Agricultural Groups and Cooperatives Management Expert Volunteer
***This assignment is being posted on behalf of MEDA (Mennonite Economic Development Associates)***
Interested applicants please apply here:
Location of Assignment: Iringa and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Proposed Level of Effort: 6 weeks
Anticipated Start Date: Nov 2018
The Tanzania Enabling Growth through Investment and Enterprise Program (ENGINE) is a four-year, USAID-funded Feed the Future activity awarded through the Volunteers for Economic Growth Alliance (VEGA), that aims to streamline and enhance many of the regulatory, informational and financial channels that encourage domestic and foreign investment in the southern mainland agricultural regions of Mbeya, Morogoro, and Iringa, and in Zanzibar.
ENGINE works at the district level, using a broad-based approach to engage with district Local Government Authorities (LGAs), private sector associations, business development service providers, financial institutions and small and medium enterprises. The program’s activities are divided into three main components:
- Implement policies for growth. Build the capacity of the private sector to effectively dialogue with the government to set the policy agenda and improve the capacity of the public sector to implement policies.
- Equip businesses for growth. Strengthen SME capacity and foster the growth and capacity of a sustainable market for business development services (BDS) in Tanzania.
- Access to finance for growth. Broaden access to finance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially women and youth entrepreneurs and those working within agricultural value chains, to facilitate increased investment and growth.
The ENGINE Program is currently working with 4 Lead Agribusiness Firms by providing Technical Assistance (TA) and Training to both the firms and key members of their supply and distribution chains. The partner in this assignment is the Pyrethrum Company of Tanzania or “PCT”. PCT currently has a monopoly position in Tanzania as the sole pyrethrum flower buyer and processor. Its parent company, based in the United States, has instructed PCT to improve both the quality and quantity of pyrethrum (“Py”). Hence, PCT buys and will continue to buy ALL of the Py cultivated in Tanzania.
While not a new crop to Tanzania (Tanzania is Africa’s second largest grower of pyrethrum), it is known for poor quality and therefore poor yield. Currently PCT works with 16,000 smallholder farmers and a few semi-commercial farmers to source its raw material. In 2017, they purchased 2,359 tons of Py flower, resulting in 76.2 tons of crude Py oleoresin. The main problem faced by PCT is the poor quality of the harvests. The second problem is insufficient quantity to meet market demand. PCT’s processing plant in Iringa has a capacity of 10mt per month. Thus, not including the second plant they have already purchased, they are only running at 63% capacity.
Currently, buying agents collect and combine the harvests of 100’s of farmers before delivering to the factory. A cross section of the delivery is tested for quality which determines the price paid to the farmers. This serves as a disincentive to improve quality as those who do not bring down the quantity anyway. Part of PCT’s strategy is to form small farmers “solidarity” groups of between 30-35 farmers. This is expected to provide sufficient incentive for the groups to better manage the crops and maximize their return. Note, the payment for Py, as determined by the Tanzanian Pyrethrum Board, ranges from 2,300 Tsh/kg (base price) up to 4,000 Tsh/kg for top quality. Currently, the average paid is 2,800 Tsh/kg leaving plenty of room for improvement. PCT has recently started forming the groups using their field extension agents, but without the training component, they have had limited success.
To increase quantity, PCT is investigating the possibility of promoting Py to emerging commercial farmers, semi-commercial farmers, Agricultural Marketing Cooperative Societies (AMCOS), and other group formations, which are typically made up of hundreds of farmers, as an additional cash crop. Early market tests have shown this is indeed a potential opportunity.
Objectives of the Assignment
Working closely with PCT’s executive team, and possibly World Lutheran Relief (WLR), the main objective of this assignment is to design and deliver an organizational and operational training course for primarily semi-commercial farmers, emerging commercial farmers, and organized groups of smallholder farmers. Whereas PCT will focus on the agricultural aspects of growing, harvesting, and drying Py, the expert volunteer will focus on matters regarding the formation and management of groups. This includes a better definition of the roles and responsibilities of the board, executive team, and where applicable lead farmers. It also includes a simple and clearly articulated financial analysis showing the value of investing the time needed to improve quality. Another financial scenario required is a comparative analysis between growing an acre of maize versus growing an acre of Py. Other topics include financial management, loan preparedness, record keeping, PCT payment and allocation practices, group operating principles, and group dynamics. The expert, working hand in hand with a select group of local Business Development Services Providers (BDSPs), will also develop a training of the trainers (TOT) manual such that upon completion of the assignment, the BDSPs will be fully capable of delivering the course on a fee-for-service basis. Lastly, using much of the information collected and analyses conducted, the expert will work with PCT staff in developing a PCT Pyrethrum Farmer’s Reference Manual comprising both business and agricultural guideline materials, comparative analyses, sample record keeping sheets, and other didactic information as developed or requested.
