GEF UNEP ILM India Project: Baseline of Community Managed Natural Farming (CNF) crop production practices by new target smallholders in Andhra Pradesh (AP), and cost-benefit analysis of their CNF practice adoption.


Summary Information

·       Department: GEF Project India

·       Location(s): Andhra Pradesh, India

·       Commitment: 90 Days

·       Desired start date and duration: September 2023 to November 2023

·       Under direction of: Senior Project Manager

This ToR pertains to the RA-led GEF UNEP ILM India project “Transforming agricultural systems and strengthening local economies in high biodiversity areas of India through sustainable landscape management and public-private finance”. It requires the assessment of the following baseline (reference) values of two types: The first entails assessing the degree to which the project´s new, target smallholder farmers in the project landscape in AP apply CNF crop management practices. The second entails assessing the cost-benefit of those smallholder farmers considered in the first analysis and dividing them into two groups for the project landscape in AP: Those not applying any (or applying just a few of) CNF practices, and those applying at least 50% CNF practices.


Consultancy Summary

About the Rainforest Alliance

Rainforest Alliance, a New York-based 501(c)3, and UTZ, an Amsterdam-based foundation, merged in 2018. Together, the new Rainforest Alliance is now a $70 million per year organization with offices in 17 countries (and growing) and over 5000 staff. The merged organization has two main offices—one in Amsterdam and one in New York City.


The Rainforest Alliance is creating a more sustainable world by using social and market forces to protect nature and improve the lives of farmers and forest communities.


We work towards making responsible business the new normal through our certification program, tailored supply chain services, landscape and community work and advocacy. 



AP                    : Andhra Pradesh

APCNF             : Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming

GEF                  : Global Environment Facility

RySS                 : Rythu Sadhikara Samstha

ILM                   : Integrated Landscape Management

KA                    : Karnataka

RA                    : Rainforest Alliance

RA SAS             : Rainforest Alliance Sustainable Agriculture Standard

SLM                  : Sustainable Land Management

TOR                  : Terms of Reference

UNEP                : United Nations Environment Programme

Project Overview

The project seeks to address two critical challenges that have a negative impact on India’s environmental health and the well-being of its people: land degradation and the loss of biodiversity. Land degradation, defined as the deterioration or loss of the productive capacity of the soil, leads to food insecurity, higher food prices, climate change, environmental hazards, and the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. It is estimated that 27.77% of India’s total geographical area has been degraded as of 2015-16. Biological diversity underpins the ecosystem goods and services that sustain human societies and generates considerable socio-economic value through the provision of goods such as food, water, and services such as climate regulation, pollination, disaster protection, and nutrient cycling. The Government of India is a signatory to all the major biodiversity and land degradation treaties and conventions. It is committed to restoring twenty-six million hectares of degraded land by 2030, including through sustainable agriculture. The project aims at enabling sustainable agricultural production systems, participatory land use management, and responsible supply chains to reverse the process of land degradation and conserve biodiversity. In addition to building the skills and knowledge of small farmers, it will harness policy development, market demand, and public-private investment to make sustainable land management (SLM) economically viable. At the farm level, there are two main SLM practices endorsed under this project: The first is based on the RA-SAS in Karnataka (KA). The second is based on the Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming (APCNF).


This consultancy is focused on the project´s aim to promote the adoption of APCNF in AP, where the project aims to technically support 7,00,000 farmers, so that, at the end of the project, they apply at least 50% of the APCNF´s practices Core Requirements, and at least 80% of those that do so find practice adoption profitable (i.e., have a positive benefit-cost).


Please note that Rythu Sadhikara Samstha (RySS); a partner executing organization to this project, established in 2014 under Section 8 of the Companies Act, is a not-for-profit organization that steers farmers away from chemical farming and toward adopting natural farming practices. RySS is implementing APCNF across the state. APCNF is farmer-centric, follows farmer-to- farmer extension system, and is driven by their innovations. RySS’s vision is to saturate AP through APCNF by 2030-31. The Government of Andhra Pradesh has adopted Natural Farming as it is environment friendly and enhances climate change resilience, soil organic matter, soil fertility, water holding capacity of soils, and enhances biodiversity (above ground and below ground).

