Deputy Chief of Party – Azerbaijan Private Sector Activity

Deputy Chief of Party – Azerbaijan Private Sector Activity

Posted On: Filed Under:

Project Background

CNFA is currently seeking applications from qualified candidates for Deputy Chief of Party for the anticipated USAID-funded private sector activity in Azerbaijan. The project is anticipated to improve the competitiveness of the private sector with a special focus on agriculture and reduce administrative barriers that hinder the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises in Azerbaijan.

 

Key Qualifications:

  • Minimum of seven (7) years of progressively responsible management experience in the successful implementation of international economic development activities, including USAID projects, is required;
  • Demonstrated professional success in managing development assistance projects of a comparable size and scope in developing countries is required;
  • Experience in agriculture development projects is required;
  • Experience in private sector engagement, public-private dialogue and institutional coalition building is desired.
  • Experience in projects utilizing a partnership and co-investment approach is highly desirable;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of USAID rules and regulations is required, experience with other large donor programs is desirable;
  • Master’s degree or higher in a relevant field is required;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English is required; Azerbaijani or Turkish and/or Russian language is preferred;
  • Experience in Azerbaijan or in the region is strongly preferred.

Women and Azeri nationals are encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or protected veteran status. CNFA takes affirmative action in support of its policy to advance in employment individuals who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

Only those candidates selected for further consideration will be contacted.

Chief of Party – Azerbaijan Private Sector Activity

Posted On: Filed Under:

Project Background

CNFA is currently seeking applications from qualified candidates for Chief of Party for the anticipated USAID-funded private sector activity in Azerbaijan. The project is anticipated to improve the competitiveness of the private sector with a special focus on agriculture and reduce administrative barriers that hinder the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises in Azerbaijan. 

Key Qualifications:

  • Minimum of ten (10) years of progressively responsible management experience in the successful implementation of international economic development activities, including USAID projects, is required;
  • Demonstrated experience managing development assistance projects of a comparable size and scope in developing countries is required; experience in projects utilizing a partnership and co-investment approach is highly desirable;
  • Demonstrated experience managing projects in the agriculture sector, preferably in Azerbaijan or neighboring countries;
  • Experience in engaging women, youth, poor, ethnic minorities, and other vulnerable groups in project activities is desirable;
  • Experience in private sector engagement, public-private dialogue and institutional coalition building.  Demonstrated knowledge of USAID rules and regulations is required, experience with other large donor programs is desired;
  • Demonstrated experience in financial resource and operations management, monitoring and evaluation is required; demonstrated experience managing, supervising, developing, and recruiting staff is required;
  • Master’s degree or higher in a relevant field is required;
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English is required; Russian and/or Azerbaijani or Turkish language is preferred;
  • Experience in Azerbaijan or in the region is strongly preferred.

Women and Azeri nationals are encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or protected veteran status. CNFA takes affirmative action in support of its policy to advance in employment individuals who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

Only those candidates selected for further consideration will be contacted.

Call for Experts – Azerbaijan Private Sector Activity

Posted On: Filed Under:

Project Background

CNFA is currently seeking applications from qualified candidates for an anticipated USAID-funded private sector activity in Azerbaijan. The project is anticipated to improve the competitiveness of the private sector with a special focus on agriculture and reduce administrative barriers that hinder the development of micro, small, and medium enterprises in Azerbaijan. 

CNFA is currently seeking applications for the following types of experts. Please indicate the area(s) of expertise and position levels for which you would like to apply in your application:

·         Agribusiness and SME Development

·         Agriculture Value Chain Development

·         Policy and Business Enabling

·         Public-Private Partnerships and Co-Investments

·         Agriculture Production

·         Capacity Building

·         Access to Finance

·         Product Development

·         Communications

·         Youth and gender

·         Monitoring and Evaluation

·         Grants Management

·         Finance, Compliance and Operations 

Minimum Qualifications:

  • 5+ years of experience in agricultural development including working with agribusinesses, small and medium enterprises or similar is required;
  • Experience working on USAID-funded projects is preferred;
  • Bachelor’s degree in related field is required, master’s degree is preferred;
  • Experience working in Azerbaijan is highly preferred; experience working in the region is desirable;
  • Fluency in English is required; Fluency in Azerbaijani and/or Russian is preferred.

Women and Azeri nationals are encouraged to apply. Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.

