Terms of Reference for Assessment of the Impact of COVID-19 on smallholder food producers and their food systems in Omoro, Adjumani, Apac, Soroti, Amuria and Nebbi District

Background about Oxfam in Uganda

Oxfam in Uganda is part of the Oxfam confederation, aligning with Oxfam NOVIB as the Oxfam Affiliate. Oxfam started its work in Uganda in 1960's, mainly to reduce poverty and inequality, enabling people's voices to be heard and respected, and respond to emergency to save human lives. We work with governments, communities, civil society, non -governmental organizations and private sector partners to positively impact on the lives of people in Uganda particularly women, youth, and vulnerable communities. We also work with international development actors and Oxfam Affiliates world over to support our actions.

Oxfam’s Vision is A Uganda free of inequality and Injustice: A society where people, particularly women and young people, claim and exercise their rights and responsibilities, and influence decisions that affect their lives. This is guided by the Country strategy 2020-2030 which is anchored on four thematic areas, which aim to promote good Governance and accountability, Resilient livelihoods, Humanitarian preparedness and response as well as Women rights.

About the SEEDS GROW II Project

SEEDS GROW project is a dual program comprising of (2) projects namely SD=HS and GROW. It is being funded by SIDA and its overall goal is to contribute to global food system that is just and sustainable, that supports the rights of small scale food producers - men and women, that guarantees food and nutrition security and that promotes the sustainable management of natural resources and biodiversity within the context of a changing climate.

SEEDS GROW II addresses three main challenges

  1. The sustainable production challenge: enough food must be produced to feed 9 billion people by 2050, while staying within planetary boundaries (SDGs 2; 6; 12; 13; 14; 15).
  2. The resilience challenge: women and men who are most vulnerable must be empowered to adapt to climate change and be compensated for loss and damage it causes (SDGs; 1; 2; 13; 15).
  3. The equity challenge: wealth and power need to be rebalanced in food value chains so women and men living in poverty are (equally) empowered to claim their rights to grow or buy sufficient nutritious food (SDGs 1; 5; 8; 10).

Sowing Diversity Equals Harvesting Security (SD=HS) components aims at ensuring that small-holder farmers – men, women and youth - enjoy their Farmers’ Rights and have the capacity to access, develop and use plant genetic resources to improve their food and nutrition security under conditions of climate change, and the GROW component

To contribute to a diverse and active movement for food justice across the world and to ensures women small scale food producers and their communities benefit more from local, national and global public and private sector policies that ensure their food security and that protect and promote their prosperity and resilience.

Farmers particularly small-scale farmers adaptive, absorptive and transformative capacities fluctuates from time to time. This category of farmers confront many challenges with the recent being COVID-19. Implementation of SEEDS GROW in Uganda are being done by Oxfam in Uganda, PELUM Uganda, ESAFF Uganda in addition to IIRR, CEFORD and CIDI who work directly with PELUM on activity based arrangements. Farmers capacities are being enhanced using Farmer Field School Methodology to do participatory plant breeding, establish community seeds banks and at the same time influence policies to promote realization of farmers right so that they can sustainably access, develop and used genetic materials of diverse types in the context of climate change.

The problem

During these challenging situations such as the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many sectors including agriculture suffered huge burdens. Although agriculture, particularly production continued to operate during the lockdown periods it hardly got complimentary support from other sectors due to breakdown in the food chains. Despite this, small-scale farmers explored locally available opportunities to cope. This study is intended to understand how COVID-19 impacted and/or is impacting smallholder food producers and their food systems with particular focus on ;

  1. How the local seeds commonly known as farmers varieties and local food plants (both wild and domesticated supports agriculture and their food systems during crisis and how farmers cope.
  2. Factors that contributed to food systems resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic

The product(s) of this study (policy briefs, reports etc) will be used to contribute to;

  1. Development of a national guideline on registration of farmers varieties
  2. Contents of the East Variety Protection law being developed
  3. Regulatory Impact Assessment reports of the National Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture Policy

Project Scope

The project is being implemented in 6 districts (Omoro, Adjumani, Apac, Soroti, Amuria and Gulu) in the greater Northern Uganda and will run from 2019 – 2021.

Project Results


1. SD=HS

Objective: The overall objective of the SD=HS programme is that smallholder farmers enjoy their Farmers’ Rights and have the capacity to access, develop and use plant genetic resources to improve their food and nutrition security under conditions of climate change.

