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

STTA: Post-Harvest Handling and Cold-Storage

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 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 challenges faced by VCs in the horticulture sector is a lack knowledge of modern technologies and practices to be used in post-harvest handling and cold-storage operations, in order to minimize losses, preserve quality, extend product shelf life, and access new markets.  Therefore, there is a need for equipping farmers and agribusinesses with technical knowledge and expertise in order to create a better knowledge platform at farmer level for pursuing best post-harvest handling practices to achieve sustainable growth, increased production and sales.

 

During last 4 years, new cold-storage facilities with a combined capacity of 8,000 tons have been constructed in Georgia, many with support from state-funded programs and international donors. Most of these tend to be small to medium capacity seasonal operations, facing shortcomings associated with modern postharvest handling practices, lack of qualified staff, poor logistics, weak organizational structures, minimal compliance with internationally recognized standards of operation, and lack of viable economic development and sustainability strategies.

 

In Project year 1, the USAID Agriculture Program commenced close collaboration with its subcontractor WFLO to assess cold-chain industry dynamics and to propose a best business model that could be used to achieve development of effective and sustainable cold-storage infrastructure throughout Georgia. Meanwhile, the Program planned to provide individual and group consultancies to cold-storage operators and consolidators engaged in Program’s targeted VCs to identify gaps in their operations and subsequently recommend improvements in key technical areas.

 

In line with abovementioned, the USAID Agriculture Program plans to utilize the expertise of international consultants to provide targeted beneficiaries – mandarin growers, consolidators, and post-harvest handling operators – with tailored short-term technical assistance (STTA), thereby helping them improve primary production, post-harvest handling, and storage operations and gradually adopt best practices.

 

 

OBJECTIVE:

The purpose of this assignment is to provide technical support to mandarin growers, consolidators, and post-harvest handling operators to increase the efficiency of their operations and thereby strengthen the mandarin VC and horticulture sector in Georgia. 

PRINCIPAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

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

·         Visit up to eight (8) leading mandarin VC actors to better understand the context and challenges existing in the sector:

·         Visit up to four (4) leading mandarin growers within Khelvachauri and Kobuleti municipalities to provide them with individual consultancies and improvement recommendations. It is envisioned that consultancies will be focused on modern growing practices, including modern varieties, inputs, integrated pest management (IPM), etc. Representatives of the Association of Mandarin Growers will participate in these meetings.

·         Visit up to four (4) mandarin consolidators, post-harvest handling operators, and processors to provide them with individual consultancies and improvement recommendations. It is envisioned that consultancies will focus on modern PHHP, storage practices, and storage regimes (temperature, humidity control schemes, etc.);

·         Deliver group training for a wider group of growers, cold-storage operators, and consolidators engaged in mandarin VC. Training will highlight key technical aspects of modern approaches and practices and will address those gaps and shortcomings identified by the consultant during the individual meetings.

·         Conduct the workshop for broader audience of mandarin VC stakeholders, including representatives of the Ministry of Agriculture of Adjara, scientific circles to summarize findings and discuss best possible mechanisms for improvements along the mandarin VC.  

·         Follow-up with targeted beneficiaries to monitor their progress and to provide additional recommendations;

·         Develop plain language guide for Program’s beneficiary agribusinesses (growers, consolidators, and post-harvest handling operators) to help them easily follow new approaches and recommended practices;

·         Develop trip report highlighting visit findings, consultancy briefs and improvement recommendations.

REQUIRED QUALIFICATIONS:

  • A Master’s degree in engineering, agronomy, agricultural technologies, or another relevant field;
  • Minimum 10 years of working in supply chains for perishable food;
  • Proven experience in the design/improvement of post-harvest handling and storage schemes;
  • Strong communication skills.

DELIVERABLES:

  • Final Report integrating visit findings, consultancy briefs, and improvement recommendations;
  • Delivery of one day training for growers, cold-storage operators, and consolidators to highlight best production and PHHP practices;
  • Delivery of workshop for broader audience of mandarin VC actors and relevant stakeholders to summarize findings and discuss improvement opportunities;
  • Plain language guide highlighting primary production, post-harvest handling and storage operations suitable to the needs and specifics of Georgian agribusinesses engaged in mandarin production. 

PERIOD OF PERFORMANCE:

 

This assignment is planned to take place starting from November 25 to December 1, 2019. This consultancy will be provided through one visit and follow-up offsite work, and will not exceed 15 days.