Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency

Ethiopian Herald Dec10,2020

REQUEST FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST (EOI)

Reference: ATA-NCB-CON-2020-0011

Constancy Services Hiring of IT service provider to develop, test, and deploy the existing National Market Information System (NMS) to commodate additional requirements, commodities, and marketplaces Cosmg DateDecember 24, 2020

The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency invites interested consultant firms to submit their Expression of Interest (EOD) to complete tasks as outlined below for Hiring of IT service provider to develop, test, and deploy the existing National Market Information System NMIS) to accommodate additional requirements, commodities, and marketplaces

INTRODUCTION 

The Agriculture Transformation Agency (ATA) is established in 2010 to promote agricultural sector transformation by supporting existing structures of government, private sector, and other non-governmental partners to address systemic bottlenecks in delivering on a priority national agenda for achieving growth and food security.

The mandate of the agency is to identify systemic constraints of agricultural development, through conducting studies and recommend solutions to ensure sustainability and structural transformation, to support the implementation of recommended solutions, to support the establishment of strong linkages among agricultural and related institutions and projects to ensure the effectiveness of agricultural development activities and to manage and lead the implementation of specific solutions as projects.

The agency focuses on a set of high-priority programmatic deliverables forming the Agricultural Transformation Agenda, sub-divided into four verticals: Production and Productivity, Agri-Business, and Markets, Sustainable and Inclusive Growth, and Enhanced Implementation Capacity. Across these program areas, the ATA engages public, private, and non-governmental stakeholders to support strategic planning, manage and strengthen implementation capacity, and test innovative models. The organization does this by leveraging best practice approaches, whether from the public or private sectors. ATA is financed by the GoE and a range of development partners.

ATA has established the digital Agriculture program in the strategic intervention main program to develop and support initiatives that are related to the use of information communication technologies within the Ethiopian agriculture sector. The digital Agriculture program will play a major role in supporting ATA’s program/project teams to determine if and how technology could help to address systemic problems. The digital Agriculture program will focus the majority of its resources on supporting other ATA teams, and managing existing ICT related projects within the program.

The digital Agriculture Program manages ICT focused project should need improving the lives of smallholder farmers and a strong interest in developing innovative information 1 communication technologies to transform existing practices in Ethiopia. S/he would provide priority to mobilize partners, stakeholders, and funding, to drive practical change at strategic policy levels and localized project levels. The national Market Information System /NMIS/ project is one of the ICT projects structured under the ICT in Agriculture program within the ATA.

The pilot implementation of the National market Information system /NMIS/ was commenced in September 2017 with two main objectives. These are 1) to facilitate informed market decisions of all value chain actors (including SHF & government policymakers ) through enhanced access to timely, accurate, and relevant market information and 2) to make greater use of Information Communication Technology to enhance and expand the coverage of market information, including collection, validation, processing, and dissemination. The first round pilot implementation of the system was first started with 31 pilot marketplaces in the four regions of Oromia, Amhara, SNNP, and Tigray on five selected agricultural commodities namely Wheat, Maize, Tef, Sesame, and Haricot bean, and then expended to 126 additional pilot marketplaces. In this phase, all the required ICT infrastructure and Ethio-telecom services are installed and configured to accommodate 157 pilot marketplaces.

The system collects weekly market data from all pilot markets on major market days via existing government staff/woreda level data enumerators using mobile ODK applications. The collected and entered market data is validated and approved by the central validation expert, and disseminated to users via 6077 across all over the country in three local languages Amharic, Afan Oromo, and Tigrigna for users to make informed marketing decisions for their commodities.

Currently, the system has generated more than 1.95 million calls from more than 359,000 registered callers. The user of the system has to access timely, accurate, and relevant market information on selected five agricultural commodities from the system platform via 6077 from every corner of the country. Yet, the system has generated more than 38,000 validated market data from 157 pilot marketplaces on five selected agricultural commodities

Besides the existing requirements, commodities, and marketplaces, the NMIS team is working to scale-up the system to additional data and functional requirements, 10 agricultural commodities, and 150 marketplaces. From the total number of 307 marketplaces, about 97 % will be selected from the ACC woredas whereas the remaining marketplaces will be taken from reference markets in the zonal town around

the ACC woredas. The ToR is developed to hire the potential IT service provider to undertake the system development, upgrading activities.