We are an Equal Opportunity Employer.

All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, national origin, age, disability, or protected veteran status. CNFA takes affirmative action in support of its policy to advance in employment individuals who are minorities, women, protected veterans, and individuals with disabilities.

Only those candidates selected for further consideration will be contacted.

STTA: To assist the SMB Development Agency and provide recommendations on establishment of SMB Houses

Posted On: Filed Under:

BACKGROUND

 

The USAID Agricultural Support to Azerbaijan Project (ASAP) aims to increase incomes and employment in rural areas by delivering firm-level investment and technical assistance to agribusiness enterprises that wish to engage with commercial markets as private businesses. Implemented by CNFA, the 63-month project was initiated in June 2014.

The Government of Azerbaijan (GOA) recognizes that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the backbone of the private sector, play a significant role in the economic development of any country, and especially Azerbaijan with its high dependency on natural resources, such as oil and gas. Historical evidence shows that high economic growth, such as Azerbaijan enjoyed over the past decade, does not guarantee sustainable development on a long-term basis. Sectoral development, particularly in the sphere of SMEs, is of great importance to insure sustainable economic development. SMEs make up over 95% of all of Azerbaijan’s registered enterprises and tend to lead to a more equitable distribution of income than larger companies. In December 2017, the President of Azerbaijan signed a decree establishing the Agency for Development of Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMB) under the Ministry of Economy. According to the decree, the Agency is a public legal entity that supports the development of small and medium-sized businesses in the country, provides a range of services to SMEs, and coordinates and regulates the services of state bodies in this field. Also, in accordance with the decree, SMB will open and run several SMB Houses, which will render a range of services, including training, consulting, information, financial and other services to SMEs. Recently, SMB requested that USAID provide it with an international consultant to serve as an advisor to help them plan for and launch the first SMB House, which is planned to initiate operations by the end of 2019.

 

OVERVIEW

 

With the aforementioned context in mind, ASAP seeks a consultant with an expert background in public service provision to help SMB to design the first SMB House and plan for its establishment and launching from a technical perspective (i.e., physical layout, location of various services, infrastructural and logistical solutions), training needs, policy and procedures, and ongoing operations. Below is a brief description on the first SMB House planned to be built.

 

The Central SMB House will be a type of “one-stop shop” for SMEs. It will be built in an active economic zone at the southwest entrance to the city of Baku, which will serve as a favorable location from both a geographical and logistical point of view. Another positive feature of that location is the opportunity it presents to expand if more space is needed and its potential to attract additional investors. The facility for the Central SMB House will be built in accordance with modern architectural design principles and using a lightweight construction in order to enable completion of the project in a shorter period of time and, if necessary, allow for the launching of the SMB House’s operations in several phases.

 

In all, 34 government authorities, including all departments and agencies that govern SME establishment and operations, will provide more than 100 Government-to-Business (G2B) services and private entities will provide more than 1000 Business-to-Business (B2B) services in the Central SMB House. These services will cover all five periods in an SME’s life cycle, including:

 

1.         Planning the business

2.         Starting the business

3.         Running the business

4.         Developing the business

5.         Closing the business

 

Planning the business envisages services supporting the launch of start-up projects, development of business and marketing plans, improvement of business skills, and support to register patent rights. Through this section, the services of the Agency for Intellectual Property Rights, business incubators, business accelerators, consulting companies, and other entities will be provided.

 

Starting the business envisages the services supporting the full registration of entrepreneurship activity, obtaining licensees, banking, insurance, leasing, ICT, notary and legal support, as well as support for operating in preferential tax and regulatory regimes, and support for accessing preferential financial sources. Through this section, the services of the Ministry of Taxes, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of Emergency, the Baku Transportation Agency, banks, insurance companies, notaries, and other entities will be provided.

 

Running the business envisages services supporting day-to-day recordkeeping for small and medium enterprises, reporting to tax and other government authorities, customs clearance during import-export operations, comprehensive support on access to infrastructure and logistics chains. Through this section, services will be provided by the State Customs Committee, Ministry of Taxes, Ministry of Labor and Social Protection, Food Safety Agency, State Advertisement Agency, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Transportation, communications and modern technologies, Azerbaijan Airlines, Azerbaijan Railways, Azerbaijan Caspian Shipping Company, as well as other entities related to logistics, law, and auditing.

 

Developing the business envisages assistance to enhance participation of small and medium business in the domestic market, access to foreign markets, export promotion, participation in procurement conducted by government entities and blue chips; and access to finance. Through this section, the services of the Azerbaijan Investment Company, Entrepreneurship Development Fund, ITC Fund, Youth Fund, Knowledge Fund, Aqrolizinq (Agroleasing), Foodstuff Procurement and Supply, Agrocredit, AzPromo, and other entities will be provided.

 

Closing the business envisages legal and technical processes regarding termination of entrepreneurship activity through a single window. Through this section, the services of the Ministry of Taxes, notaries, legal consultancies, and other entities are to be provided.

 

Along with a comprehensive range of services to be provided by the public and private sector in the Central SMB House, infrastructure such as office spaces, auditoriums, meeting rooms, conference halls for banks, insurance companies, microcredit entities, business associations, women entrepreneurs and family businesses as well as startups and enterprises started by youth will be provided, which in turn will serve to foster a comfortable and favorable business environment. Cafeterias and waiting rooms, both indoors and outdoors, will be comfortable places for conducting private and public business meetings.

 

Currently, SMB is in the process of finalizing a feasibility analysis. Thus, the Agency is keen to engage an expert acquainted with best international practices. This assignment includes provision of ad-hoc technical recommendations on design of the first SMB House and its facilities from a technical standpoint (physical layout, location of various services, infrastructural and logistical solutions, e.g.), training needs, policies, and operations.

 

This consultancy will require an experienced authority with international experience with relevant public and private development agencies and organizations.

 GENERAL OBJECTIVES

 

·         Conduct field analysis of the SMB’s plans to establish the first SMB House and provide evaluation and specific recommendations regarding the modeling of the physical layout of the facility, location and function of various services represented at the House;

·         Employ knowledge of international experience in enhancing the business environment, liberalization of trade, improvement of investment climate, enabling assess to finance by the SMEs, using one-shop stop model for entrepreneurs to be able to benefit from the “Green Corridor” system to help optimize customs control procedures, contribute to more flexible and transparent implementation of customs clearance and solving problems arising in the course of import-export operations, to outline and select the most relevant practices and help apply those having the greatest potential for improvement of SME business operations; and

·         Hold meetings/electronic communication with key personnel of the SMB and establish direct communication with the Agency and ongoing coordination with ASAP representatives.

SPECIFIC DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

 

·         Perform a robust assessment of the SMB’s plans to establish the SMB House and provide evaluation and specific recommendations regarding the modeling of the physical layout of the facility, location, and function of various services represented at the House;

·         Review SMB personnel job responsibilities, interview SMB staff, and provide specific recommendations regarding their capacity building and training needs;

·         Provide specific recommendations on the SMB House’s customer interface/communications platform to facilitate interaction with customers/beneficiaries, streamline the process for accessing the facility and the offered services, making service requests, and rating the services received by the government agencies represented at the House;

·         Draft a concept paper regarding the services that USAID should rendered to private entrepreneurs, agribusinesses, and other SMEs through its own window or service center to be established in the SMB House; and  

·         Support the SMB to identify, design, and implement additional measures to incentivize and facilitate SME creation and their successful operation.

 

The Consultant is also expected to advise the SMB more broadly by:         

 

·         Providing recommendations for a more coherent SME policy linked to broader economic and social goals;

·         Suggesting appropriate institutional arrangements for implementation and monitoring of policy measures and support programs;

·         Recommending a design of a public-private sector partnership in policy formulation and implementation by enhancing the dialogue between representative business organizations and public bodies on SME policy;

·         Recommending specific support policies for SME development to facilitate access to crucial resources such as finance and information;

·         Introducing a commercial orientation in the delivery of support services: cost-share with customers/beneficiaries whenever possible to enhance the cost-effectiveness and sustainability of projects; and

·         Providing recommendations on the system of monitoring of progress in line with performance indicators: analyzing performance and impact periodically with the stakeholders as defined in the design of SMB Houses.

 

MEETINGS RELATED TO UNDERSTANDING AND PERFORMING THE WORK

 

The Consultant shall meet, but is not limited to meeting, the following individuals or groups of individuals in order to fully perform the work specified under this Consultancy:

 

§  Key personnel of the SMB

§  David G. Blood, USAID Agribusiness Consultant

§  George Melton, USAID Agribusiness Consultant

§  Yashar Farajov, USAID Agribusiness Consultant

§  Samir Hamidov, USAID Contracting Officer’s Representative

 

  DELIVERABLES

 

§  Written summary of meetings and findings;

§  Final report with recommendations on:

o   Assessment of the SMB’s technical personnel including the recommendations for capacity building and outlining areas of desired increase of competences;

o   A recommendation on full design of the first SMB House, including its physical and operational layout and interactions;

o   A concept paper regarding the USAID’s services rendered to the private entrepreneurs, agribusinesses and other small and medium sized businesses through the SMB House.

 

Note: While the aforementioned reports are expected to provide an essential summary of the efforts, findings, conclusions, and recommendations of the consultant, the overall priority of the assignment should be to serve as a resource for SMB management and staff with whom they can solicit and discuss ideas and from whom they can receive immediate feedback as they move toward finalizing plans for SMB House design and implementation.      

 PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE

 

This assignment is proposed to take place, beginning as soon as the candidate is selected, for a duration of the equivalent of up to 30 eight-hour consulting days. This consulting assignment envisions 25 field-based consulting days and up to 5 days allocated for developing deliverables and travel.

 

MANDATORY AND DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS

 

International legal and SME development experts who are interested at the assignment should meet the requirements below:

·         Strong professional background in relation to law or political science, public administration or related fields, at least 10 years of professional experience in design and delivery of public sector services for the private sector;

·         Strong academic record in relation to law or political science, public administration or related fields, including advanced degree;

·         Demonstrated track record in research or other writing on measurement and governance analysis on public and economic sector, or in direct development of policy for private sector development, desirable;

·         Demonstrated expertise in law and local governance with emphasize on SME development

·         Proven command of spoken and written English language, some knowledge of Azerbaijani, Turkish, or Russian a plus.

Deadline for applications is February 22, 2019.

International Cotton Processing Consultant

Posted On: Filed Under:

1        BACKGROUND

 

Azerbaijan Agriculture Training and Development Center (AgroCenter) helps decisionmakers in government agencies, development organizations, and agribusiness units through advisory and research services related to food, agriculture, and rural development. Established in 2017, the company was founded and is managed by a team of international professionals in education, agriculture, and project management. Based on strong relations with key government and private stakeholders in Azerbaijani agriculture, AgroCenter is cooperating with world-leading academic institutions and industry leaders in agriculture in countries such as the U.S., Israel, and Spain.

 

Utilizing industry experience and functional expertise, AgroCenter provides services and consulting on agricultural training and education; research and development; and public promotion of agriculture and agricultural professions. Also, AgroCenter presents a platform for dialog and cooperation for agribusiness units. AgroCenter is actively assisting in the development of national professional standards for agricultural consultants and agronomy specialists.

 

AgroCenter has established partnerships with leading academic institutions and international organizations around the world, such as Ben-Gurion University, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Ramat Negev Agricultural Training Center, Texas A&M University, Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute, Queensland Agricultural Colleges Association, CNFA, USAID, and the FAO.

 

In 2018, the USAID Agricultural Support to Azerbaijan Project (ASAP) helped to link AgroCenter to two key U.S. academic institutions to improve the skills of Azerbaijan State Agrarian University’s (ASAU) faculty in Ganja. The two U.S. universities that were selected were Texas A&M University (TAMU) and the University of California at Davis (UC Davis).

 

2        OVERVIEW

 

History of Cotton Production in Azerbaijan

 

Cotton has an ancient historical record in Azerbaijan as evidenced by archaeological excavations in Mingachevir region, where burned cotton and cotton seeds were unearthed dating to the 5th and 6th centuries AD. It has also been mentioned that Barda, Nakhchivan, Ganja, Shamkir and other cities in Azerbaijan exported textiles made of cotton. Cotton growing areas have generally been the Mil-Mughan and Shirvan plains, and Salyan-Mugan, Mil-Karabakh, Shirvan and Ganja-Gazakh in the central region.

 

Until the late 1980s, Azerbaijan was one of the world’s leading cotton producers, producing high yields of raw cotton up to 2.5 MT/ha and a gross annual production of 400,00–500,000 MT. Azerbaijan has the necessary climatic and soil conditions to support such an industry and make it thrive.

