Request for Proposals: To conduct Feasibility Study “Strengthening the Agricultural Extension Services in Ethiopia” Vacancy in Ethiopia

Country: Ethiopia
Organization: International Labour Organization
Closing date: 30 Sep 2021

Organisational Unit/Department: ILO Country Office, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Technical Cooperation Programme: ProAgro Ethiopia–‘Promotion of Decent Work in Agribusiness’ Project

1. Background information

The Pro Agro Project, funded by the Special Initiative on Training and Job Creation of Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), aims to support job creation, labour formalisation and enterprise development in the agricultural and agro-processing sectors of Ethiopia. One of the first activities of the project has consisted in three market system analysis (MSA) reports, which investigate the main barriers that prevent decent work and enterprise development in the three sub-sectors of “fruits and vegetables”, “edible oil” and “poultry”.

One of the main findings of the MSA reports was that Ethiopia’s agricultural extension services system is currently underperforming. The Government of Ethiopia operates a relatively widespread network of development agents in rural Ethiopia, but these officers have general specialisations in one of the following three areas: crop, livestock or natural resources with limited technical knowledge on specific crops or commodities. This means that the services of development agents are not always of the required quality to improve agricultural production and that, at times of high demand, Ethiopian development agents struggle to reach all rural households in need of support. Furthermore, while large-scale farmers have their own technical specialists, mid-sized farms are too big to be covered by the government-backed agricultural extension service system but too small to be able to afford their own technical staff.

While these barriers make the national agricultural extension service system less effective than it could be, it should also be clear that the role of extension officers is not that of giving continued support to farmers on a daily basis, which would be too expensive, but rather of helping farmers become self-reliant through ad-hoc advice, either in person or remotely. In this respect, the role of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) should be better explored to enhance both the quality and the outreach of Ethiopian agricultural extension services.

2. Objective of the assignment

The objective of the assignment is to provide the Government of Ethiopia, notably the Ministry of Agriculture (Agricultural Extension Directorate) with evidence-based proposals and solutions to improve the performance of the national agricultural extension services system, including through the use of ICT and the transfer of crop- and commodity-specific extension and advisory services from development agents to farmers and other producers.

The study would focus on three sectors of fruits and vegetables, poultry and edible oils. It will draw on the findings of the three MSA reports, additional desk research on the contents and delivery arrangements of Ethiopia’s agricultural extension services nationally, and field research involving interviews and consultations with policy makers and government officers in charge of the design and implementation of agricultural extension services. The field research will mostly take place in the regions of Amhara and Sidama, those where the Pro Agro project is focusing its activities.

The international consultant will be supported by a national consultant who will help with the organisation of the required meetings. Interpretation services will also be provided during the meetings.

Should travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic continue in the last quarter of 2021, the field mission will take place through online meetings during which simultaneous interpretation services will still be provided.

The recommendation from the assignment should contribute to current reform of agricultural extension services in Ethiopia, also drawing on the experience of alternative extension models from other countries with similar governance structure. The final report will, therefore, discuss some good practices of agricultural extension services from other countries with the aim to draw policy lessons for Ethiopia.

3. Specific Tasks

Feasibility report on “Strengthening Agricultural Extension Services in Ethiopia (Based on desk research and field mission)

The international consultant will prepare a technical report leading to evidence-based recommendations aimed at improving the effectiveness and efficiency of agricultural extension services in Ethiopia generally and of Amhara and Sidama regions specifically. The report will be based on an in-depth assessment of the current strengths and weaknesses of agricultural extension services in both regions and in Ethiopia and alternative extension models implemented in other countries. The recommendations for strengthening agricultural extension services system will outline both future contents and delivery arrangements.

The role of ICT in delivering better extension services should be explored and, in particular, in the selection and analysis of alternative extension models and in the final recommendation for strengthening extension services**.**

The preparation of the report will be based on desk research, interview with Ministry of Agriculture, regional bureaus and extension specialists and other relevant stakeholders, and a field mission to Ethiopia where the international consultant will meet with relevant national stakeholders. As noted earlier, whether the field mission will take place on site or remotely will depend on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic, although the preference would be for an on-site mission.

