and shipping process would likely be done in the following steps:

1.       The buyer or the grower will arrange transportation from the farm to the pack house using the specified field crates.

2.       The product would be received, weighed, and recorded.  The product is handled in one batch representing one grower at a time.

3.       The receipt form will be filled out which includes the name of the grower represents the tracking codes along with the weight of the product and other pertinent information.

4.       The product is graded and boxed according to the market that it is graded for.

5.       Reject product is given back to the grower or set aside for the grower to collect.

6.       A print out of weight per grade and weight of reject product is given to the producer with a payment receipt slip or advice of transfer of payment to the producer’s bank account.

7.       Product packaging is labeled with the appropriate tracking bar codes.

8.       Product is top iced and stored in cold storage at 1c to 2c.

Steps 7 and 8 may be reversed. Instead of ice, the packers may choose to use a forced air cooler and modified atmosphere packaging for transport to export or local markets. That is an alternative to top icing and is becoming a standard practice for distance shipping.

9.       Once a critical mass of product is collected (over no more than two days), the refrigerated truck hauls the product to the retail outlet or the container stuffing point for export.

10.    Product is inspected before final delivery.

11.    Information about product, price changes and supply and demand, shelf life issues, variety, phenotypic traits, and organoleptic preferences of consumers is communicated back to the packer shipper and to the producers so that adjustments can be made anywhere in the supply chain either in production or anywhere between the farm gate and the dinner plate.

In the case of broccoli some of the grade 3 or reject grade can be cut and frozen or chilled for restaurant and institutional food use.

B.VI. Performance Monitoring Plan

Results of the activities (number of growers served through the facility; amount and value of the product coming through the facilities; hectares of land used; etc.) will be measured through the regular monitoring and follow-up data collection. Grant recipient(s) will provide information needed for monitoring and evaluation purposes during and after activity implementation. USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project will treat as confidential any information that is determined sensitive in regards to competition.


Subject to the availability of funds, the Project intends to provide grants to be allocated over a twelve-month period. The anticipated period of performance of the grant is expected to be between July 2016 and June 2017. The Project anticipates awarding Fixed Amount Awards (FAA) under this RFA. Under the FAA, all payments will be fixed amount payable upon achievement of milestones/accomplishment of benchmarks, which will be defined in detail during grant agreement negotiations.


Eligible organizations shall be able to comply with and achieve the proposed Program Description, Tasks, and Results and have a satisfactory performance record and record of integrity and business ethics. Eligible organizations include legally registered US, Timorese non-for-profit, for-profit, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

Prior to the award of grant under this RFA, successful applicants will be required to sign a Certification Regarding Terrorist Financing certifying that the applicant’s organization does not provide and has never provided assistance to terrorists for terrorist activities. Successful applicants may also be required to sign other Certifications as applicable to the grant award. The Certifications are attached as Annex A of this RFA.

Ineligible organizations include:

·        Public International Organizations;

·        Entities that have misused USAID funds in the past, organizations that advocate, promote or espouse anti-democratic policies or illegal activities;

·        Political parties or institutions;

·        Organizations that intend to use the grant for religious objectives;

·        Organizations that are on the list of parties excluded from federal procurement and non-procurement programs or the United Nations Security Sanctions Committee.

Minimum qualifications for organizations to participate in this RFA include packing and shipping experience and experience of the buyers for fresh market produce. Past experience of the applicants will be assessed as one of the assessment criteria. Considering the very specific nature of this RFA and activity, it is a requirement that the applicant:

1.       Owns or rents a refrigerated truck to transport product from the packing house to the next distribution point or to the retail outlet.

2.       Has 3 phase power to the facility,

3.       Is currently involved in purchase and sale of fresh market produce

4.       Has a location rented or purchased for the packing facility

5.       The facility is located within 30 minute drive of the central production areas

The applicant should also consider the following:

1.       Facility needs to be close to a main road with easy truck access in and out of the facility

2.       Facility needs to have a parking area for vehicles

3.       The closer the facility is to the central production area, the less expense required in collection.

Cost sharing is required by the Project for this activity, and the amount of cost sharing proposed by grantees will be considered when evaluating the cost effectiveness of applications.

Cost sharing may include:

·        Project costs financed with cash or in-kind contributions, either provided by the grantee or other donors;

·        Unrecovered indirect costs;

·        Volunteer services furnished by professional and technical personnel, consultants, and other skilled and unskilled labor if the services are a necessary part of the grant activity. Rates for volunteer services will be consistent with those paid for similar work in the grantee’s organizations;

·        Donated supplies (such as expendable equipment, office supplies, etc.), non-expendable equipment, buildings, and land. Values for donated supplies, equipment, buildings and land will be reasonable and will not exceed their fair market value.

Cost sharing must meet the following criteria:

·        Verifiable from the grantee’s records;

·        Not included as contributions for the any US Government project or program;

·        Necessary and reasonable for the accomplishment of grant objectives;

·        Allowable under the applicable cost principles;

·        Not paid by the Federal Government under another grant;

·        Provided for in the approved budget.