 

Cotton Industry at Present

 

The cotton industry is considered as one of the important industries in the country. Currently, the country intends to grow the cotton industry further and a number of steps have been taken in this direction. President Ilham Aliyev signed a decree on state support of cotton production on September, 2016. The Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan developed a State Cotton Growing Program for the 2017-20 period. According to the program, it is planned to produce cotton on the 120,000-hectare area in 27 districts of the Republic. The purpose of the State Program is to develop cotton growing, increase export potential in this sphere, ensure employment of the rural population and increase the production of cotton. Around 132,000 ha of cotton were planted and 260 000 MT were harvested in 2018. The current goal of the government is to increase yields in order to boost production using roughly the same area of land.

 

With the aforementioned context in mind, AgroCenter and MKT are searching for a consultant cotton processing specialist to work with to provide TA on all the aspects of restructuring and reconstruction of the old cotton gins.

 

3        OBJECTIVES

 

·         The Consultant shall perform a gap analysis surveys of selected ginning mills in the project areas. Gap analysis survey includes following:

Profiling of the mill with respect to production, energy consumption, environmental, health and safety conditionProfiling of working practices with respect to machine parameters, machine operation, quality parameters etc.Performance monitoring of electrical motors, machine rpm and air pressure/volume at pneumatic ductsSolid waste profilePrepare gap analysis survey report documenting the profile of the mill on above aspects, findings and recommendations to improve productivity, energy efficiency, environmental, health and safety condition  Present/discuss the survey findings and recommendations with each ginning mill management

·         To establish business diagnosis in order to collect appropriate information for assessment of existing value chain of the cotton producer;

·         To get expert assessment of existing value chain of the cotton producer and propose recommendations on improvements points;

·         To generate business development plan including various scenarios of testing, deployment and final assessment of outcomes;

·         Acceptance of accomplishment of stated objectives by all stakeholders will be determined as a success point of this project.

 

4        MEETINGS RELATED TO UNDERSTANDING AND PERFORMING THE WORK

 

The Consultant shall meet online, but is not limited to meeting, the following individuals or groups of individuals in order to fully perform the work specified under this Consultancy:

 

§  Uzeyir Topchibashev, AgroCenter, Head of Project Management

§  Key personnel of MKT Cotton LLC,

 

5        DELIVERABLES

 

§  A business development plan including a definition and prioritization of cotton products based on sales results versus targets and quality requirements

§  A final recommendation is the existing ginning mills need to be reconstructed and providing a rational for go or no-go decision.

§  Recommendations on the logistic plan

§  Cost definition and structure of the all aspects of cotton processing

§  Company structure, management and human resources

§  Submit a final report to AgroCenter regarding the findings of the consultant, including a list of critical interventions and recommendations.

 

6        PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE

 

This assignment is proposed to take place, beginning as soon as the candidate is selected. The exact duration of the assignment will be discussed and agreed upon with the selected consultant.  

 

7        MANDATORY AND DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS

 

·         Selected consultant should have an advanced degree in agriculture, business administration, with long standing field experience at an international level in planning, implementation and monitoring of cotton production, storage and marketing.

·         Consultant should have extensive experience of conducting such types of assignments in different parts of the world in the cotton industry and should be well versed with business management practices and technical aspects of the production facilities

·         Consultant should be equipped with all the requisite audit tools 

·         Special preference will be given to the experts from the U.S.

 

 

RFQ: Hazelnut Farming Machinery and Equipment

Posted On: Filed Under:

RFQ Number: CNFA-AZ-86

Issuance Date: December 20, 2018

Deadline for Questions: January 9, 2019

Deadline for Offers: January 15, 2019

Description: Hazelnut Farming Machinery and Equipment

For: Agricultural Support to Azerbaijan Project (ASAP)

Funded By: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

AID-112-C-14-00001

Implemented By: CNFA

Point of Contact

Ms. Konul Veliyeva

Subcontracts & TTF Specialist

procurement@asapaz.org

 

1.      Introduction: The Agricultural Support to Azerbaijan Project (ASAP) is a USAID program implemented by CNFA in Azerbaijan. The objective of ASAP is to support the diversification of the economy through initiatives that assist small and medium-sized agribusinesses and farmers to grow. As part of its project activities, ASAP requires the procurement and installation of machinery and equipment for the Azerbaijan Hazelnut Producers and Processors Association (AHPEA). The purpose of this RFQ is to solicit quotations for this activity.

