National Pineapple Production Specialist

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FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

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Application deadline 5 months ago: Monday 22 Aug 2022 at 21:59 UTC

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Organizational Setting

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger. Our goal is to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. With over 194 member states, FAO works in over 130 countries worldwide. We believe that everyone can play a part in ending hunger.

FAO’s Country Office for Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname (FAOTT/FAOSUR) and its Food Systems and Food Safety Division (ESF) at FAO HQ (Rome), under the Agri-food Systems Transformation Accelerator (ASTA) program co-led with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, and funded by the UNSDG fund, is implementing a project for the sustainable development of the pineapple value chain (VC) in Suriname.

ESF supports a coordinated approach to the development of food systems, including inter alia, (i) the development of sustainable food value chains (SFVC) and sustainable investments across value chains (VC); (ii) the strengthening of food safety and quality at national, regional and international levels, (iii) the reductions in food loss and waste, (iv) the implementation of the urban food agenda and (v) the engagement in global level dialogues, platforms and initiatives

The ASTA project in Suriname aims to facilitate the country’s transformation from a marginal pineapple producer characterized by traditional growing practices, little value-addition and no exports, to an established producer and exporter of high quality organic fresh and processed pineapples. Applying an inclusive, sustainable VC approach, the programme will enable pineapple VC actors, notably indigenous producers, to increase their productivity, competitiveness, and access to markets.

To do so, three separate yet interconnected entities, will be introduced by the project: a Collateral Support Facility, a Pineapple Cooperative Development (PCD) company and a pineapple innovation Hub (the ‘Hub’), which will be set up as a one-stop-shop for all producer needs in terms of access to inputs, services, finance and technical assistance.

The purpose of this call is to provide FAOTT/FAOSUR and ESF with a list of qualified National Pineapple Production Specialist to support the Hub and PCD activities. Selected candidates could be contracted for short term technical assignments (2-6 weeks) of for longer contracts (up to 11-month with the possibility of extension). The National Pineapple Production Specialist will be part of the ASTA team, with support from a range of UN experts. Her/his primary role will be to lead the day-to-day agronomic activities under the supervision of the international agronomist of the project. This covers everything from setting up input and services provision, over the entire growth cycle to the post-harvest handling, organic standard applications, use of a digital platform for technical support and monitoring, training of farmers, technical support to post-harvest and pack-house operations, as well as simple laboratory testing.

Reporting Lines

The National Pineapple Production Specialist will work under the overall supervision of the Assistant FAO Representative (Programme), Trinidad & Tobago and Suriname Country Office and the direct supervision of the ASTA project manager or ESF Economist Officers.

Technical Focus

The role of the national pineapple specialist will be directly linked to the Hub and PCD. She/he will provide agronomic technical support and advice, and capacity development for the operationalization of pineapple value chain development investments and actions, in collaboration with country stakeholders and cooperating partners, to generate positive sustainability outcomes, notably in terms of value-added generation, smallholder farmer incomes, job creation, government revenue generation, and impacts on natural resources (notably forests).

Tasks and responsibilities

The successful candidate will support the above areas of work, and in particular will assist with one or more of the following tasks:

• Get familiar with the ASTA methodology, project goals and activities, and with the upgraded business model for organic pineapple production. • Under the guidance of an international pineapple production expert, acquire knowledge and skills about modern organic pineapple production, amongst others (and if feasible) through a training trip to Costa Rica, and build project management capacities with the aim to fully and independently manage the Hub's agronomy activities by the end of the project (March 2026). • Under guidance of an international pineapple production expert, an international finance and management expert and the core ASTA team, support the implementation of the Pineapple Innovation Hub workplan, including the following activities: - designing, organizing and implementing initial field trials for selected Surinamese pineapple varieties, including training and guiding the selected farmers. - collecting and processing economic and agronomic data from the trials in more refined farm business models, improved practices and associated refinements of the growers’ manual. - developing and continuously improving a grower’s manual for different Surinamese pineapple varieties, based on field-data collection (using the digital platform and direct farm visits). - carrying out varieties testing and the collection of data on varieties to be processed in a varieties booklet and to be included in the grower´s manual. - defining selection criteria and operationalizing the selection process for farmers to participate in the project, notably for the group of the first 25 farmers to shift to the upgraded business model. - establishing and managing a farmers’ database - developing outgrower production plans linked to contract production and supplies to a packhouse and implementing these plans in terms of timing and quality/quantity control. - using and improving the digital platform for technical purposes, the associated collection of economic and agronomic data on the adoption of improved practices by farmers (continuous learning on scale of adoption and reasons for non-adoption) and the resulting adaption of the Hub's support activities to promote higher adoption levels (continuous adaptation). Using the platform to the maximum extent to provide a real-time help-desk function to growers encountering problems that need to be addressed urgently (such as disease occurrences) and to learn about farmers´ challenges, concerns, needs and ideas. Include the specific needs of young and female farmers in this context. - developing and implementing a plan to ensure the steady supply of quality planting material suitable for organic pineapple production; assist farmers specializing in the production of such planting materials. - setting up a network of input and services suppliers with associated arrangements to provide these to contract farmers - establishing linkages with buyers. - providing regular technical assistance on and training in organic pineapple production (upgraded business model) to the smallholder farmers, including through focus groups, demo training events on the trial farms, and training videos, facilitating the year-round production of high-quality pineapples. Include the specific needs of young and female farmers in this context (and adapt as needed). - providing training specifically targeting workers on pineapple farms, considering the possible specific needs of young and female workers. - facilitating the organic certification of participating farmers (including through trainings of farmers, taking into consideration the specific needs of women and youth). - facilitating from a technical perspective, the design and operationalization of a conflict resolution mechanism for VC actors. - managing post-harvest handling and supporting packhouse operations. - supporting work on intellectual property rights related to the pineapple varieties. • Participate in meetings, focus group discussions and workshops, including regular meetings with the core ASTA team, credit committee, the PCD board, official and indigenous authorities, and other relevant VC actors and stakeholders. • Support the preparation, from a technical perspective, of project progress reports and contribute to project communication and visibility activities, including providing content and pictures for the development of “stories from the field”. • Support preparation and delivery of presentations on the field experience to a variety of audiences (including potential buyers, donor partners, investors, ministries, farmer cooperatives, the PUNOs, and others). • Assist in the identification and hiring of national and international consultants and institutional partners to support the implementation of project activities. • Preparing and supporting missions by the international agronomist • Support Hub team in maintaining links with the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries (LVV), the Ministry of Regional Development and the Center for Agricultural Research in Suriname (CELOS). • Perform other related duties, as required.


Minimum Requirements

• Bachelor’s degree in environmental studies, agricultural science, natural resources management or a related field. • At least 1 year of relevant experience in organic and conventional pineapple production or relevant fields • National of Suriname or resident in the country with valid work permit • Working knowledge of English.

FAO Core Competencies

• Results Focus • Teamwork • Communication • Building Effective Relationships • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

• Geographic relevance of experience (Suriname, Caribbean) • Commodity relevance of experience (hands-on experience, pineapple, tropical fruits) Extent and relevance of experience in participating in multidisciplinary teams for managing development project or project activities. • Extent and relevance of experience in capacity development in development projects • Demonstrated experience in working with value chain actors, support providers, government officials, and other country level stakeholders • Working knowledge of Dutch and Sranan Tongo would be considered an asset.

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