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Overview of project
One of the objective in Horti-LIFE II project is the establishment of sustainable seed multiplication systems for onions and seed potatoes. The targets are to create 100 jobs and to provide 8.000 farmers with high quality, locally produced seeds.
SNV is looking for a senior international seed system expert to support the national team in realising these ambitions. This ToR outlines the role and responsibility of the international seed system expert. It is part and parcel of the framework contract to be signed
Objective of the seed component
Horti-LIFE II aims to improve smallholders’ access to high quality locally produced onion and seed potatoes. The expected result are sustainable seed production systems for these two crops. This will be realised via three outputs:
Improved availability of high quality pre-basic seeds from research centres
Commercially sustainable multiplication by 20 commercial farms or farmers coops
Functional seed quality control- and traceability systems
Role of international seed system expert
The main constraints in the onion and potato seed multiplication systems have been identified in the preparation of the project proposal and are summarises here.
Onion OP varieties are locally multiplied and the multiplication ratio between generations is high. The area needed for seed production is less than 1% of the total area. Yet, Melkassa research centre does not produce sufficient basic seeds as it has no incentive to do so. It has to sell seeds for 120% of the cost of production. So while it sells onion seeds for 100 ETB/kg, commercial multipliers pay 300 ETB/kg for this (and the retail price to farmers is 600 ETB/kg).
Another problem is that seed multipliers (commercial farms and coops) lack threshing, cleaning and packaging equipment. Cleaning one kg of onions seeds requires 3-5 days of manual labour. Simple equipment can reduce these costs.
The potato case is much more complicated. The multiplication factor per generation is much lower and some 14% of the total potato area is needed to produce seeds. Being propagated via tubers the risks of carrying viruses, fungi and bacteria from one generation to the next are huge. In practice the first three generations are produced under controlled circumstances by research centres: Holetta and Adet. The fourth generation is multiplied by selected commercial farmers and coops. As research provides only small amounts these multipliers continue to multiply up to G8 while selling off some of the intermediate generations in the process as well.
The economics of the seed chain are very complex as the yield potential of each generation is 5-10% lower than the previous one. So early generation seeds have a much higher value than later generation seeds; yet this is not reflected in the price. For example: if G5 seed sells at 10 ETB/kg, the value of G3 seeds would be around 100 ETB/kg. Yet, in practice they sell for 20 ETB/kg. As long as the price does not reflect the value, farmers keep early generation seeds rather then selling them (even if they claim to be seed potato producers).
The value will not be properly represented in the price as long as there is no strict traceability system to certify the generation of the seed. And without a proper price the incentive to invest in the early generation seeds is insufficient. Any traceability system needs to be based on an inspection and certification system.
Much training is needed so that farmers understand the value of each generation of seeds. NGOs and cooperatives need to be trained as they often give seed potatoes too cheap to farmers. Seed potato coops should charge members much more for earlier generation seeds. This will allow them to make the profits they need to procure early generation seeds from research (Holetta / Adet). The profit also has to be used to organise the inspection and certification of Quality Declared Seeds (QDS) by the coop and woreda experts.
A number of technical issues have to be tackled as well. It is difficult to get disease free starting materials. Research centres should maintain virus-free basic materials (via meristem cultures). In practice they struggle doing this as they focus on research and not on multiplication. Like many government institutions they struggle with managing and maintaining production facilities. The International Potato Centre (CIP) support the research centres yet their support is declining over the last few years.
Designing improved systems requires the following three steps at each of the three levels:
Understand the impediments of the (1) research centres, (2) the multipliers and (3) the inspectors (technical; financial; human resources; bureaucracy)
Propose systemic improvements to overcome these impediments in consultation with all relevant stakeholders
Design support mechanisms for Horti-LIFE to support the implementation of the systemic improvements
The international expert will support Horti-LIFE via support mission of two or three weeks. Each mission will be based on a ToR with specific objectives and deliverables. Each mission will have two days for preparation and reporting. If additional days are needed for the international expert in his home base this will be indicated in the ToR.
The international seed system expert works with the senior national seed production expert on the above outcomes. The principle task division between them is that the international expert focuses on the design of systemic improvements in the seed systems and the senior national expert on the implementation together with the relevant partners (research centres, commercial farms, farmers’ coops etc.).
- Minimum 10 years of experience
- PhD on Seed System (or MSc with excellent field experience)
- Fields of study in Seed Systems, preferably with special attention to seed potato
- Experience with seed potatoes in Ethiopia is a must
- Experience with small-holder agriculture
- Detailed knowledge of seed potato production system
- Experience with research and extension
- Excellent communication skills
Contract Duration: 140 days from Sep 2019 to June 2023 under a consultancy agreement
Expected Start Date: September/October 2019.
Duty Station: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Working at SNV
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How to Apply
A covering letter that explains motivation
A commitment to be available for this assignment for the total duration of the project
An explanation of yout experience in seed system development and in seed potato production in particular and how you can use the Lessons Learnt from your work in this new assignment
A full CV
The desired fee: a flat rate per day (whether in Ethiopia or elsewhere) which should include all taxes. SNV-Ethiopia will pay 15% withholding tax for the days in Ethiopia. The consultant will get a confirmation of this paid amount which can be deducted from the tax in the home country.
NB: Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted