Annual Program Statement

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No. RTI-APS-18-01


Prospective Applicants


Annual Program Statement

APS Number:



Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth (PSDAG)

Issuance Date:

December 11,2017

Closing Date:

September 30,2018

1.    Overview of Private Sector Driven Agricultural Growth Project

The Rwanda Private Sector Driven Agriculture Growth (PSDAG) project is a 5-Year project funded by USAID Rwanda that started in August 2014. The project is implemented by Research Triangle Institute (RTI). The goal of PSDAG is to increase smallholder farmers’ incomes by promoting private sector investments that contribute to the Government of Rwanda’s (GoR’s) Vision 2020 aim of “transforming agriculture into a market-oriented, competitive, and high-value sector.” PSDAG has two main objectives: 1) Assist the GOR to Increase Private Sector Investment; and 2) Facilitate Increased Private Sector Investment in Upgrading Agricultural Value Chains. The project’s Private Sector Engagement Strategy is based on a facilitative, market systems approach to inclusive agriculture development that catalyzes investment in productivity-enhancing technologies, builds the capacity of partners to grow their businesses and contributes to improved livelihoods and economic opportunities for Rwanda’s farmers.

The PSDAG program is seeking to develop strategic partnerships with the private sector to increase investment in agriculture and to expand economic opportunities for smallholder farmers through more competitive value chain market systems.  PSDAG has prioritized four core value chains: Irish potatoes, beans, maize, and horticulture. PSDAG may support agribusiness in other value chains with commercial potential, such as poultry, dairy, aquaculture, soybean, and floriculture. PSDAG will consider the following aspects when evaluating projects in new value chains(except for tea or coffee):

  • Support development of Feed the Future and GoR priority value chains; 
  • Utilize or pilot innovative technologies and strong business models that can be scaled to support smallholder incomes; 
  • Focus on strategies that integrate women, youth, and Persons with Disabilities (PWD) at any stage of their development; and 

PSDAG will also work on cross-cutting components that have linkages with value chain activities, such as Access to Finance, Communications, and Information Communication Technology. Funding to support the 2018 APS falls under the PSDAG Value Chain Competitiveness Fund (VCCF), a grant fund designed to leverage private sector investment by reducing risk in investing in innovative or new technologies or capacity building. Partners must demonstrate financial commitment to the activities. 

2. Purpose of Annual Program Statement

The purpose of this Annual Program Statement (APS) is to set forth the objectives for the PSDAG project for FY2018 (October 1, 2017 – September 30, 2018) and to solicit interest from eligible organizations, private sector value chain actors, and cooperatives seeking to partner with PSDAG to provide innovative solutions for upgrading the selected value chains.

In Year 4, PSDAG will scale its investment strategy by focusing on locatingfinancial opportunities that are available for prioritized and profitable agriculture investments and aligning technical assistance and other activities to assist private partner’s capacity to attract and leverage these financial opportunities.

Table 1 Potential Areas of Technical Assistance

Technical Assistance

PSDAG Collaboration

Access to Finance

Partners will be supported to become investor-ready for either long-term debt or equity. This activity will both increase the private investment and volumes of loans.

Help private investors identified through MINAGRI and RDB investment units to make strategic investments

  • Co-invest in business development services where there is a strong justification (high value of potential leverage compared to cost of technical assistance).
  • In partnership with investment funds, provide up-front technical assistance to prepare company for interested investors.
  • Help private investors identified through MINAGRI and RDB investment units to make strategic investments.

New Market Identification

PSDAG will provide partners with information on new markets market opportunities

  • Co-invest in market information tours and/or trade conferences.
  • Co-invest in bringing buyers or investors to Rwanda where it is more effective for investor forums where there is a strong market justification.

Quality Standards and Food Safety:

  • Help companies complete an initial review and prepare for certifications or upgrades to improve food safety (e.g., Aflatoxin testing)
  • Design specifications for upgrades (including infrastructure, systems, and traceability), where the private sector is committed to making investments in the upgrades
  • Limited cost share on certification costs
  • Disseminate tools and materials developed for regional quality standards

3.          Applications

To receive a grant, applicants must respond to a Request for Application (RFA). Grant funding is very limited and awards are anticipated to be small, (<$25,000 USD) and awarded as in-kind services to successful applicants. In FY2018, PSDAG will prioritizeapplications that support technical assistance aligned with the areas identified in Table 1. Applications submitted that do not align with the areas identified above or unsolicited applications may be considered by RTI subject to available funding.