4. Methodology

The preparation of the feasibility study will be based on:

  • Interviews with senior policy makers from the Ministry of Agriculture/Extension Directorate, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Agricultural Transformation Agency, other relevant sector stakeholders(appropriate questionnaires will be used as a tool)

  • Review of Ethiopia’s ten year perspective plan , focusing on Ministry of Agriculture plan on revision of extension strategy

  • Review of past research on the constraints the Ethiopian extension system, current government and development partners initiatives,

  • Assessment of the experience and good practices from other countries (especially Africa) that could be transferred, after adaptation, to Ethiopia

5. Tentative outline of the report

The report will be about 40 pages long and will have the following tentative outline:[1]

  1. An Executive Summary

  2. An assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of Ethiopia’s existing agricultural extension services system (about 12-15 pages)

a. Description of the national agricultural extension services system

b. Rationale behind this approach

c. Main achievements

d. Main failures

e. Conclusions (i.e. aspects that need to be fixed)

  1. Main alternative agricultural extension services models from other countries (about 30-35 pages)

a. Description and assessment of between 6 and 8 models[2]

i. Description

ii. Rationale

iii. Strengths

iv. Weaknesses

v. Relevance for Ethiopia (what needs to be in place in Ethiopia for such model to work)

vi. For further information (references and contact details of office in charge with the programme)

b. Main overall lessons for Ethiopia from the models

  1. A proposal and set of recommendations for Strengthening agricultural extension services in Ethiopia (about 10-12 pages)[3]

Presentation of the main findings of the report to national stakeholders at a validation workshop

Following desk research and the field mission, the consultant will prepare a first draft report and share it internally with ILO staff, MoA extension directorate and other relevant stakeholders who will provide comments. Ethiopian Ministry of Agriculture extension directorate will establish a team of senior experts from the ministry and other government partners to closely follow up and provide inputs during the assignment period. These team will incorporate current national issues and local context that will pave the way for scaling up to other regions.

The consultant will integrate these comments into a second draft that will be presented to national stakeholders in Ethiopia at a validation workshop organised by the ILO and the Government of Ethiopia. Depending on the evolution of the COVID-19 pandemic and related travel restrictions, the presentation will take place online or on site, with a preference for face-to-face presentation if global health conditions allow it.

Comments from national authorities at the validation workshop will then be used to finalise and submit the final version of the feasibility report.

6. Deliverables

The three deliverables expected by the international consultant are:

· Participation in a field mission to Ethiopia, onsite or online, to meet with national stakeholders involved in agricultural extension policies.

· Inception report

· Preparation of a feasibility report on “Strengthening agricultural extension services in Ethiopia”

· Presentation of the main findings of the report to national stakeholders at a validation workshop.

7. Duration of the assignment

The assignment will take place over 3 months, from 15th October 2021 to 31st December 2021 for 30 working days with the following tentative outline:

Deliverable

Explanation

Time required

Inception report / work plan

This document should include detailed work plan and methodology with information on the stakeholders to be interviewed;

Specific research questions;

Interview guide / questionnaire;

Outline of the report

3 days

Desk Review

Identification of main actors;

Desk review: Ethiopia’s ten year perspective plan, focusing on Ministry of Agriculture plan on revision to extension strategy, current extension service satisfaction reports, existing policies and strategies, review of past research on the constraints the Ethiopian extension system, current government and development partners initiatives, assessment of the experience and good practices from other countries (especially Africa) that could be transferred, after adaptation, to Ethiopia.

4 days

Data Collection and field research

Data collection through key informant interviews with senior policy makers from the Ministry of Agriculture, Ethiopian Institute of Agricultural Research, Agricultural Transformation Agency, Regional Agriculture Bureaus and , other relevant sector stakeholders

10 days

Analysis and Draft report writing

The draft report should include:

Literature review; sector analysis; other details as indicated under deliverables above

Recommendations on the way forward;

Complete list of interviews;

Bibliography

10 days

Presentation

Present findings of the study to key stakeholders in a validation workshop.

1 day

Final report

The report should address comments submitted by the ILO and key partners based on the draft report and feedback/comments provided during validation workshop

2 days

8. Key Qualifications

Required qualifications include:

· University degree and above in Rural Development, Agricultural Extension, other relevant subjects with more than 10 years of working experience

· Proven experience in rural development and extension advisory system in developing countries

· Knowledge of agricultural extension advisory services in Ethiopia

· Specific knowledge on conducting feasibility studies in agriculture sector

· Good facilitation, presentation and analytical skills, as well as ability to elaborate high quality research documents

· Language skills: fluency in English, and knowledge of Ethiopian languages is an asset.

· Prior experience of working with the ILO and other UN agencies.

9. Supervision and reporting

The international consultant will report and work under the direct supervision of the CTA of the Pro Agro Project ILO Addis Ababa CO and will also coordinate with National Project Coordinator (NPC) Enterprise Development and other members of the ProAgro Project team as per requirements.

How to apply:

Application Process:

Interested and qualified consultants should submit a technical and financial proposal by clearly indicating cost per day for both international and national consultants for the number of days indicated above. The applications should be sent by email to addis_procurement@ilo.org by 30th September 2021



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