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RFI: Support for Commercializing Non-timber Forest Products in Zimbabwe
This USAID/Zimbabwe Request for Information (RFI) is issued for the purpose of providing industry and stakeholders an opportunity to comment on and suggest areas related to a potential new activity in support for commercializing non-timber forest products in Zimbabwe. The Mission seeks market information on the attached concept note that aims to commercialize non-timber forest products in Zimbabwe in order to improve the resilience of vulnerable and marginalized communities (particularly women and youth) through increased incomes and strengthened environmental stewardship. As appropriate, USAID/Zimbabwe will incorporate responses to this RFI into the development of future activity designs that may lead to a formal solicitation or announcement; however, USAID/Zimbabwe is not obligated to do so. This RFI is published in accordance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 10 and FAR 15.201(e). This information will be used to help make planning decisions and influence activity design to improve future development outcomes.
The resilience of Zimbabwe’s people depends on the productivity of its natural resources, principally land, water, and fauna. Yet Zimbabwe’s agricultural land, forests, and biodiversity are in steep decline due to climate events, increased poverty, population growth, poor land use planning, and weak governance. The decline in agricultural production, especially in Natural Regions IV and V (where annual rainfall is less than 650 mm, with frequent seasonal droughts, erratic rainfall and severe dry spells) has resulted in increased food insecurity, as well as reduced household nutrition and income. Consequently, there is often crop failure and/or livestock losses that necessitate vulnerable households seeking alternative income sources to procure food and purchase agricultural inputs such as seeds, calves, and fertilizers for the next farming season.
Of the nearly 6,000 species of indigenous plants found in the country, some 900 of them have traditional use as food, cosmetics or medicine within these two Natural Regions and are supplementary sources of income for 60 - 70 percent of rural households who live there2 . With the growing awareness of the nutritional and health benefits that NTFPs offer, there has been an increased demand to commercialize. For example, baobab fruit has been granted a novel foods clearance by the EU and can be exported from Zimbabwe. There are also several companies in Zimbabwe and in the region that buy and process NTFPs and are ready to offer markets to rural producers3 . Return on investment (mainly labor for collection and processing) is much higher than from any of the major cash crops. For example, in Mutoko and Mudzi districts, it is USD 62.80 for Mobola seed and USD 14.08 for Sour Plum compared to USD 1.68 for groundnuts, which is the major cash earner in the two districts. Therefore, the Activity will seek ways to sustainably commercialize non-timber forest products in order to increase alternative income sources, improve natural resource management practices that will promote biodiversity, and reduce human-wildlife conflict. Target districts will be those districts where the NTFPs of most commercial value are of harvestable commercial quantities.
Response Deadline: February 28, 2022 at 17:00 (Harare Time)