USAID’S AVANSA AGRIKULTURA PROJECT – Request for Application: AID-472-C-15-00001-RFA-#003-Support the Establishment of Tree Nurseries – CD 16 de Setembro de 2016






Issuance Date:                                                                              September 07, 2016

Deadline for Receipt of Questions:                                         September 16, 2016

Closing Date/Time for Submission of Applications:           October 03, 2016

Informative Sessions Dates:                                                    Details to be announced through media

SUBJECT:             Request for Application (RFA) Number: AID-472-C-15-00001-RFA-#003

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 support the establishment of tree nurseries. 

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.

Subject to the availability of funds, the Project intends to provide approximately US$50,000 in total funding to be allocated over a one-year period. Maximum amount of a single grant to be awarded under this RFA is US$25,000.

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 September 16, 2016. No questions will be accepted after this date.

Applicants should submit applications electronically, referencing RFA No. AID-472-C-15-00001-RFA-#003, via email at . The Closing Date for Submission of Applications is October 03, 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 support theestablishment of local tree nurseries.

B. Program Description

B.I. Background on the specific grant activity

Timor Leste lacks sufficient stocks of perennial crop plant material for production of fruit, spice, and timber. Insufficient access to good quality perennial plant materials of different varieties, presents challenges to reforestation and land conservation programs that are needed for Natural Resource Management (NRM) and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).  The difficulty to access a range of perennial plant material limits the options for small growers that want to grow agro-forestry products.

USAID’s Avansa Agikultura Project supports both NRM and DRR activities for which trees are required.  Avansa also supports the production of high value fruit, nut, and spice products as a component of the commercial horticulture program. Good quality tree saplings for commercial production are required for these activities particularly grafted fruit trees using bud wood from commercial varieties. These types of trees are often either not available in Timor Leste or are in short supply.

B.II. Goals and objectives of the activity

To address the problem of insufficient local perennial plant material, USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project will support organizations (successful applicants) with grant support.

The objectives of this Request for Applications (RFA) – Support the establishment of local tree nurseries are:

1. To support propagation of the local trees nurseries that serve NRM and agriculture development in five target municipalities (Ainaro, Aileu, Bobonaro, Dili, Ermera)

2. To support development of horticulture fruit and spice value-chain (by increasing access to commercial varieties at a reduced price)

By simultaneously working on both objectives, it is expected that collective action will be stimulated in target areas, resulting in increased community resilience to climate change and disasters, as well as an increased volume of perennial horticulture crops introduced to small scale commercial operations.  The activity will promote further diversification of economic opportunities for farmers, thus resulting in more competitive supply of goods and value adding in rural areas.

B.III. Expected deliverables

It is expected that the grant recipient(s) will use the matching grant offered to establish local tree nursery (nurseries) to serve natural resource management and horticulture activities.  The grant recipient(s) are expected to:

1.       Provide land of sufficient size and quality to address the requirements of the nursery

2.       Prepare and arrange rootstock using the local trees, in order to ensure proper adaptation to climate and geographical conditions

3.       Ensure a good standard of financial management of the nursery (basic business plan shall be presented as part of the application)

4.       Share information with the Project on quantity of seedlings and seeds in the nursery. USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project will treat as confidential any information that is determined sensitive in regards to competition;

5.       Research new best quality plant material locally available and incorporate local plant material into the propagation program including production from direct seed as well as for root stock scion, and bud wood.

6.       Participate in extension or assistance programs to improve company human resource capacities and skills.

7.       Contribute to the 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

Grant activity must contribute to fulfilment of one or more expected results listed below.

–        At least 2,500 square meters size nursery established and producing 200,000 saplings per year.

–        Efficiently run operation and financially viable nursery is established

–        Efficient service provided to NRM needs and fruit seedlings/seeds segment (as proven by orders and supply contracts executed).

–        Grant recipient(s) will make a plan/calendar of seedlings and seeds growth to make maximal use of the nursery in all seasons, and to provide timely and efficient services to prospective buyers.

B.V. Illustrative activities

Support to grant recipient(s) from USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project (the focus of this RFA) will provide cost-share means to support establishment of local tree nurseries. Illustrative activities are listed below. Business ideas shall be described in the submitted application (including: basic business plan, markets to be served, cash flow and profit-loss analysis for overall business and per seedling/seed grown), while the objectives and activities shall be quantified in Logical framework (which consists a part of the Annex B – Full application form).

Illustrative activities that will be supported under the grant (divided by cost-share of applicant and USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project) are listed below.

Applicant(s) shall from their cost-share provide the following activities/materials needed to establish the nursery:

–           Provision of land (appropriate size and quality)

–           Prepare rootstock from wild/local trees

–           Provision of seeds for the nursery

–           Establish the nursery including its management and maintenance with labor costs

USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project may finance some or all of the following activities/materials for nursery establishment:

–        Nursery construction (including purchase of needed materials: shade net, preservation materials, nails, wires, wheel barrows etc.)

–        Preparation of polybags and media mix materials (soil, sand, compost etc…)

–        Installation of the irrigation system for the nursery

–        Purchase of seedlings for the nursery

B.VI. Performance Monitoring Plan

Results of the activities (as per indicators defined in the application and grant agreement) 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 November 2016 and November 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 minimal packing experience. Past experience of the applicants will be assessed as one of the assessment criteria.

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-#003, via email at . The closing date for submission of applications is October 03, 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 (15 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 (15 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 (10 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 (20 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 B:              Full Application Format and Budget Format

Annex C:              Survey on Ensuring Equal Opportunity for Applicants

Note: the Tetum version of this RFA will be posted in a later date.

Grants Team

USAID’s Avansa Agrikultura Project



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