Main Objectives

Consultancy Objective

There are two basic objectives of this survey, the first entails assessing the degree to which the project´s new, target smallholder farmers in the project landscape in AP apply CNF crop management practices and the second entails assessing the cost-benefit of those smallholder farmers considered in the first analysis and dividing them into two groups for the project landscape in AP: Those not applying any (or applying just a few of) CNF practices; the chemical farmers and those applying at least 50% CNF practices. In line with these objectives, the baseline analysis needs to yield the following for new project target smallholders (farmers) in the project landscape in A.P.

a.  Area of landscapes under CNF crop production systems.

b.  Number of Hectares of farmland in AP project landscapes applying CNF to conserve biodiversity and reverse land degradation, including 365 days soil cover system.

c.  Number of smallholder farmers and farm workers applying CNF agriculture practices in A.P. project landscape (gender and youth disaggregated).

d.  Baseline cost-benefit analysis of new (without project intervention) project target smallholders in AP not applying any (or applying just a few of) CNF practices and

e.  Baseline cost-benefit analysis of new (with project intervention) project target smallholders in AP applying at least 50% of CNF practices.

f.   Information obtained from smallholders will provide insights into the degree to which smallholders in AP are likely to find it attractive to apply CNF practices from the financial point of view.


a.  This study compares the treatment farmers with the control farmers.

b. RA will co-develop a methodology for selecting 400 treatment farmers and 400 control farmers as suggested below in the sampling design.

c. The indicative list of practices is 365 days green cover, application of Azolla, beejamrutham, bio-culture and mechanical pest control, border crops, botanical extracts or kashayams, clipping leaf tips, dhravajeevamrutham, ghanajeevamrutham, inter/mixed/poly crops, mulching, natural growth promotors, pre-monsoon dry sowing (PMDS), rabi dry sowing (RDS), trap crops, minimum tillage, bird perches, pheromone traps, yellow and white sticky plates, bund crops, farmyard manure (FYM). This indicative list of practices is based on the nine key principles of APCNF; cover the soil with crops 365 days, minimal disturbance of soil, use biostimulants as necessary catalysts, diverse crops, including 15-20 various crops in the same land, integrate animals into farming, increase the diversity of organic residues, pest management through better agronomic practices and botanical extract.

d. The proposed methodology categorizes the APCNF practices into different sets or buckets where the first set of practices is the non-negotiable set of practices.

e.  Treatment farmers are those practicing at least two additional sets of practices in addition to the 1st set of non-negotiable practices, in other words, 50% of the practices.

f.    A sample representation of the proposed methodology is provided in the table below, which can be modified through mutual discussion before the survey begins.

g.   Control farmers are those who are using chemicals.

h.   The existing list of natural farmers for the project landscape available with RySS can be utilized to sample farmers using the appropriate methodology.

i.    The benefits derived by farm workers from cultivating kitchen gardens need to be documented. Farm workers refer to those individuals who do not cultivate any crops on their own land or leased land. These farm workers would be growing kitchen gardens in their backyards, and it is important to capture the health/nutritional benefits they obtain from consuming their own produce.

j.    In addition to the agricultural income derived from their land, and value addition of the produce should be captured for the farmers. Furthermore, it is important to document the benefits obtained from operating Natural farming input shops and running other enterprises.

k.   The study is intended to cover Kharif, Rabi, and summer crops to capture the annual incomes of the farmers.

l.   During the survey, an additional 50 farmers may be selected for a more detailed study. And specific questions will be added to capture the farmer’s relationship with forests, biodiversity, and common lands in their vicinity. The survey will also include questions to gather information about the farmer’s use of common lands, forests, and water resources beyond their private lands. In addition to cost and yields, the survey will focus on capturing benefits such as improved soil health, improved biodiversity, enhanced resilience, improved health, and water conservation. To facilitate comparison during the mid-term and end-term, a table will be incorporated into the questionnaire to document these factors.


