Nepal’s agriculture shows weak growth rates with low productivity, coupled with a food trade deficit and high malnutrition. This is associated with low marketed volumes and farmers’ limited access to agriculture technology. Postharvest losses of fresh produces are high because of inappropriate harvest, careless commodity handling and a lack of storage facilities.
Against this backdrop, Value Chain Development of Fruit and Vegetables in Nepal Project (VCDP) focuses on increasing production, reducing postharvest losses, and promoting market linkages. Led by the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development (MoALD), Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the 5-year project aims to increase incomes of smallholder farmers growing fruit and vegetables. The project is being implemented in three major road corridors (the BP and part of Arniko highway, Prithvi highway extended up to Putalibazar Municipality and Hetauda - Dumkibas section of East-West highway) in Bagmati and Gandaki Provinces. The project aims to reach 10,000 farmers and 20 cooperatives of the project command areas.
The Technology Extension Specialist will work under the guidance and supervision of the National Project Manager. S/he will work in close collaboration with UNDP Nepal office, government partners including Nepal Agricultural Research Council, the donor and other stakeholders.
Duties and Responsibilities
Duties and Responsibilities
Under the guidance of the National Project Director and National Project Manager, the Technology Extension Specialist is responsible for activities under project outcome 1(improve agricultural productivity through increased capacity of government agencies and better access to production technology by farmers). Specifically, the incumbent will carry out the following activities:
1. Project planning, monitoring and knowledge management
- Lead in project planning and implementation to achieve desired outcomes and outputs- related to improve agriculture productivity and support to other outcomes of projects;
- Prepare detailed roll-out strategy for agriculture technology dissemination in the federal context and new context of COVID 19;
- Overall support to local governments in setting priorities and inclusive planning process- preparing agriculture sectoral plan and consolidated agriculture annual plan, and leveraging of conditional, equalization, special grant of the federal and provincial government in palikas priority areas including project support funds;
- Lead role in prepare and execute COVID response plan to combat the impact of COVID-19 through agriculture production and marketing interventions- focusing on agribusiness promotion for migrant returnees;
- Plan and execute ICT based tools and techniques for effective transfer of agriculture technologies transfer to farmers and extension providers- mobilization of local FM and establishment and strengthen Kissan call center in coordination and collaboration with federal, provincial, and local governments;
- Support identification of pocket areas, municipalities, cooperatives, farmers, extension officers, agrovets and other agricultural service providers;
- Assist the completion of the baseline survey, mid-term evaluation and conduct gross margin analysis of selected fruits and vegetables and other necessary socio-economic research;
- Ensure timely monitoring of effective technical assistance and project implementation through regular field visits, interactions with staff, partners, and stakeholders;
- Provide information and data on time for the development of reports as required by the donor agency and the implementing partners;
- Timely monitoring of the project activities and ensure that the proper knowledge management has been carried out at project and partners level; support on periodic evaluation of project activities as mentioned in the project document has been carried out;
- Prepare research papers, training/ extension materials and training manuals on production technologies and improve production practices including postharvest management for newly developed technologies transfer to farmers, cooperatives and government technicians;
- Documentation and dissemination of project experiences, best practices and lessons learnt in ongoing basis and share in appropriate forums;
- Support analyzing financial incentives for farmers’ adoption of postharvest technology (both existing and new);
- Participate and contribute in relevant national and international workshops and sharing forums;
- Ensure adherence of good governance practices in planning, implementation, and monitoring of project activities.
2. Strengthening capacity of project partners and beneficiaries
- Lead role in analysis of policy, institutional, perisomal capacity gap of local government, cooperatives, farmers and extension providers, devise training/ orientation package, and conduct training accordingly;
- Provide technical support to local governments (executive and legislatives) to establish and strengthen agriculture extension service system in federal context;
- Technical support to local government and cooperatives to increase access of farmers on agriculture inputs, improved production technologies and practices- including post-harvest loss management and marketing – mapping and mobilization of multiple actors ( public, private, media ) to cater technologies and extension service need of farmer;
- Devise orientation/ training package and orient/ train legislative and executive members of local government in formulating legal instruments like local agricultural policies, strategies, acts, guidelines, procedures, standard norms, for smooth operation of agriculture programme -beyond projects;
- Capacitate local government in preparation of agriculture sectoral plan, consolidated agriculture annual plan and implementation strategies;
- Capacity gap analysis of the agriculture officers/technicians, cooperatives, and other service providers and support provision of training programmes on different production technologies and improved production practices including postharvest technology and market management;
- Provide technical back stopping to Palikas, cooperative and other extension providers for the promotion of appropriate production technologies and improved production practices in order to enhance productivity and reduce postharvest losses of fruit and vegetables;
- Support extension officers/technicians of municipality, informal agricultural service providers, and other potential partners, plan and implement the provision of extension of existing production technologies including postharvest technologies at cooperatives and farmers ’level;
- Support local governments and cooperatives in market facilities in collaboration with project.