Target Outcomes:

  1. Resilient farming communities are better able to access and sustainably use and maintain plant genetic resources for food and nutrition security, climate change adaptation and disaster management
  2. Smallholder farmers enhance their livelihoods, income and seed security though improved production and market access to high-quality seeds of diverse crops and varieties adapted to farmers’ needs and preferences
  3. Strengthen coping strategies of communities by increasing the intake of nutritious food based on local biodiversity and improved management of neglected and underutilized species (NUS)
  4. Policy makers and other stakeholders support an enabling policy and institutional environment for farmers’ seed systems and the implementation of Farmers’ Rights


Objective: To contribute to a diverse and active movement for food justice across the world and to ensure women small-scale food producers and their communities benefit more from local, national and global public and private sector policies that ensure their food security and that protect and promote their prosperity and resilience.

Target Outcomes:

  1. Globally and nationally operating food companies share power and wealth more equally in their supply chains, contributing to a poverty-free food system
  2. Public and private financial sector actors prioritize projects that support women small-scale food producers and their communities, that respect land rights and that are aligned with the goals of the Paris Agreement
  3. Governments address the needs of women small-scale food producers and their communities, particularly those affected by climate change, through pro-poor climate adaptation plans, finance for irreversible loss and damage as result of climate change, and secure and equitable land rights

Purpose of the study

The purpose of this study is to understand the impact of COVID-19 on small-scale farmers and their food systems, ascertain the contribution of the local food plants and farmers varieties in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic and identify other factors that contributed to food systems resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic. The results from the study will present the impact of the COVID-19 on small-scale farmers food security but will also contribute to securing food security and sovereignty as well as development of strategies to mitigate the negative impacts of COVID-19 on food security and sovereignty. Oxfam in Uganda believes that the results of the study will guide government in redesigning programs like Community-Driven Development (CDD) program, the Youth livelihood Fund (YLF), Uganda Women Entrepreneurship Programme (UWEP), the Operation Wealth Creation project (OWC) and the Agriculture Insurance Scheme (UAIS) among others to align with the impact of COVID-19 to small-scale farmers who are the majority beneficiaries of the programs. Although the impact of COVID-19 on short and long-term food security is difficult to predict, this study will try to predict this impact.

Objectives of the study

  • To examine the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on small scale food producers and their food systems
  • To examine the complimentary support provided by other sectors to facilitate farmers food security
  • To assess how the farmers seeds systems coped or are coping with the crisis- COVID-19
  • To measure the contributions of local food plants and farmers varieties to households and community food security during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • To analyze the extent of responsiveness of the National Seeds Policy to Covid-19 pandemic and other possible crises

Scope of Work

The study will be focusing on impact of COVID-19 regarding dimensions of the food systems of farmers . Areas of focus will include production, seeds exchange, food preservation, food markets, seed sources and physical structures/infrastructures (community owned, government or private owned) in place.

The following are important questions to be answered by the study:

  1. To what extent have COVID-19 affected small-scale producers food security?
  2. Is the farmer food system resilient enough to withstand the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and other crisis, and what have been the role of seeds in this?
  3. To what extent have local food plants that are wild and domesticated supported farming communities during the COVID -19 pandemic?
  4. How responsive have been the National Seeds Policy to farmers seeds demands during COVID-19 pandemic?
  5. Are there food systems infrastructures in place that can be used to respond to food insecurity?

Stake holders

The study will involve small holder farmers, district agriculture technical teams, and the partners who are implementing and/or supporting this project.

Scope of the study

The study is to be conducted in the 6 districts of Omoro, Adjumani, Apac, Soroti, Amuria and Gulu and the unit of analysis will farmers involved in the project. The time scope for the study will be the time (January 2019 ) the project started to date. This will enable an examination and comparison of the situation before and after the outbreak COVID-19 The technical aspects will be aspects specified in the study objectives and research questions in the previous sections.

Study Methodology

This section should outline how the assignment will be conducted. It will articulate the potential research design and approaches to apply and include justification for the design.

The methods should be sensitive to the target population (unit of analysis), and robust enough to provide adequate responses to the stated study questions/research hypotheses in the prevailing context. Overall, the methodology section should cover details of study design and approaches, sampling, sample size determination, data collection methods/instruments, data analysis techniques, plan for dissemination of study findings and a statement on quality assurance and ethical considerations during the study. Overall, the section should outline how the study will be conducted. The expected approach should be described in enough detail to ensure that the study can easily be replicated by any other researcher in case of need.

