SCOPE OF WORK
Pre- and Post-Harvest Expert
Title/Position: Pre- and Post-Harvest Expert
Level of Effort: On/a 15-20 days of LOE
Period of Performance: On/a May 1 – 31, 2021
Place of Performance: Tajikistan
The Feed the Future Tajikistan Agriculture and Land Governance (ALG) Activity is a USAID funded 5-year activity that will assist the Government of Tajikistan (GOT) to sustainably reduce hunger, undernutrition, and poverty of smallholder farmers by developing more productive and efficient agriculture systems, building the resilience of smallholder farmers and improving the enabling environment to facilitate sustainable and long-term agriculture-led growth. It contributes to the USAID Global Food Security Strategy’s (GFSS) top-line goals of accelerated agriculture-led growth, better nutritional outcomes, improved food security, land tenure security, greater resilience, and better water security.
The Activity purpose will be achieved through the following components:
1. Enhance productive agriculture systems
2. Strengthen the resilience of vulnerable smallholders
3. Improve the enabling environment
During the first six months, the Activity selected a limited number of value chains and conducted an in-depth analysis of those targeted value chains. The analysis resulted in the identification of potential partners for the project and laid out an initial strategy for strengthening the value chains and improving smallholders’ incomes and nutrition.
One of the key issues identified during the Value Chain Analysis (VCA) was the high level of post-harvest losses for stone fruits due to poor knowledge on harvesting practices, cold chain management, and limited access to cooling and packaging facilities. In addition, farmers have limited knowledge on proper pre-harvest practices which also affect the final quality and shelf life of the fruit. A few observations from the VCA concerning the Zone of Influence (ZOI):
· It is vital to apply a certain ratio of crop nutrition, irrigation patterns, and IPM management before the harvesting that will affect the final quality and shelf life of the product. Farmers have limited knowledge on these practices and specifically on nitrates, heavy metals, and other pesticide residue which often becomes key factors for product rejection the export market;
· To decrease the risk of losses during harvesting and post-harvest transportation, farmers harvest pre-mature fruit (half green). Maturity is controlled when the truck arrives at the end market destination by turning off the refrigerator in the truck and keeping the fruits for 24 hours or more in a warmer climate which results in the color changing. This affects the taste and quality and shortens the product’s shelf life;
· Shortcomings in harvesting practices, sorting, and packaging before loading on to trucks needs to be observed during the peak season to identify improvements; and
· Existing pre-cooling practices also need to be observed during the peak season in order to recommend or develop an optimal model of cold chain for the next season.
The objective of this assignment is to engage a consultant to assess and identify specific issues related to harvest and post-harvest practices in the ZOI. This includes a) the extent possible to which improved harvesting practices for the coming season; b) set up quality standards for the next season based on identified shortcomings; and c) make key recommendations for developing an optimal model of cold chain management (pre-cooling, sorting grading, packaging, transportation). The consultant assesses districts identified as priority districts for fresh fruits based on volume including: Shahritus, Qubodiyon, Nosiri Khisrav, Kushoniyon and Jaloliddini Balhi.
The Consultant will be responsible for the following tasks with a specific focus on stone fruit:
- Pre-harvest issues:
- Observe and document existing practices on crop nutrition, irrigation, and IPM before and during growing period that affect the final quality and shelf life of the product.
- Output: Key issues identified, and recommendations made for improvements in training manuals in terms of crop nutrition, irrigation, pattern and IPM.
- Harvest and post-harvest:
- Observe harvesting practices during the peak season and recommend, prepare local trainers on improved harvesting practices: instruments used during harvesting, right harvesting time, keeping fruits in the shade etc.
- Output: Train local experts and one harvesting brigade on improved harvesting practices. Recommend training brigades linked to a potential export partner and/or aggregators with whom the Activity intends to collaborate.
- Set up Harvest Quality Criteria -
i. Observe, document, and train local experts on setting up harvest quality criteria. During harvesting time, the expert will observe, study, and document following criteria: how local farmers define the right time for harvesting in terms of maturity: color, firmness, acidity, pulp temperature, sugar content. The following tools are required for this task and establishing a mini laboratory:
1. Pulp temperature measurement
5. Fruit initial thermometer
6. Titrator for acidity
7. Glass laboratory equipment
ii. Output: Develop a color chart and set up harvest quality criteria and train local experts on identifying quality criteria (maturity and right harvesting time).
- Pre-cooling and Cold Chain Management
- Assess existing practices and identify key bottlenecks and make recommendations for developing a full fledge business model on cold chain: establishing cold storage, with, sorting, grading, packaging, labeling, and cooling capacity.
- Output: identify with the team strategic locations of the cold storage in terms of volume and proximity to orchards concentration and assess the area in terms of transport access. Based on this make recommendations for either upgrading an existing cold storage facility (if one already exists within proximity) or suggest where and to what specifications to build a new one. Develop estimated plan and budget for the most optimal/effective option (building a new one or upgrading an existing one).
Written report on key pre-harvest issues and recommendations.
Conduct (1) on-the-job site training for 15 attendees on improved harvesting practices.
Conduct (1) training for 15 attendees on improved harvest quality criteria.
Written report on key cold chain issues and recommendations.
The Consultant will report to the Chief of Party and will work closely with the Agricultural Productivity Team Lead (Component 1).
- Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field, Master’s degree preferred
- Experience working in agricultural production and pre-harvest activities, stone fruit preferred.
- Experience working in post-harvest activities, stone fruit preferred.
- Experience managing and advising on cold chain activities.
Interested applicants should send their CVs to TajikistanALGRecruitment@dai.com with the subject line, “EOI: Pre- and Post-Harvest Expert”. CVs will be reviewed on a rolling basis.
Please note that this Scope of Work must be performed on site and in-country. Applicants must be willing and able to travel to Tajikistan.