1. OBJECTIVES AND SCOPE OF THE ASSIGNMENT

1.1. General Objective

The general objective of the service is to develop, test, and deploy the existing NMIS system software/platform to accommodate additional data and functional requirements, commodities, and marketplaces.

1.2 SPECIFIC OBJECTIVES

  • Refine the identified additional data and functional requirements
  • Develop/upgrade the existing NMIS system software to include additional commodities and marketplaces
  • Develop/upgrade the existing NMIS system software to scale-up additional requirements (data and functional)
  • Test and deploy the developed/upgraded system
  • Support in managing Ethio telecom related services and activities
  • Provide appropriate technical support after deployment to run the system as per the required quality,

2. SCOPE OF WORK

The IT service provider should have specialized in developing, testing, deploying, integrating, maintaining, and hosting market information system-related activities. This service provider is expected to refine the identified additional requirements and upgrade the existing NMIS system to accommodate additional 9 data and 9 functional requirements, 10 agricultural commodities, and 150 woredas or marketplaces to scaleup the pilot implementation of the system. 

The major services are:

  • Refine the already identified additional requirement, commodities, and woredas/ marketplaces to include in the existing IVR/SMS/ODK application
  • Develop/upgrade the existing NMIS system technologies IVR/SMS, mobile application or ODK application, web application including reports, dashboard, and email to accommodate additional requirements, commodities, and woredas/ marketplaces. The NMIS system modules are Data collection, Data validation, Data processing, Data dissemination, and user feedback collection (IVR survey module)
  • Develop/upgrade the existing content of the system platform such as the system dashboard, widgets, IVR feedback, SMS data collection, Manage Market, validate the market data, Report, web, and administration.
  • Maintain, manage, and administer the existing NMIS system and ethio-telecom services to accommodate additional requirements, commodities, and coverage
  • Provide required ongoing technical support for regional and data enumerator in undertaking market data collection, encoding and entering activities using the ODK application
  • Provide the require ongoing technical support in adding, replacing and editing of the data enumerators and other system users profile
  • Provide the required ongoing technical support in undertaking IVR/SMS survey using the system platform
  • Provide ongoing technical support in managing, maintaining and the proper operation of Ethio-telecom infrastructure and services

3. REQUEST FOR EXPRESSION OF INTEREST

The ATA now invites eligible firms to indicate their interest in providing the services. Interested firms must provide detailed information indicating that they are qualified to perform the services (description of similar assignments, evidence of familiarity with undertaking IT service provider to develop, test, and deploy the existing National Market Information System (NMIS) to accommodate additional requirements, commodities, and marketplaces). The Expressions of Interest should include a track record and proven expertise in supporting multiple developing countries in preparing IT service provider to develop, test, and deploy the existing National Market Information System (NMIS) to accommodate additional requirements, commodities, and marketplaces; team composition, regional or country presence and overall approach to undertake assignments.

4. DURATION OF ASSIGNMENT

As a result of the current EOI, ATA will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) for selecting the firm(s). only the selected firm will be awarded to sign a Long-Term Agreement (LTA) for the duration of 3 years, subject to successful contract finalization. However, it should be noted that the establishment of an LTA does not imply any financial obligation on the part of the Fund to appoint the firm with an assignment.

5. SUBMISSION

The Procuring entity has adopted a two-stage process (collectively referred to as the “Bidding Process”) for award of the Consultancy Contract. The first stage (the “Qualification Stage”) of the Bidding Process involves qualification (the “Prequalification”) of interested parties who submits an EOI in accordance with the provisions of this EOI (the “Applicant’). The applicant shall be firm. At the end of this stage, the qualification Stage, the Procuring Entity expects to announce a list of all prequalified applicants (the “The Short listed Bidders”) who will be eligible for participation in the second stage (the “Bid Stage”) of the Bidding Process. Interested consultants may obtain further information in writing at the address below from 8:30 am hours to 5:30 PM Hours during working days,