Study Outputs/Deliverables

  1. A detailed inception report detailing a clear methodology, data collection tools to be used and a feasible work plan for the evaluation.
  2. Participation in Inception meeting to discuss the methodology, tools and agree on the final data collection work plans.
  3. Submission of final set of tools and enumerator training materials (agenda, tools protocols, trainers guide etc.);
  4. Submission of raw data sets – both quantitative and qualitative interviews.
  5. Field Debriefing Report 3 days after field data collection to discuss field experiences related to data collection.
  6. Draft evaluation report in English to be presented to OXFAM (no more than 30 pages excluding annexes, including executive summary not exceeding 2 pages); using the structure set out below should be submitted to stakeholders at the field level and Kampala.
  7. Interactive meetings between consultant(s) with OXFAM and members of the Consortium;
  8. Workshop to present the draft report (including the findings of the evaluation and the lessons learned), and to give feedback to OXFAM and partners;
  9. Submit a draft electronic copy of the final evaluation report within three (3) days after receipt of formal feedback from the OXFAM arising from the workshop that will discuss the draft report (see point g above) Feedback from OXFAM will be provided in writing by e-mail within one (1) week after the submission of the draft electronic copy referred to above. Three hard copies (03) of the Final Project Evaluation Report and a soft copy including the datasets of collected /cleaned data in excel format.

Note: All clean dataset(s), transcriptions and other study materials MUST be handed over to Oxfam in Uganda at the end of the study.

List the report specifications (table of content) like standard cover sheet; executive summary; description of objectives, methods, and limitations; study findings, conclusions and recommendations.

  • Cover page
  • Table of table of content page
  • Executive summary (not exceeding 2 pages)
  • Introduction
  • Description of context, study purpose and objectives, and scope
  • Study methodology and limitations
  • Study findings
  • Conclusions and recommendations
  • References
  • Annexes

Note: Summary reports should also be prepared and packaged in respect to the intended audience.

Timeframe and estimated working days

The assignment will be undertaken from 15th September to 27th October lasting a total of 32 working days from the date of signing the contract.

Submission of the applications by consultants: 9th September 2020

Evaluation and selection of the consultant: 10th – 11th September 2020

Consultant to sign contract for the assignment: 15th  September 2020

Review of documents and development of the inception report and study instruments: 16th – 18th September 2020 

Presentation of Inception report and data collection tools: 21st September 2020

Training of Research Assistants: 22nd -24th September 2020

Primary data collection (field work): 25th September- 5th October 2020

Data analysis and report writing: 6th – 15th October 2020

Submission of the draft study report to Oxfam in Uganda: 16th October 2020  

Review by Oxfam team: 19th – 21st  October 2020

Incorporating comments on draft report: 22nd -23rd October 2020

Submission of the final project study report to Oxfam in Uganda: 26th October 2020    

Presentation of study findings/ sharing feedback on report: 27th October 2020

Qualification and experience of the consultant/team

The Evaluator is expected to have the following expertise and qualification:

  • At least Master’s degree in a relevant field of agricultural extension, crop science, agricultural economics/agribusiness, agroecology and project management
  • Knowledge and experience in gender and women rights issues
  • Significant development work experiences and knowledge and skills in research
  • Excellent analytical written and verbal communication skills in English

Proposal Study Criteria

The technical proposal will be evaluated based on the Quality Cost-Based Selection (QCBS) Criteria:

  1. The individual general reliability as well as experience and capacity in the carrying out the assignment (30%)
  2. The approach in responding to the TOR and detailed work Oxfam in Uganda (40%)
  3. The qualifications and competencies of the proposed personnel for the assignment (30%)

Proposals obtaining more than 70% of the technical points will be considered technically suitable and qualify for financial assessment.

Supervision/management of the assignment

consultant will work closely with the Seed Right Coordinator who was designated for this project with support from the Programme Quality and Learning Coordinator. This will involve tracking progress using both formal and informal means of communication. The Seed Right Coordinator and Resilience & Climate Change Coordinator will provide all the necessary information about the projects as requested by the consultant to support the process but also follow-up on completion of any internal processes. program Quality Coordinator will support in the process assessment, reviewing of inception report and tools as well as advice on M&E technical issues. The process will be guided by an agreed upon activity work plan and list of deliverables to ensure adherence to deadlines and outputs. While in the field, the consultant will work closely with partners who are based in the selected districts. All compliance and contractual requirements will be clearly stipulated in the Contract.


The consultant will be paid 100% upon submission and approval of final report and any agreed upon products of the study. The technical fees will be subjected to 6% withholding Tax. 

Submission of Technical and Financial Proposal

Interested applicants are expected to submit the following not later than 9th September 2020;

  1. A technical proposal highlighting the interpretation of the TOR, proposed methodology, as well as study framework and plan
  2. Afinancial Proposal providing cost estimate for services to be rendered including consultancy fees, transport, accommodation and living costs, stationeries and supplies needed for data collection etc

Send your proposal with a subject labelled “COVID-19 impacts on smallholder food producers and their food systems” to ugandalogistics@oxfam.org by 17:00hrs 9th September 2020.