The Regional Agricultural Development Program – East (RADP-East) is a five-year USAID-funded project (July 2016 – October 2021) with the primary goal of expanding sustainable agriculture-led economic growth in eight target provinces of Eastern Afghanistan. RADP-East follows a facilitative and value-chain approach, working with private sector actors (e.g., farmers, agriculture input providers, processors, traders, and buyers) to identify constraints to their businesses’ performance, implement demand-driven and market-based solutions to those constraints, increase their sales, improve value chain performance, and consequently impact large numbers of smallholder farmers and families in rural areas.
Processed tomato and apricot products i.e. ketchup, paste, and jams are in demand across Afghanistan. In recent years the consumption of these products has increased in urban and rural markets. In response to the increased demand, many local processors are operating in RADP-East target areas. With assistance from RADP-East and other donor-funded projects, some larger processors have upgraded their facilities and are equipped to produce better quality products. Yet, despite establishing themselves as suppliers of high-end products in the local market, local processors face challenges competing with imported products from Iran, Pakistan, and other countries. To better compete and grow sustainably, they need to improve their product offerings and quality standards.
Taking the above challenges into account, in FY 2020 RADP-East planned a two-phase activity requiring technical expertise. In Phase I, completed in May 2020, an international STTA was hired to assess 6 apricot jam producers. This work involved reviewing the production process and assessing competencies to produce jam and meet food safety standards; ability/experience to operate and maintain modern equipment and laboratory quality testing instruments; reviewing their recipes in use and product quality targets and identifying processing constraints.
The evaluation results and recommendations from Phase I have laid the platform to implement Phase II, the purpose of which is twofold:
1. The STTA will train selected apricot jam producers on best practice production techniques to ensure consistent, high-quality jams; and to train them on recipe improvement and quality control processes.
2. Also, the STTA will conduct a similar assessment (as was done for the apricot jam processors in Phase I) of 10-12 tomato processors and will provide them training on tomato paste and ketchup production. The mentioned assessment will have a relatively limited scope, focusing on equipment evaluation and food production techniques; since other parameters such as food safety and quality control, are common for apricot and tomato processing, and most of the processors participating in Phase II produce both jam and processed tomato products.
The consultant will work with the RADP-East Value Chain Manager, the Apricot and tomato Value Chains team and select apricot and tomato processing firms.
Plan his/her activities and write an Inception Report that describes in detail the consultants’ action plan for the duration of his/her assignment. The report shall list equipment and raw materials required for the delivery of practical training.
Engage with and hold discussions with RADP-East tomato and apricot value chain teams.
Review/assess available market price data on raw material and other ingredients needed for tomato and apricot processing.
Interview and assess a minimum of 10-12 tomato processors, in collaboration with the RADP-East technical team to review their production processes, recipes, and identify processing constraints.
Based on the assessments, develop training materials that address the theoretical aspect of jam, tomato paste, and tomato ketchup production, highlighting improvements and covering the following topics:
- Standard Recipe development and improvement methods for apricot jam and tomato paste & ketchup products.
- Production processes including preservation parameters.
- Product quality evaluation and control measures.
- Laboratory and/or sensory testing and nutrition fact development.
- Proper packaging and standard labeling methods.
Provide processors with theoretical and practical training referencing training materials. (2 days for apricot jam processors and 2 days for tomato paste and ketchup processors). In addition to covering the above mentioned topics, the STTA will also cover the given below topics.
- Train apricot jam, tomato paste, and ketchup processors on developing standard labeling for their products (brand name, ingredients, nutrition facts, etc.).
- Train apricot jam, tomato paste, and ketchup processors on standard usage of food additives, and hygiene and safety practices.
Preparation of presentation and debriefing to RADP-East management (and possibly to USAID), including recommendations to the RADP-East technical team on needed follow-up actions and future consultations with processing firms after the completion of the STTA.
Write a final report summarizing observations and recommendations, including needed follow-up actions.
Total LOE days (excluding travel)
§ Minimum of bachelor degree in food nutrition, food technology or equivalent subjects from an accredited university.
§ A minimum of eight years’ experience in the food processing sector, with particular experience in developing and producing fruit jams, ketchup and tomato pastes.
§ Developed understanding of the relevant food value chains, and the interpendencies between key actors.
§ Prior experience in Afghanistan or the region, or in settings with similar developmental challenges.
§ Strong technical presentation and writing skills in English language.
Conditions of Work Requirements
Work and living facilities are in high security zones with frequent security drills and protocols and limited access to medical facilities. General work environment and living quarters requires ability to walk numerous flights of stairs on a daily basis. Security protocols require the individual in this position to be able to quickly climb multiple flights of stairs while wearing 30 lbs. of personal protective equipment, walk swiftly or run across uneven terrain without assistance, and enter and exit project vehicles without assistance.