Team: Programs | Commitment: Consulting | Location: The Republic of Georgia

STTA: Berry Production/Nursery Development Specialist

BACKGROUND:

The USAID Agriculture Program is a five-year activity that aims to accelerate growth of agricultural sub-sectors that demonstrate strong potential to create jobs and increase incomes and revenues of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME). The USAID Agriculture Program will 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 will provide competitive cost-shared grants and technical assistance to address identified gaps in targeted value chains that will result in the improved productivity and production 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 the berry sector. Production of berries in Georgia has been gradually increasing and in the year of 2017, about 6,000 tons were produced on 2,000 ha of land. As of 2017, new berry orchards were arranged on an additional 400 ha with Agriculture Projects Management Agency’s (APMA) support programs.

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 value chain. Therefore, there is a need for equipping berry producers with technical knowledge and expertise in order to create a better knowledge platform at the farmer level for making appropriate farm management decisions and to adopt modern technologies.

Development of modern nurseries as key components of agriculture value chains is one of the essential milestones to increase efficiency of primary production in Georgia. Well-designed nurseries producing high quality, resistant seedlings and planting material will play key role in materializing berry sector growth in Georgia. Adoption and pursuance of best propagation practices will avoid, illegal, non-authorized propagation that opens the door for plant diseases, terribly affecting primary production within critically important agriculture sub-sectors. To this end, the USAID Agriculture Program also plans to develop detailed berry productions guides in line with the best international practices for dissemination among berry growers, private and state extension agents and academia representatives.

OBJECTIVES:

The purpose of this assignment is to support sustainable development of a modern nursery system in Georgia, thereby promoting increased efficiency of berry VC components, and to develop comprehensive production guides for 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:

Under this scope of work, the Consultant shall work closely with the USAID Agriculture Program’s Technical Assistance Director and the Berry Value Chain Specialist to perform the following tasks:

· Develop comprehensive production guides for raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries. These guides should as a minimum cover the following areas:

o Biology of the cultivated berries (raspberry, blackberry, strawberry and blueberry)

o Site selection and land preparation for different types of soil

o Plant selection (new varieties for fresh and frozen consumption)

o Trellising and pruning brambles

o Water management

o Soil and nutrient management

o Insect and mite scouting and management

o Disease management and physiological disorders

· Provide specific recommendations to follow best practices of IPM;

· Facilitate development of nurseries (open ground and greenhouse facilities) for production of high quality, productive and resistant seedlings and planting material;

· Build capacity of farmers to follow good propagation practices;

· Provide information and recommendations for the production of modern, internationally certified berry varieties;

· Provide specific recommendations and information on ad hoc basis, as per needs arisen throughout the implementation of the assignment.

DELIVERABLES:

  • Action Plan for the development of model nursery system in Georgia;
  • Interim Report highlighting findings, challenges and opportunities;
  • Final report integrating specific recommendations for sustainable growth of nursery system in Georgia;
  • Production guides for raspberries, blackberries, blueberries and strawberries.

PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE:

Depending on the level of engagement of nursery operators, and based on the character of specific TA needs, the consultant will have 2 visits to Georgia, with the duration of maximum 1 week each and will be available for online consultations. The first assignment is planned to take place between June 10 – June 30, 2019, followed by a second assignment in early September. Total LOE for this assignment will not exceed 20 days.