3. Stakeholders engagement and partner coordination
- Facilitate to establish and strengthen partnership with provincial governments, 39 local governments, 20 cooperatives and private sector actors including media and National Agriculture Research Council (NARC), for the effective planning and implementation of the project activities’ and dissemination of production technologies;
- Liaise with federal level ministries and their departments and divisions, agricultural teaching and training institutes and research including Nepal Agricultural Research Council to ensure their meaningful input and upscaling of project learnings on extension service delivery system;
- Make linkages with academia and coordinate for interns and MS research related to agriculture productivity improvement including postharvest management of fresh producers;
- Co-ordinate with NARC and its research entities for smooth hand over of newly developed production technologies by research to extension system for wider dissemination;
- Prepare detailed roll-out strategy for technology dissemination;
- Establish contacts with potential partners and identify synergies;
- Represent the project with the consent of NPM in the capacity of Technology Extension Specialist in relevant seminars, meetings, workshops at different levels and share experiences in decentralized extension system and crop productivity enhancement;
- Identify opportunities for campaigns, services, and distribution channels that will lead to improve production and productivity, reduced postharvest losses and marketing of fruit and vegetables;
- Ensure good coordination among NPD, NPM, Technical Specialist and other team members, share learning and exchange of technical expertise within VCDP team;
- Ensure good coordination with other projects of UNDP for synergy and complementarity;
- Coordinate and network with relevant stakeholders for smooth implementation of the project at Palika, provincial and federal level as per the need of the project;
- Coordinate with academic institutions, federal and local government, and private sectors.
4. Project Management Support
- Support and contribute to develop yearly plan of operation and annual budget, quarterly, semi-annual and annual progress report;
- Support design, improvement and implementation of the value chain grants for input support to enable adoption of postharvest technologies;
- Provide technical backup to the specialists responsible for Outcome 2 and 3 for effective delivery of related to crop productivity and extension system;
- Contribute on project visibility activities and extend technical support to the Technical Specialist as per requirements;
- Contribute on progress reporting (providing information and data on time along with report review) as required by the donor agency and the implementing partner;
- Support NPM in partnership management and to make harmony with federal ministry, departments, provincial ministry and 39 local governments and cooperatives for the execution of project activities;
- Perform other tasks as required for the smooth implementation of the project;
- Support NPM in management of project Intern, Junior Consultants and Agriculture Officers and management to extension officers or technicians, cooperatives, and beneficiary farmers of project areas;
- Support NMP and finance team for efficient management and mobilization of project funds.
5. Gender and social inclusion in project interventions
- Ensure gender and social inclusion component in any type of project interventions;
- Manage data disaggregated by sex, age, and caste/ethnicity from the records of project interventions;
- Ensure formulation of GESI policy and guideline at partners’ level.
- Demonstrates integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
- Serves and promotes the vision, mission, and strategic goals of UNDP;
- Displays cultural, gender, religion, race, nationality and age sensitivity and adaptability;
- Good inter-personal skills;
- Clear and upfront communication skills;
- Treats all people fairly without favouritism;
- Collaborates effectively in a team environment;
- Organized and good with following-up on pending issues; meets deadlines;
- Promote learning and knowledge management/sharing;
- Focuses on delivering results by taking calculated-risks and problem-solving approach;
- Fair and transparent decision making; regularly shares information with team members;
- Promotes sharing of knowledge and experience, and actively works towards continued learning and development on personal level as well as for supervisees;
- Good practical knowledge of inter-disciplinary development issues;
- Ability to go beyond established procedures and models, propose new approaches which expand the range of projects;
- Demonstrates strong numerical and analytical skills;
- Has experiences working with Monitoring and Evaluation tools;
- Experiences project management, federalised and pluralistic agriculture extension system extensive experience and knowledge to work with local and provincial government, developing business plans for agro-enterprise development;
- Experience in coordination, technical assistance and advisory support top government and private institutions;
- Experienced in delivering training and other needed capacity/ institutional building support to a wide range of stakeholders including financial institutions;
- Demonstrates excellent organizational and administrative skills;
- Identifies and communicates relevant information for a variety of audiences for advocating UNDP’s mandate;
- Analyses and selects materials for strengthening strategic alliances with partners and stakeholders;
- Understands and applies fundamental concepts and principles of a professional discipline or technical specialty relating to the position;
- Possesses basic knowledge of organizational policies and procedures relating to the position and applies them consistently in work tasks;
- Demonstrates good knowledge of information technology and applies it in work assignments;
- Effectively networks with partners seizing opportunities to build strategic alliances relevant to UNDP’s mandate and strategic agenda;
- Assesses project performance to identify success factors and incorporates best practices into project work;
- Monitors specific stages of projects/programme implementation;
- Research linkages across programme activities to identify critical points of integration;
- Oversees and documents the process of strategy formulation for programmes at Project level.
Required Skills and Experience
- Master’s degree in Agriculture or equivalent with specialization on social inclusion and rural livelihood.
- At least 8 years of experiences in the field of decentralised and pluralistic agriculture extension system, value chain, formulating agriculture acts, guidelines, procedures and policy at subnational government level, postharvest technology for fruit and vegetables, and extension provision;
- At least 5 years of experiences in establishment and strengthening decentralised and pluralistic agricultural extension system at local government;
- Sound understanding of agriculture policies and agriculture research and extension systems of Nepal;
- Experience and Ability to manage and supervise a team of multidisciplinary professionals;
- A proven track record of farmers friendly extension materials development;
- Good understanding of UNDP rules and procedures (an experience of completing UN assignments would be an asset).
- Fluency in spoken and written English and Nepali.
- Good knowledge of computer applications such as word, excel, power point, GIS statistical applications and Power BI.