Title: Organic Fertilizer Expert
Location of Assignment: Sri Lanka
Proposed Level of Effort: 25 days
Anticipated Start Date: on/about November 22, 2021
Anticipated End Date: Dec 30, 2021
The objective of this activity is to identify and recommend economically and agronomically viable organic fertilizer options for leading fodder varieties used in Sri Lanka due to the government ban on inorganic fertilizers in the country.
BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION:
International Executive Service Corps (IESC) is a leading U.S. nonprofit organization that fosters private sector development in the economically developing world. Since 1964, we have delivered lasting solutions that have resulted in more than 1.5 million jobs across 137 countries. We partner with businesses, cooperatives, entrepreneurs, jobseekers, and governments to sustainably build capacity, create jobs, and grow enterprises, sharing proven skills and experience that improve the lives of individuals, families, and communities worldwide. Our major funders include the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), among others.
The seven-year, Market-Oriented Dairy (MOD) Project funded by U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food for Progress program supports farmers and enterprises to meet the increased demand for dairy and aims to catalyze sustainable growth in Sri Lanka’s dairy sector. The project will increase productivity and expand the trade of milk and milk products in Sri Lanka. In partnership with the private and public sector, the project will increase milk production of participating farmers and farms to 102,429 metric tons by 2024. The project will also ensure 80 percent of beneficiary farmers earn a price premium due to increased milk quality.
Sri Lanka’s dairy sector is currently not reaching its productivity and economic potential. This is primarily due to farmers not implementing best practices in dairy management. This results in low productivity, poor animal health and the lack of an insufficient amount of quality feed available subject to seasonal variation. MOD has initiated several fodder cultivation and management programs with dairy farmers as well as commercial fodder cultivators. Based on these interventions, farmers who have cultivated and managed their fodder crops have increased production. Additionally, MOD developed district level small scale silage entrepreneurs to address feed shortages during droughts and/or for farmers to purchase any shortfalls in feed.
To support these entrepreneurs, a network of commercial fodder cultivators was developed with MOD assistance to meet production needs. Based on the success of these small-scale entrepreneurs, dairy processing companies have started to assist their own suppliers by replicating this model. There are several large farms also purchasing silage from small-scale operators.
With the change in policy of the country to ban all chemical fertilizers, these dairy farmers as well as commercial fodder cultivators have complained about the subsequent drop in yields. Silage production operations are complaining about the shortage of raw material and some of the dairy farmers find it difficult to meet the required fodder needs of their herds.
MOD is keen on providing alternative organic fertilizer and pesticides (including different management methods) to meet cost effective production needs.
This assignment will be carried out by a two-person team, the international consultant and a Sri Lankan National consultant. The consultant team will conduct a field visit to assess the ground situation and obtain a first-hand understanding of challenges faced by MOD beneficiary famers and commercial fodder cultivators. Based on the available raw material in the areas, the two-person consultant team will identify and recommend appropriate organic fertilizer options that will meet the soil nutrition needs of the varieties of fodder being cultivated. The two-person consultant team will discuss fertilizer recommendations with respective organizations responsible for promoting organic fertilizer and work with them on further improvements towards these recommendations. Practices such as “wormy compost and worm tea” for organic fertilizer production, introduction and the application of effective microorganisms (EM), and bio film and bio fertilizer for soil development may also be considered.
- Conduct a needs assessment for the priority fodder varieties cultivated by MOD farmers
- Conduct soil sampling as needed to obtain an understanding of soil pH, residual nutrients and inherent soil fertility in target areas.
- Make organic fertilizer recommendations based on soil analyses and raw material available to make organic fertilizer for the prioritized fodder varieties – primarily maize, fodder sorghum, Super Napier, CO3, and Mulato II
- Compare proposed organic fertilizer recommendations with earlier recommended inorganic fertilizer requirements
- Conduct a cost-benefit analysis of the application of different types of organic fertilizer
- Present recommendations to the Government of Sri Lanka (GOSL) and private entities involved in producing organic fertilizer and making organic fertilizer recommendations
- Due to the urgency in resolving the challenges, the consultant may want to make short and long-term solutions as appropriate
- Deliver a joint presentation with the Sri Lankan National consultant on initial findings and recommendations to stakeholders
- Submit final report in collaboration with the Sri Lankan National consultant, inclusive of separate organic fertilizer recommendations for selection of main varieties of fodder cultivated in the country
- Submit list of persons met
- Conduct seminar in collaboration with the Sri Lankan National consultant for industry leaders to share findings
ADMINISTRATION AND LOGISTICS:
This assignment requires a combination of travel to Sri Lanka and remote work. The MOD Project Office will provide hotel accommodation and other logistical arrangements including airfare for the international consultant for travel to Sri Lanka. Approved travel related costs will be covered by MOD per US government regulations. The consultant is required to have his/her own computer and all written products need to be in Microsoft Word, Excel, or Power Point.
LEVEL OF EFFORT:
The assignment is estimated to commence on/around November 22, 2021 and will continue through December 30, 2021. These dates and travel requirements may change due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The level of effort for the assignment: 25 work and travel days
REPORTING RELATIONSHIP/OTHER CONDITIONS:
The consultant will be required to work as part of a two-person team with a Sri Lankan National expert consultant and collaborate closely with the MOD Business and Value Chain Director.
The consultant will report to the MOD Project Director.
- Must have a post graduate degree in agronomy or related field work with at least five-years of experience in developing organic fertilizer varieties
- Extensive hands-on field experience introducing organic fertilizer/compost
- Experience working in developing countries, ideally South Asia
- Prior experience working on USG funded projects will be an added advantage
- Must have good communication, interpersonal and report writing skills in English.
How to apply
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