ENGINE will pre-select between 3-5 local Business Development Services Providers (BDSPs) to work with the volunteer expert to assist with the development and delivery of the training curriculum. This will ensure the content is developed at the right level and in the most appropriate format. The Chief Operating Officer of PCT in Tanzania has assured us that the appropriate counterpart staff from his management and field teams will be made available to work with the expert and his or her team.
The Expert Volunteer will complete the following tasks:
- Attend an orientation meeting with ENGINE Program staff in Dar es Salaam;
- Accompanied by the BDS Coordinator in Iringa, participate in an introductory meeting with PCT’s Executive team to review the Scope of Work and approach to the assignment;
- Accompanied by the BDS Coordinator in Iringa, participate in an introductory meeting and SOW review with the pre-selected BDSP(s) assigned to work on this assignment;
- Working with the BDS Coordinator in Iringa, representatives from the selected BDSP(s), and designated PCT staff as applicable, develop a work plan detailing the data, key informant interviews, and any other information, documentation, meetings, and travel required to achieve the objective of this assignment (complete by end of week 1);
- Led the implementation of the work plan, keeping both the BDS Iringa Coordinator and the designated PCT counterpart informed, especially with respect to any obstacles and challenges encountered;
- Develop the training course and train the BDSP(s) (TOT) such they are fully able to deliver it. Consider running a pilot with one or two SHF groups and/or commercial farmers;
- Develop the PCT Pyrethrum Farmer’s Reference Manual as described above;
- Submit drafts of all relevant documentation at least 5 working days prior to the end of the assignment, allowing both ENGINE and PCT a chance to review and comment;
- Write a Final Trip Report summarizing findings, conclusions and recommendations related to the assignment, as well as have a discussion with ENGINE program staff on challenges and recommended solutions; and
- Provide exit debriefings to ENGINE and USAID as deemed appropriate.
Logistics with regard to in-country travel between Dar es Salaam, Iringa, and surrounds will be determined when developing the work plan (Item D) above.
The timing of this intervention is anticipated to take place in January or February 2019 (directly after the planting season) but the exact timing is flexible as it is dependent on the expert’s and PCT’s availability.
The Expert Volunteer will submit the following deliverables:
- A training curriculum focused on the management and operational practices of smallholder and semi-commercial farmers cultivating pyrethrum. Templates for use by the groups, where applicable, would be well received.
- A TOT training guide or instructor’s manual for the BDSPs who will be delivering the training.
- A draft PCT Pyrethrum Farmer’s Reference Manual collating both agricultural as well as business practices.
- An end of assignment report for PCT capturing the key findings, challenges, conclusions, and recommended solutions going forward.
- An exit debriefing to ENGINE program staff, and USAID as deemed appropriate, including an overview of the assignment challenges and proposed solutions.
The Expert Volunteer will also submit a Final Trip Report to the ENGINE Program that includes the following sections:
C.Findings, conclusions, and recommendations for both PCT and ENGINE going forward;
D. A discussion of assignment objectives and how they were met or why they were not met; and
E. A list of people interviewed and key documents obtained.
Note, PCT will be responsible for translating all of the written materials from English into Kiswahili.
Expert Volunteer Qualifications
The ideal Agricultural Cooperative Formation and Management Expert Volunteer will have the following skills and qualifications:
- 5+ years of experience working with consultancy firms, especially those that provide services to smallholder farmers.
- Knowledge and experience in providing group formation and management consultancy services to farmers groups in developing countries; experience in sub-Saharan Africa strongly preferred;
- A proven track record in training, coaching or mentoring BDSPs;
- Experience in Training of Trainers in certified consultant programs is highly desired;
- Experience in stakeholder engagement, consultation, and facilitation;
- Well-developed written and verbal communication skills in English. Any knowledge of Kiswahili would be a distinct advantage;
- University degree in agricultural economics, agriculture, business administration, or another relevant field;
- Training and consultation experience utilizing a translator or interpreter is an added plus;
- Self-motivated, proactive, detail-oriented, mature, professional team player, with good inter-personal skills and a passion to make a difference;
- Ability to address issues, challenges, questions, and concerns in a professional, culturally respectful, logical, and timely manner;
- Strong cultural awareness and experience in working in multi-cultural settings;
- Good computer skills in MS Office.