Agronomist Volunteer Expert
Ghana has a very high potential for commercial fruit and vegetable production and export. However, for the country to access international markets, Ghanaian products must comply with sanitary and phytosanitary standards. Presently, many vegetable and fruit producers do not adequately adopt recommended good agricultural practices. This results in the production of low quality produce that is often rejected or intercepted in international trade, especially in European Union markets. In 2014, the European Union (Ghana’s major export market) provided an official notice to the Government of Ghana regarding the presence of harmful organisms in Ghanaian horticultural products. The notification and rejections indicate that capacity and awareness challenges exist not just at the producer level, but also with inspection and export certification. Until the challenges in Ghana’s SPS compliance system are resolved, Ghana’s fruit and vegetable farmers will be constrained in their access to external markets. Capacity building for farmers will ensure that exporters can source quality produce that meets required market standards. The Improving Food Safety Systems Project (IFSSP) is supporting this effort by deploying volunteer experts to provide training to identified export-oriented vegetable producers.
IFSSP is funded by USAID through Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA) and implemented by the International Executive Service Corps (IESC). IFSSP is providing market-based solutions to generate buy-in for adherence to SPS standards and participation in a traceability system. The project is also strengthening the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) compliance system for Ghanaian fruits and vegetables and facilitating collaboration between the public and private sector for active growth in productivity and export trade.
Objectives of the Assignment:
- To enhance skills and build capacity of vegetable farmers in recommended agricultural best practices to improve produce quality
- To promote farmer adoption and application of good agricultural practices
Tasks to be Performed
The task to be performed is to conduct training based on current production technique gaps for producers and for agriculture extension agents. Training is expected to cover the following broad areas:
- The importance of good agricultural practices (GAP) in the horticultural value chain
- Site selection and land preparation
- Soil fertility and nutrient management
- Water resources and irrigation practices
- Seed, crop selection, and seedlings production
- Hygiene in the field
- Assessment of produce maturity and harvesting
F2F Programmatic Pesticide Evaluation Report and Safer Use Action Plan (PERSUAP) Requirements:
Due to the fact that this assignment may provide indirect assistance for the use or procurement of pesticides, the volunteer will likely be in the field and may have the opportunity to encourage good practices in pesticide use and discourage bad practices. The volunteer is not expected to recommend or provide advice on specific pesticide active ingredients or products. He/she would however provide a brief report on observations made during field visits and evaluate this against PERSUAP requirements. For this assignment, the volunteer must do the following for a Type 2 assignment:
- Review the F2F Environmental Brochure and the F2F Programmatic Pesticide Evaluation Report-Safe Use Action Plan (PERSUAP) and shall comply with requirements described in Section 4 of the SUAP when providing “assistance for the procurement or use” of pesticides. The consultant is not expected to provide recommendations for specific pesticide active ingredients or products, but rather to provide advice, if necessary, on safe use of pesticides, and to discourage poor practices in pesticide use, transport, mixing, storage, application, and disposal.
- Review the guidance in attachments B, C, F, and H of the PERSUAP and the information in the pesticide questionnaire that each country F2F Program submitted during preparation of this PERSUAP, and shall be prepared to provide recommendations, based on this guidance, to recipients of F2F technical assistance.
- At his/her discretion, provide recommendations to the F2F country office for additional F2F support for pesticide safe use training, IPM, or other pesticide-related topics.
- Submit a brief report describing: (1) Limitations and successes of the PERSUAP; (2) Recommendations for additional technical assistance and training needed to improve pest and pesticide management practices; and (3) New recommendations on IPM practices and feedback on the effectiveness of IPM practices used locally.
End of Assignment Report and Other Deliverables Required:
- Volunteer Trip Report
- Final copies of all training manual/protocols/materials used for training
Expertise of Volunteer Expert Requested:
- Higher university degree in agronomy, agricultural science, or a related field
- 10 years’ experience in agricultural development
- Experience with training on agricultural principles and best practices
- Experience with training and mentoring subsistence farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa preferred
- Good writing and analytical skills, interpersonal communication and presentation skills (adult education skills), ability and desire to teach in both classroom and field settings
- Ability to quickly adapt to new working environments and use interpreters. Ability to sense and identify if the interpretation is correct and farmers are understanding training content
- Good facilitation skills
- Flexibility and ability to work with large groups of varying ages, experiences, and literacy levels