The bidders are expected to examine all instructions, terms, and other details in the EOI document carefully, Failure to furnish complete information as mentioned in the EOI Document or submission of a proposal not substantially responsive to the EOI documents in every respect will be at the Bidder’s risk and may result in rejection of the EOL. The applicant may furnish any additional information, which is deemed necessary to establish capability to successfully complete the envisaged task mentioned in the EOI. However, superfluous information need not be furnished, and no information shall be entertained after submission of EOI document unless specifically called for. Any information furnished by the applicant found to be incorrect either immediately or at a later date, would render him liable to be debarred from taking up the project

6. QUALIFICATIONS OF FIRMS/CORE AREA OF EXPERTISE OF THE FIRM/

The firms shall have at least 6 years’ experience in conducting similar assignments. The following will be the minimum pre-qualification criteria. Each eligible consultant should possess all the following pre-qualification criteria. Responses not meeting the minimum pre-qualification criteria will be rejected and will not be evaluated.

6.1 Mandatory Competencies and Qualifications

The Service Provider shall comply and fulfill all the following mandatory requirements and competencies

  • Minimum of six years’ experience designing, developing, testing, implementing, IVR and SMS, web, and other ICT solutions in Ethiopia, Value Added Service (VAS) License, management, maintenance, and support services of Freeswitch based IVR System having at least 200 voice ports in Ethiopia, SMS management and support serviceconnected locally with Ethio Telecom’s SMS Center Infrastructure, Web management and support services on Ubuntu environment in a local setting using local Public IP address and internet connection

from Ethio Telecom, developing Freeswitch based IVR application that runs on Ethio Telecom El line infrastructure, developing Freeswitch based IVR application that runs on Ethio Telecom infrastructure, developing IVR Survey Application that runs on Ethio Telecom El line infrastructure, developing IVR Survey Application that runs on Ethio Telecom other infrastructure, developing SMS Survey Application that runs on Ethio Telecom infrastructure, developing IVR Help Desk Application that runs on Ethio Telecom El and other infrastructure, developing IVR Help Desk Application that runs on Ethio Telecom and other infrastructure, developing SMPP 3.4 based SMS application that is compatible Ethio Telecom infrastructure, developing web application that runs on node.js web server, using Adhearsion telephony platform, using Freeswitch telephony platform, using Ruby programming language, using multi-tiered MySQL Server database, using SMPP 3.4 protocol on Ethio Telecom SMS Center, implementing projects using the following Java frameworks  and technologies: Bootstrap, node.js, require.js, Marionette, Bluebird.js, Sequelize, Coffee Script, and backbone.js and Angular.js. Bidders should have strong experience on the above-detailed services and at least three supporting compliance document and three references required for the provision of this service, Consultants should have excellent communication skills; and excellent knowledge of English language (both spoken and written).

6.2 TEAM

The Project Team shall be comprised of a Project Manager, Application developer, Web and database application developer, System and Database Administrator, and Quality assurance engineer. 

7. Conflict of Interest:

  • Where there is any indication that a conflict of interest exists or may arise, it shall be the responsibility of the Bidder to inform Procuring Entity, detailing the conflict in writing as an attachment to this Bid. A Conflict of Interest is where a person who is involved in the procurement has or may be perceived to have a personal interest in ensuring that a particular Bidder is successful. Actual and potential conflicts of interest must be declared by a person involved in a Bid process.

8. CONDITION UNDER WHICH EOI IS ISSUED:

The EOI is not an offer and is issued with no commitment. The Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency reserves the right to withdraw the EOI and or vary any part thereof at any stage. The Procuring Entity further reserves the right to disqualify any bidder, should it be so necessary at any stage. Timing and sequence of events resulting from this EOI shall ultimately be determined by Procuring Entity. No oral conversations or agreements withany official, agent, or employee of Procuring Entity shall affect or modify any terms of this EOI and any alleged oral agreement or arrangement made by a bidder with any department, agency, official or employee of the Procuring Entity shall be superseded by the definitive agreement that results from this EOI process. All communications between the ATA and the Bidder must be through official letter or email or written communication

9. Last date of submission of EOI:

The last date of submission of EOI is December 24, 2020, at 4:00 PM

The address referred to above is:

Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA)

Senior Operation Director Office, 7th floor

Bole, off Meskel Flower Road /Behind Mega Building,

Sterling Building 7th floor

Tel. +251-115-570678/85 or cell phone +251911646029

Fax +251-115 570668

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Ethiopian Agricultural

Transformation Agency