Agricultural Record Keeping Extension Specialist – 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 (SPS) standards. Presently, many vegetable and fruit producers do not adequately adopt recommended good agricultural practices. This results in the production of low-quality products that are 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. These notifications 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) recently conducted an integrated pest management (IPM)-focused value chain assessment on mango and chili. One of the findings of this assessment is that record keeping at the grower level is limited and records are largely unavailable. This is attributed to low levels of capacity in record keeping among most small-scale farmers. Proper record keeping should reflect, at minimum, the varieties grown, planting dates, and other agronomic practices. There should also be records on sources of agro-chemicals, types, and application dates. The technical capacity of farmers will need to be increased in order for them to undertake proper record keeping in their farm enterprises. IFSSP is supporting this effort by deploying volunteer experts to provide training on record keeping systems and small business practices to previously 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 will provide market-based solutions to generate buy-in for adherence to SPS standards and participation in a traceability system. The project will also strengthen the sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) compliance system for Ghanaian fruits and vegetables, and facilitate collaboration between the public and private sector for active growth in productivity and export trade.
Objectives of the Assignment:
- To enhance the skills and knowledge and build capacity of farmers through training in good record keeping systems and small business practices
- To make recommendations that would lead to the adoption and application of good record keeping systems on farmer fields
Tasks to be Performed
The tasks to be performed are to develop training protocols and use them for training of producers and ‘training of trainers’ (ToT) for agriculture extension agents. These protocols could cover the following areas:
- What is record keeping
- Importance of record keeping
- General principles of record keeping
- Steps to good record keeping
- Record keeping for small scale farmers as it pertains to incorporation into traceability systems, including planting dates, source of seeds/seedlings, farm size, cultural practices (weeding, sowing, fertilizing, spraying), type of agro-chemicals used, cost of operations/equipment, harvesting, sales (when possible information needed for the pilot traceability system will also be shared)
Review the following documents:
- Preexisting record keeping training materials from host organization
- IESC Type 2 PERSUAP Assignment Volunteer Package (see PERSUAP information below)
- Report on IPM-focused value chain assessment developed under this project
The volunteer is also expected to work on the following with inputs from IFSSP staff before traveling to Ghana:
- Finalization of training plan
- Development of training curriculum
- Development of training materials
- Train 350 farmers in record keeping principles and best practices
- Provide recommendations for adoption of these practices by producers
F2F Programmatic Pesticide Evaluation Report and Safer Use Action Plan (PERSUAP) Requirements:
In view of 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. However, the volunteer is not expected to recommend or provide advice on specific pesticide active ingredients or products. 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
- Training Manuals/Protocols
- PERSUAP after assignment report
Expertise of Volunteer Expert Requested:
- Higher university degree in agronomy, agricultural science, or a related field
- 10 years’ experience in agricultural development
- Experience with agricultural record keeping
- Experience with training and mentoring subsistence farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa, preferably West Africa
- 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 the content
- Good facilitation skills
- Flexibility and ability to work with large groups of varying ages, experiences, and literacy levels