BACKGROUND:

The USAID Agriculture Program is a five-year activity that aims to accelerate the growth of agricultural sub-sectors that demonstrate strong potential to create jobs and increase micro, small and medium enterprises’ (MSME) revenues. The USAID Agriculture Program plans to deliver firm-level investment and tailor-made technical assistance to entrepreneurial, market-driven enterprises, production clusters and supporting associations and service/information/extension providers to foster inclusive and sustainable market systems development. 

The USAID Agriculture Program provides competitive cost-shared grants and technical assistance to address identified gaps in targeted value chains (VCs) that will result in the improved productivity and productive capacity of MSMEs, strengthened value chain linkages, increased access to markets, and improved capacity of MSMEs, cooperatives, associations and service/information/extension providers.

One of the high potential VCs that the USAID Agriculture Program will focus on is a berry VC. Berry production in Georgia has been gradually increasing, and in 2017 about 6,000 tons were produced on 2,000 ha. As of 2017, new berry orchards were arranged on an additional 400 ha through the support of the Agriculture Projects Management Agency (APMA). 

However, yield is considerably low since new orchards contain over 90% old varieties, which are well adapted but not able to provide competitive yield and quality for export. In addition, smallholder and commercial farmers engaged in berry production lack knowledge of modern technologies, new varieties, inputs and good farming practices.  This is a key challenge named by most players of the berry VC. Therefore, there is a need for equipping berry producers with technical knowledge and expertise in order to improve the knowledge base at the farmer level for making appropriate farm management decisions and adopting modern technologies. To this end, the USAID Agriculture Program plans to develop detailed berry production guides in line with the best international practices, which will then be widely disseminated among berry growers, private and state extension agents and academia. 

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this assignment is to develop comprehensive production guides for the following berries: raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries. These guides are aimed to assist Georgian berry growers to adopt the best international practices to maximize fruit quality and harvest. 

PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES: Develop comprehensive production guides for raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. These guides should at a minimum cover the following areas:

  • Biology of the cultivated berries (raspberry, blackberry, strawberry and blueberry)
  • Site selection and land preparation for different types of soil
  • Plant selection (new varieties for fresh and frozen consumption)
  • Trellising and pruning brambles
  • Water management
  • Soil and nutrient management
  • Insect and mite scouting and management
  • Disease management and physiological disorders
  • Provide specific recommendations to follow the best IPM practices
  • Spray application technology
  • Harvesting, handling and transportation of fresh berries

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:

  • A bachelor’s degree in agronomy with a focus on berry production;
  • Minimum of 10 years of work experience as an agronomy practitioner;
  • Proven experience in developing practical production guides; and
  • Strong communication skills.

DELIVERABLES:

  •  Production guide structure and format agreed with the USAID Agriculture Program; and
  •  Production guides for raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.

PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE: 

This assignment is planned to take place in late February 2019 and early March 2019. This consultancy will be provided offsite and will not exceed 10 days.