 

The proposed project activity involves establishment of an Agricultural Services Center, including machinery and processing equipment for AHPEA in Zagatala region. The purpose of this RFQ is to solicit quotations for these items.

 

Offerors are responsible for ensuring that their offers are received by CNFA in accordance with the instructions, terms, and conditions described in this RFQ. Failure to adhere to instructions described in this RFQ may lead to disqualification of an offer from consideration.

 

2.      Offer Deadline and Protocol: Offers must be received by no later than 18:00 Baku time on January 15, 2019. Please reference the RFQ number in any response to this RFQ. Offers received after the specified time and date will be considered late and will be considered only at the discretion of CNFA. Offers must be submitted by email to procurement@asapaz.org

 

Please reference the RFQ number in any response to this RFQ. Offers received after the specified time and date will be considered late and will be considered only at the discretion of CNFA. The cover page of this solicitation summarizes the important dates of the solicitation process. Offerors must strictly follow the provided deadlines to be considered for award.

 

It is not required to provide offers for all machinery and equipment. Partial offers will be accepted.

 

3.      Questions: Questions regarding the technical or administrative requirements of this RFQ may be submitted by no later than 18:00 Baku time on January 9, 2019 by email to procurement@asapaz.org. Questions must be submitted in writing; phone calls will not be accepted. Questions and requests for clarification—and the responses thereto—that CNFA believes may be of interest to other offerors will be circulated to all RFQ recipients who have indicated an interest in bidding.

 

Only the written answers issued by CNFA will be considered official and carry weight in the RFQ process and subsequent evaluation. Any verbal information received from employees of CNFA or any other entity should not be considered as an official response to any questions regarding this RFQ.

4.      Technical Requirements: Below are the technical requirements of the commodities/services. Offerors are requested to provide quotations containing the information below on official letterhead or official quotation format.

 

The subject of this RFQ is procurement of two tractors, two air blast sprayers and two flail mowers. In order to establish an Agricultural Service Center, the Association requires for its ownership and operation innovative orchard management machinery. The machinery includes both an air-blast orchard sprayer and “Flail-Type” mower for controlling grasses and weeds between rows. This type of mower is currently not used in the hazelnut industry in Azerbaijan and so this demonstration of modern, improved machinery would be a significant step forward for hazelnut producers. 

Click here to download full RFQ.

STTA: Salinity Assessment

Posted On: Filed Under:

I. BACKGROUND

ASAP is a five-year, USAID-funded project to increase the incomes of agribusinesses and agricultural producers along the entire berry, hazelnut, orchard, pomegranate, and vegetable value chains. By supporting the growth and expanded exports of agribusiness SMEs through technical assistance by international experts and local Business Service Providers (BSPs), increased access to new technologies, marketing services, and finance, and strengthened international linkages, ASAP is contributing to the accelerated development of Azerbaijan’s rural and non-oil economy.

Since its launch in June 2014, ASAP has benefited not only Azerbaijani agribusinesses, but U.S. agribusinesses as well. By introducing American technologies, purchasing U.S. goods and services, engaging American experts, facilitating trips to the U.S. that have led to purchases by Azerbaijani agribusinesses from American companies or the establishment of other types of linkages, agriculture in both countries has benefited from these new ties and exposure. This has included specific work to facilitate increased sales of John Deere equipment in Azerbaijan through capacity-building work of the staff and clients of its distributor in the country, AzTekhnika.

In August 2017, ASAP fielded a U.S. agronomist with extensive experience in cotton and grain crops on a short-term assignment to Azerbaijan. These crops were selected because they are the only ones that AzTekhnika/John Deere serves in Azerbaijan. This is due to the size of equipment that the large-scale production of these crops requires. A U.S. cotton and grain agronomist and the ASAP Agribusiness Advisor worked in the field for two weeks to assess needs, make on-site recommendations, and collect data for a series of technical recommendations to help John Deere and its local distributor better understand and communicate to the local farmers and agribusiness how their machinery and equipment could benefit their operations.

One of the most significant findings from that STTA was the extensive soil and water salinity problem that is present in the cotton and feed grain production areas of Azerbaijan. It is clear that saline irrigation water significantly reduces yields in the affected areas. To date, the problem has not been fully explored or documented and there is no national strategy to mitigate the effects of the problem.

