Summary Information

·      Department: Regions, Asia Pacific (India), Rainforest Alliance

·      Location(s): Eight districts in upper Assam, India (list included below)

·      Commitment: NA

·      Desired start date and duration:  1 October 2022 for 12 weeks

·      Under direction of: Manager Sustainable Agriculture, South Asia

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.


In India, the Rainforest Alliance started its mission in 2007 with its certification program in tea plantations in North Bengal and Assam in the North-east, and in the tea-planting districts of Tamil Nadu and Kerala in the South. We, currently, have 305 certified producers spread over 238,000 hectares in India distributed across tea, coffee, spice and fruit plantations that strive to use responsible production practices. We have collaborated with more than 150 Certificate Holders (CHs) in Assam to produce tea in a more sustainable way. Majority of our members are large estates with our limited engagement in the small tea grower (STG) segment. Our India operation is managed through our subsidiary, UTZ India Private Limited. 


In Assam, traditionally, large tea plantations (tea estates) are the main producers and processors of tea (green leaf to made tea, i.e., loose, fermented, dried tea).  The number of workers in tea plantations has risen in recent years to more than 6 million today, of whom slightly less than half are employed as seasonal workers.  Poor social and environmental conditions on tea plantations and in some cases on small farms are a great challenge.  Women, in particular, are the main victims of this and fare worse in social and economic indicators than their male counterparts. These include lack of access to sanitation, water, housing and health services, and insufficient protection in the use of pesticides. In addition, there is a high level of economic and social dependence on the employer due to lack of alternative sources of income. The Indian government, and especially the government of Assam, is increasingly supporting small tea growers (STGs) to enter the tea production and to convert old tea plantations into a new, smaller-scale use.  The 30,600 STGs in Assam in 2000 have more than doubled to 84,500 by 2016. The STGs have been growing substantially (ranges from 48%-50% during 2019-2021) and their produce is finding its way into the blends of major buyers. But this results in challenges in consistent quality, investment, cultivation practices, especially the use of pesticides and chemical fertilizers, quality in harvesting and post-harvest processes, loss of value added due to the elimination of processing stages and the low market power of individual farmers compared to large tea plantations.   

The Rainforest Alliance, through its strategic program, is aiming to transform the tea sector in Assam. The program intends to create impact in the sector to address systemic challenges through four major pathways, including creating a climate-smart, highly productive, and high value tea sector, improving livelihoods and living conditions of the plantation communities, increased access to finance for producers for adopting sustainable practices and creating a strong enabling environment through stakeholders’ engagement. As part of this strategic initiative, the Rainforest Alliance is conducting a situational assessment focusing on smallholders, estates and plantation workers. This study will help identify target groups, implementation areas and design detailed project plans. 

Main Objectives

The specific objective of this assignment is as follows: 


  • To identify key regions for RA’s strategic program implementation (plantations and STGs) in Assam. The consultant will engage with primary and secondary stakeholders and sample Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs) from the landscape.
  • To conduct a primary survey of the identified key stakeholders and target groups and associated intermediary institutions/ organisations stakeholders with the aim of understanding the key challenges in the sector.
  • To establish a baseline in the tea sector in the region that should enable RA to assess the impact of the RA’s strategic program over a period.


Contractor Services at a minimum, must include:

1.    The firm should have a minimum of 5 years of experience working in the field

2.    The firm should have prior experience in conducting similar work (at least 3)

3.    The firm should have a competent team and adequate resources available to undertake the study.



Task I: Concept Development 

Develop an inception report with methodology and timeline for completing the assignment. It should cover the following:  


  • Desk-based situational analysis to review the existing policies and institutional mechanisms in Assam, including mapping of key stakeholders influencing the current sustainability strategies, social protection and various schemes that are supported by public and private players.
  • Interviews and dialogue with key stakeholders identified above, including Indian Tea Association, CISTA, Tea Board of India to capture stakeholder perspectives on mechanisms to enable the transformation of the sector. 
  • Preliminary mapping of existing sectors/programmes and institutional mechanisms that support human rights including women’s rights (formal, informal) along the entire value chain that should be targeted for strengthening sustainable tea production. 


Task II: Finalization of Questionnaire 

Three different target stakeholders would be selected to conduct the primary survey: STGs, estate management and plantation workers. Stratified samples (random or purposive) of community and key stakeholders for Focus Group Discussion (FGDs) would also be covered as part of the study.  The consultant will finalize the questionnaire for implementation in the designated geographical scope of the project after approval from the Rainforest Alliance (RA) team.    