Program income is defined as gross income earned by the grantee that is directly generated by a supported activity or earned as a results of a grant award. Program income includes, but it is not limited to, income from fees for services performed, the use or rental of property, including equipment, acquired under the grant agreement; the sale of commodities or items produced under the grant agreement, and interest on loans made with grant funds.

In the event that a grant activity result in program income earned during the period of performance of the grant, it will be retained by the grantee but must be used in one of the following ways:

a)      Added to the grant budget and used to further the grant objectives (this does not apply for any for-profit grantees);

b)      Used to finance the grantee’s cost-share requirements; or

c)      Deducted from the total grant allowable cost on which the Federal share of costs is based

If program income is used based on a. and/or b. above, any program income in excess of the amounts that were used towards a. and/ or b. shall be used in accordance with c. above. Grantees will have no obligation to the US Government regarding program income earned after the end of the grant period of performance. Grantees also have no obligation to the US Government with respect to program income earned from license fees and royalties for copyrighted materials, patents, patent applications, trademarks, and inventions produced under a grant.


Environmental Compliance

The USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project will consider all potential environmental implications of proposed grant activities.

All applications must also meet and adhere to project environmental compliance requirements, which will be considered as part of the evaluation of the proposal, and during implementation. Proposals that will risk and adverse impact on the environment will not be considered without mitigation plans, and must be done in accordance with USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project Environmental Monitoring and Mitigation Plans.


Applicants should submit applications electronically, referencing RFA No. AID-472-C-15-00001-RFA-#001, via email at . The closing date for submission of applications is July 18, 2016 and the closing time for submission of applications is 17:00 hours local, Timor-Leste time. Late applications will not be considered.

All applications in response to this RFA shall consist of a technical proposal and a budget proposal. The technical proposal must be no longer than 10 pages in length. Pages submitted in excess of 10 pages will not be reviewed. The budget proposal shall be submitted as a separate file from the technical proposal. The required format for applications is included as Annex B – Full Application Format and Budget Format.


Applications will be evaluated in accordance with the criteria set forth below. The criteria have been tailored to the requirements of this RFA. Applications should note that these criteria serve to: (a) identify the significant matters which Applicants should address in their applications; and (b) set the standard against which all applications will be evaluated.

To the extent necessary, the Project may request clarification and supplemental materials from Applicants whose applications have a reasonable chance of being selected for grant award. The entry into discussion is to be viewed as part of the evaluation process and shall not be deemed as indicative of a decision or commitment upon the part of the Project to make a grant award to the applicants with whom discussions are being held.

Applications will be evaluated by the Grants Selection Committee on the basis of 100 possible points. The weighting of various sections will be as follows:

1.       Understanding of the Key Issues (20 points): Does the applicant demonstrate a clear understanding of the problems/key issues that the proposed grant activity will address?

2.       Grant Activity Goals and Objectives (10 points): Is the overall goal of the proposed grant activity clearly stated and achievable? Does the applicant list specific objectives that will contribute to achieving the grant’s goal?

3.       Outcomes / Expected Results (10 points): Do the expected results of the proposed grant activities relate to the key issues and overall grant objective? Are anticipated results directly linked to a specific objective? Are the results verifiable? Is the Branding Strategy appropriate and in line with USAID’s Branding Strategy and Marking Plan?

4.       Staffing/Management Plan (10 points): Does the proposed staffing/management plan reflect the personnel/management needs of the grant activity? Does the applicant propose personnel with experience and skills necessary to successfully implement the proposed activities?

5.       Gender & Youth aspects (10 points): Are the majority of target beneficiaries women? Are the majority of target beneficiaries youth?

6.       Past Experience (15 points): Does the organization have relevant past experience successfully implementing similar activities? Is the recipient currently purchasing produce from local producers? How many local growers does the recipient purchase from?

7.       Cost Realism (25 points): Is the proposed budget realistic, well-thought out, and in-line with the proposed activities? Are the proposed costs reasonable, allowable and allocable to the grant? Is the grantee contributing cost-share and to what extent?

The selection of the Applicant for award will be made by the Project’s Grants Steering Committee (GSC). Prior to the award of any resultant grant agreement, the Project must obtain prior approval from USAID.


Successful applicant(s) will receive written notice from the Grants and Subcontracts Manager informing the applicant(s) that the Project either intends to award a grant to the applicant without negotiation, or that the Project intends to engage the applicant(s) in further negotiations with respect to a potential grant award. Negotiations conducted after the receipt of an application do not constitute an obligation on the part of the Project to award a grant. Unsuccessful applicants will be notified in writing by the Grants and Subcontracts Manager.

Any resultant award will be subject to the terms and conditions of the Prime Contract for the USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project, 22 CFR 226 and the Standard Provisions for U.S. Non-governmental Recipients and for Non-U.S. Non-governmental Recipients.


Annex A:              Certifications –> Annex A. Certifications, Assurances and Other Statements of Offerors

Annex B:              Full Application Format and Budget Format –> Annex B. Full Application Format_Formatted and Annex B1. Full Grant Application Budget Format

Annex C:              Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants –> Annex C. Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants

Annex D:              Pack house design – sample –> Annex D_Pack_House_Design_Sample

Grants Team

USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project




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