Table 2 Partnership Mechanism and Timeframe



In-Kind Services Grant


PSDAG will competitively award grants to successful applicants per the terms of the RFA.

RTI-RFA-18-01 is included as Annex 1 to the APS and is immediately available for applications. See terms and instructions on applying as detailed in the RFA. Interested applicants can request the full RFA and application template by sending an email to: Applications are generally reviewed on a monthly rolling basis and are subject to the availability of funds. PSDAG may choose to release additional RFAs at a later date.


Awards are anticipated to be made in-kind to successful applicants, with PSDAG procuring services on behalf of partners.

PSDAG encourages business models that:

  • Have high private investment potential.
  • Have clearly defined and quantified a verifiable market / buyer opportunity;
  • Improve linkages between value chain stakeholders (agro-input suppliers, producers, aggregators/traders, commercial buyers, and logistics/transport companies);
  • Utilize investment in technology to provide stakeholders improved access to goods and services, improve quality of goods and services, and / or improve productivity;
  • Provide platforms of scale to reach large numbers of small holder farmers;
  • Improve farm gate and agribusiness sales and income;
  • Increase access to clean energy for agriculture;
  • Support greater participation of women, youth, and persons with disabilities.

Examples of goods and services that may be funded include but are not limited to: training activities; technical assistance through expert consultancies;export facilitation; association/cooperative development; international standard certifications; product and model development for Financial Institutions; design and analysis support for investment in sustainable ICT solutions (ex. management information systems (MIS), work flow and communications platforms, mobile payment, etc.); and educational outreach campaigns concerning agri-business. Please note that PSDAG will procure the services, such as for business development services, under separate Request for Proposals, which will be issued as needed.

Examples of goods and services that are NOT funded by the VCCF: ongoing operational expenses such as salaries, rent, and utilities; seed, pesticides, fertilizer, and other agricultural commodities; land purchase or land rehabilitation; direct provision of inputs; direct provision of extension services; construction or rehabilitation of roads; any form of construction of buildings; procurement of vehicles, including motorcycles; provision of funds for on-lending; individual scholarships; pharmaceuticals; alcohol or other luxury goods; used goods of any type.

Private Sector Leverage: The applicant will be expected to contribute a minimum cost-share for the proposed activity. Cost-share requirements will vary on a case by case basis, but generally a minimum of 50% is expected. In certain cases, some goods and services ineligible for direct funding under the VCCF could be considered as part of the applicant’s cost share requirement. All projects related to the cost-sharing grant must have quantifiable goals and results that can be measured and reported.

4.          Minimum Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible and competitive, partners must meet the requirements outlined in each individual RFA. In addition, partners must meet the following minimum eligibility requirements:

  1. Submit an application in response to a RFA with required documents according to instructions contained in the RFA.
  2. Be a U.S. or Rwandan nongovernmental organization that is legally registered and recognized under the relevant country laws. Types of entities are:
    • Private enterprises or firms;
    • Agricultural based associations and cooperatives;
    • NGOs (non-profit);
    • Foundations, research institutes and universities;and
    • Legally-organized associations/syndications of the above organizations.
  3. Demonstrate that the proposed investments contribute to PSDAG’s Objective 1 or 2 results and the specific objectives of the RFA.
  4. Demonstrate ability to provide adequate cost-sharing of new project investment.

Ineligible organizations and individuals include:

  • Non-U.S. international organizations;
  • Individuals
  • Organizations that are not legally registered under applicable regulations
  • Any public international organization (PIO);
  • Government entities and employees;
  • Political parties, groupings, or institutions or their subsidiaries and affiliates; and
  • Organizations and individuals that advocate, espouse, or promote anti-democratic policies or illegal activities.

5.          Number and Amount of Awards

Subject to the availability of funds, PSDAG intends to award grants to fund eligible.Any awards resulting from this APS are expected to be in the range of USD$3,000-$25,000. Awards for amounts greater than USD $25,000 and/or greater than 1 year, will be considered on a case by case basis. The total value of funds available is not expected to be more than $150,000 USD and may be subject to changes in availability of funding.