Task III: Baseline Assessment 

The consultant will carry out a baseline assessment in the eight districts of upper Assam. The sample size and its tentative district-wise distribution is as below: 

 Districts STGs Estates Plantation workers

Sivasagar 30 8 80

Tinsukia 25 12 120

Golaghat 17 7 70

Jorhat 18 9 90

Dibrugarh 36 17 170

Sonitpur 17 6 60

Darrang - - -

Dhemaji 2 - -

Lakhimpur 5 1 10

Total 150 61 610

*10 plantation workers to be surveyed in each of the selected estates 


Scope of baseline study:  


·   Review of the current government/NGO/private sector activities/ programmes/schemes that are ongoing for enhancing environmental sustainability and social conditions in tea production in the identified locations including certification programmes for organic/sustainable tea.

·      To propose activities/ programmes and actors (including Farmer Producer Organizations) for cooperation

·      Detailed mapping of the potential actors including target group communities  

·      Analyse capacity, technical and resource gaps and needs of different actors and target group for sustainable tea production 

·      Collect quantitative and qualitative data the following from identified regions in Assam: 

o  Population of rural households, number of household members 

o  total number of farms in project region and percentage growing tea;  

o  Farm size structure and percentage covered with tea 

o  Other maincrop if any, cultivated on farms with tea. 

o  Availability of machinery and purpose 

o  Development of farm gate price for specific commodity (seasonality, middle- / -long-term, if available) 

o  Short summary of marketing-strategy, e.g.: selling to factory, cooperatives, other buyers 

o  Provision of inputs, if necessary, e.g., supply of fertilizer by factory 

o  Farm gate price for commodity, are there different prices for different qualities? What are the common quality groups at farm level? 

o  Any additional by-product, which is sold or used in the households e.g., firewood 

o  Ratio between harvest volume and sales volume 

o  Average size of land covered under crop, planting density and age structure of plantation 

o  General fertilizer costs, based on 100% purity, e.g.: cost for 1 kg of nitrogen. 

o  Plant protection materials, chemicals including bio-products 

o   Use of labour, mainly family or hired, if hired for which purpose (tasks performed), typical hours worked and payment terms, gender balance of hired workers (women/men), working conditions (kind of contracts, wages) etc per gender, costs for hired labour 

o  Costs for own mechanisation if available 

o  Post-harvest activities on farm  

o  Current income levels of farmers  

o  Current wages of hired workers (and if different for women/men) 

o  Social issues for farmers and hired workers, including access to basic facilities, gender issues (e.g., discrimination based on gender regarding job opportunities, wages, access to opportunities like training, higher paid jobs, representation at organizational level, etc; vulnerability of women to harassment/abuse); workload of women in general, existence and functioning of grievance mechanisms, school going/finalizing of sec education by girls, boys, etc. 

o  Issues related to Environmental and climate vulnerability and its impact on their livelihoods 

o  Living conditions of the plantation workers and scope of additional income opportunities 


Focus Group Discussion (FGDs): 


Apart from structured interview of the selected stakeholders, the consultant will also conduct FGDs of targeted stakeholders. These FGD groups include, but not limited to, plantation workers (permanent and temporary separately) and their unions, women workers, women farmers, youths (boys and girls separately), FPO members and Board of Directors in the region etc.


Task IV: Analysis of the data 

The consultant will develop an analytical framework for data collected during the study and provide the tabulated data as well as an anonymized and clean dataset to the RA team. The data will be analyzed and shared with the RA team, for inputs before finalization. 


Role of RA: 


1.      RA will share a preliminary (non-exhaustive) draft of the questionnaire with the consultant.  

2.      RA will work with the consultant to facilitate access to stakeholders, especially estates, STGs and workers.



Milestone  Deadline 

Inception Report   2 weeks after contract signature 

Mid-term Progress Report 6 weeks after contract signature 

Draft Baseline Report   8 weeks after contract signature 

Final document 12 weeks after contract signature 



General terms and conditions for Request for proposal

  • Proposals and/or any additional information received after the submission time and date are subject to rejection by The Rainforest Alliance. Incomplete proposals may be rejected by RA at its discretion.
  • The Rainforest Alliance reserves the right to request additional information at any time during the procurement process.
  • RA is at liberty to make multiple or no selections as part of the proposal process. RA also reserves the right to cancel the procurement.
  • All proposal costs shall be borne by the applicant and will not be reimbursed by RA.


Selection Criteria

·   The consultants will be reviewed and selected based on following criteria:

Selection Criteria Weightage

Previous experience of Baseline 30%

Capacity to work in Assam/North-East 20%

Availability of key resources 25%

Financial Proposal 25%

Proposal Process and Format

·      Please send your proposal to this link:

·      The deadline for submission of proposal is 18 September 2022

·      The proposals should include:

o  Organization profile

o  Project team with CVs

o  Technical proposal/methodology/ workplan/timeline for deliverables

o  Financial proposal:

§ cost-reimbursable: daily/hourly rate and estimated number of days/hours needed to complete project

§ fixed price: total budget needed to complete deliverables.

§ All costs should be considered in Indian National Rupees (INR).

o  List of previous engagements that address the above experience desired

·      The shortlisted agency will be notified by 25 September 2022.


 Thank you for your interest in working with The Rainforest Alliance

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