Sampling design: The sampling unit is the Gram Panchayat (GP). A treatment sample of 400 would provide sufficient data at a 95% confidence level. It is also recommended to maintain a sample size of 400 for the control farmers.

a. A total of 400 treatment farmers and 400 control farmers will be selected and surveyed in and around the Gram Panchayats of identified eight micro-landscapes spread across 10 Gram Panchayats across 5 districts of Andhra Pradesh. The precise list of micro-landscapes will be shared with the selected agency.

b. The treatment farmers will be exclusively selected from the Gram Panchayats of the eight micro-landscapes. The random selection of farmers within each Gram Panchayat will be conducted proportionally based on the number of farmers in each Gram Panchayat.

c. Out of the 400-control group, 200 farmers will be selected from the micro-landscapes, and the remaining 200 farmers will be selected from 10 Gram Panchayats adjacent to the micro-landscapes, preferably within a 10 km radius. The control group consists of farmers practicing chemical farming. The selected Gram Panchayats should be similar to the Gram Panchayats in the micro-landscapes Gram Panchayats, but they should not be APCNF villages (preferably where APCNF has not been implemented), and they should not have any field operations or field cadre. The number of Gram Panchayats outside the micro-landscapes will be maintained at 10, as the micro-landscapes are spread across 10 Gram Panchayats.


Contractor Services at a minimum, must include:

Place, Level of Effort, and Duration (# of calendar days)

The geographic scope of the survey is the GEF project landscape in AP. Map and details will be provided to the selected agency. The consultancy will require an LOE of no more than 90 calendar days after the contract is signed, including preparation and submission of all Deliverables listed below.



Expected Outputs

a.  The selected agency will design questionnaires for the survey of practices and the survey of cost-benefit in consultation with Rainforest Alliance and RySS and use a free, open-source tool for mobile data collection.

b.    Farmer-wise detailed database on the survey of practices and cost-benefit.

c.    Detailed analysis report based on the survey of practices.

d.    Estimate production costs, revenues, and profits crop-wise and Plot wise (if possible).

Two to three main crops may be considered in case the farmer is cultivating multiple crops for estimation of costs and revenues. Sold volume must be considered separately along with consumed volume if any. The value of the production can be maintained separately.

e.  The selected agency is expected to build “synthetic” (average/ representative) budgets and assess profitability from 100% of smallholder data obtained from the surveyed smallholders for the project landscape in AP.

   i. Profitability for project landscape for new project target smallholders in AP not applying any (or applying just a few of) CNF practices.

      ii. profitability for project landscape for new project target smallholders in AP applying at least 50% of CNF practices.

f. The selected agency is expected to produce a 10-year time discounted cash flow scenarios and profitability indicators as described above. Small holders’ time discounted rate to be used in 12%. It should also be assumed that current smallholder farmer yields will increase at a to-be-decided (TBD) annual rate for smallholders in scenario ii. above.  

g. The selected agency is expected to produce a graph for all the scenarios described above.

General terms and conditions for Request for proposal

The peer review process, supervision, and RA support

1.     RA’s Senior Technical Associate and Associate MEL in AP will supervise the consultancy.

2.     RA will evaluate the quality of each Deliverable described, above, including the databases, before payment for that Deliverable. The consultant must make sure that the collected information is complete and valid, before delivery to RA.

3.     RA will review each Deliverable and will provide feedback within three working days after submission.

4.     The consultant will integrate the feedback and deliver the adjusted Deliverable within three working days, so that payment can be made ASAP.

5.     Support to be and not to be provided by RA.

  • RA will jointly develop the survey questionnaires for the farmer practices and cost-benefit survey.

  • RA will provide coordination support for interaction with relevant stakeholders in AP.

  • RA will not finance any additional cost apart from the cost mentioned in the contract.

  • RA will not provide day-to-day coordination support in the field for the application of any of the two surveys.


Budget and Payments Schedule

The consultant will be paid against delivery and acceptance by the contracting party of each deliverable mentioned in the Deliverables and Timeline section of the ToR. Subject to receipt and approval by RA of the respective reports, the payment can be released based on the following milestones.


Selection Criteria

Required qualifications and grading criteria.

Proposal Process and Format

The letter of interest, technical, and financial proposal should be sent by email to Aniruddha Brahmachari at copy to Dushasana Mahanta at, Vinuthna Patibandla at and Kishore Kumar Illa at, with the subject line “GEF UNEP ILM India Baseline Survey of Andhra Pradesh Community Managed Natural Farming (APCNF)  farmer practices and cost-benefit in Andhra Pradesh (AP) ”, by 7th August 2023. (IST).


* In addition to submission over email, please upload the application with the details mentioned above by following the application link.


Any questions and clarifications related to the assessment should be sent to the email mentioned above.


Thank you for your interest in working with The Rainforest Alliance

Apply for position now

Please find below a link to our Data Privacy Policy View Privacy Policy