6.          Types of Awards

The type of award will be determined by PSDAG based on the nature of the activity, the value of proposed activities, and the applicant’s administrative and financial systems, and internal reporting requirements.

A Grant refers a mechanism used to transfer funds (or other valuables) from USAID PSDAG to a partner for the implementation of programs that contribute to PSDAG’s goals and objectives. If a grant is awarded, PSDAG may consider one of four different grant mechanisms: standard, simplified, fixed amount award, or in-kind grants.It anticipated that Year 4 activities under the 2018 APS will be funded under VCCF grants and mainly in-kind services grants, whereby PSDAG procures the services on behalf of the partner.    

A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is an agreement between PSDAG and its partner to each complete (and fund) specific activities that contribute to PSDAG’s goals and objectives. Under MOUs, no funds (or other valuables) are transferred from PSDAG to its partner. However, PSDAG may offer to provide technical assistance under an MOU to help its partners achieve their goals. It is not likely, but possible that PSDAG may choose an MOU instead of a grant award to support its 2018 APS partnerships.

7.          Request for Application and Grant Award Process

The PSDAG project team will receive and review GrantApplications submitted in response to this APS and attached RFAson a rolling basis beginning with the release until the closing date listed on each RFA. The process for reviewing Grant Applications is as follows:

  1. A Grant Application that follows the requirements laid out in the RFA can be submitted to the PSDAG office by the potential grantee for an initial review of the minimum eligibility criteria noted in the RFA (electronically or hard copy).
  2. A PSDAG Grant Evaluation Committee will review and evaluate applications.
  3. PSDAG staff may conduct site visits, interviews and evaluations to determine further eligibility to receive a grant. Reviews include environmental impact of the grant project and financial management capability of the organization, among other criteria.
  4. Once all reviews are completed, PSDAG submits the proposed grant scope and budget to USAID for final award determination.
  5. Whether approved or not approved, the applicant will receive written confirmation of the result from the PSDAG Grants Evaluation Committee.
  6. Approved grantees will sign a Grant Agreement to receive the award. PSDAG staff will then begin to work with the grantee to implement and monitor all activities.

Please refer to each specific RFA for Grant Application instructions.

Note, an applicant may choose to not request grant funding but rather suggest an MOU. The process and application for applying is the same but the partnership will be formalized under an MOU, not a grant.  Partners that are ineligible organizations and individuals (see Section 4 Minimum Eligibility Requirements) may be eligible for an MOU.

8.          Project Performance Indicators

PSDAG will track the following results indicators as headline measures ofits performance.  All partnerswill be expected to advance some or all of these resultsindicators. In addition, all awards will be expected to actively monitor and report on the results of indicators relevant to their project.

  • Value of gross farm incomes of assisted farmers;
  • Value of new private sector capital investment in the agriculture sector or food chain;
  • Value of exports of targeted agricultural commodities;
  • Value of domestic sales of value-added agricultural products;
  • Value of incremental sales (collected at farm-level);
  • Number of beneficiaries with new market linkages;
  • Number of farmers, private enterprises, and others that applied improved technologies or management practices;
  • Number of hectares under improved technologies and management practices;
  • Number of MSMEs, including farmers, receiving USG assistance to access loans;
  • Value of Agricultural and Rural Loans’
  • Number of MSMEs receiving business development services.
  • Number of full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs created with USG assistance
  • Number of persons trained by PSDAG to promote investment in agriculture
  • Number of institutions including public agencies and financial institutions receiving PSDAG technical assistance to promote investment in agricultural sector
  • Number of persons trained with USG assistance to advance outcomes consistent with gender equality or female empowerment through their roles in public or private sector institutions or organizations

It is to be emphasized that any activity that PSDAG will fund must have a concrete, realistic expectation that it will create impact over time. For example, if support for the expansion ofthe productioncapacitiesofabusinessisproposed–for examplebyprovidingagrantforadditionalequipment– the applicant for PSDAG funding must clearly demonstrate that thecapacity expansionrespondstoaclearunfilleddemandinthemarketforthecompany’sproducts.Or,ifan applicant proposes to provide skills training to unemployed persons, it must be clearlydemonstrated that market demand exists for these skills, so that upon completion of training participants arehighly likely to be hired.