Team: Programs | Commitment: Consultant | Location: Azerbaijan
International Cotton Processing Consultant
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).
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.
· 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,
§ 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.