II. OBJECTIVES

o Assist AzTekhnika/John Deere to improve the yields of their customers and potential customers; and

o Assist the Government of Azerbaijan to achieve the goal of developing the non-oil economy of the nation in the agricultural sector.

III. PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

o Review requested reports prior to arrival in Baku;

o Meet with key personnel of ASAP and AzTekhnika/John Deere in Baku upon arrival;

o Travel throughout the affected cotton and feed-grain production areas with ASAP, AzTekhnika/John Deere, and AgroCenter technical representatives;

o Collect such data and samples as are required by the consultant to complete the final report; and

§ Submit a final report to ASAP/AzTekhnika/John Deere that characterizes the salinity problem in these areas and include both a 1) national-level mitigation strategy and 2) a farm level mitigation strategy.

§ John Deere plans to hold a media event with the President or one of his team to formally hand over the Salinity Assessment and Mitigation Strategy upon its completion to the Government of Azerbaijan.

IV. MEETINGS RELATED TO UNDERSTANDING AND PERFORMING THE WORK

In order to fully perform the work specified under this consultancy, the Consultant shall meet with representatives from CNFA, USAID, AzTekhnika/John Deere, the Ministries of Agriculture and Ecology and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan, Azerbaijani private sector cotton production representatives, and cotton faculty from the Azerbaijan State Agricultural University (ASAU) in Ganja, Azerbaijan.

V. DELIVERABLES

o Final report that fully characterizes the soil and water salinity of the defined regions of Azerbaijan

o National mitigation strategy focusing only on the designated cotton and feed-grain production areas

o Farm-level mitigation protocol

VI. PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE

This assignment is proposed to take place over 12 consulting days during a 14-calendar-day period beginning as early as the assignment and candidate are approved by USAID. An Azerbaijani visa will be required.

VII. MANDATORY AND DESIRED QUALIFICATIONS

The Consultant must be an experienced Post-Doctoral level research scientist with a PhD in Soil Science and with extensive experience with salinity effects on cotton and feed grains and mitigation techniques at a national and field level under similar soil and water conditions as those found in Azerbaijan, and preferably from Texas A&M University or another institution renowned

for research and education in conditions similar to those that prevail in the cotton-growing areas of Azerbaijan.

Raspberry Consultant

Posted On: Filed Under:

Background

 

The USAID Agricultural Support to Azerbaijan Project (ASAP) has recently expanded the Berry Value Chain to include Raspberry and Blueberry production. Raspberry production is concentrated in a small area near Ganja in the community of Goygol. The fields are small with an average size of less than 0.25 hectares.

Production levels have steadily declined in recent years and there is concern that gradually warming temperatures are responsible. This may be the case, but there is also evidence of insect and disease pressure that is contributing to the problem.

These growers have received technical assistance from another USAID-funded project, but nevertheless, production practices need to be updated.

In addition, there is significant new interest in blueberry production. This is a new crop for Azerbaijan and there is no technical assistance available in the country. If the consultant is versed in this crop, this topic will be added to the consultancy as well.

Objectives

  • Provide updated technical agronomic support to ASAP staff and raspberry (and blueberry) clients in the field.
  • Include reference materials on updated production and post-harvest handling techniques so that production manuals can be prepared that will be used in training classes and distributed to farmers.
  • Determine the causes of yield reductions that the farmers are experiencing and include corrective measures. 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Meet with ASAP management and technical staff to review current practices.
  • Update staff on the production and post-harvest techniques that will be introduced
  • Travel in the field to meet with growers and to view their fields and practices
  • Provide recommendations to farmers and project staff to improve production quality and quantity

Deliverables

  • Reference material that can be used by ASAP to update production practices that are specific to the condition in Azerbaijan
  • Report with an analysis of the decline in productivity with recommendations to reverse this trend

Qualifications

  • PhD in agronomy, crop sciences, or related field
  • Extensive experience in berry cultivation, including raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. Experience in strawberries also a plus.
  • Experience in intensive production methods and post-harvest handling
  • Experience conducting STTA for USAID or other donor-funded development projects
  • Experience working with berry growers in the South Caucasus
  • Knowledge of Azerbaijani or other Turkic language or Russian or other Slavic language desirable

Period of Performance and Timing:

 

Approximately 10 consulting days, to be scheduled as soon as possible. The level of effort would include, in addition to eight days in the field, two travel days.