Consultancy - Request for Expression of Interest - Assessment of agroecology interventions

Posted on 05 May 2022

A. Title:
Assessment of agroecology interventions for on-station verification and on-farm adaptation trials in Binga district. 
B. Context:
About 65% of Binga district’s population of 182 386 people consists of food insecure subsistence smallholder farmers who depend on rain-fed agriculture, livestock production and unsustainable natural resource exploitation. Given the low and erratic rainfall received in Binga and most of north western Zimbabwe, the farmers mostly grow maize, small grain cereals, cowpeas and groundnuts largely for home consumption. Any surplus is sold to neighbouring farmers, middlemen and/or official government marketing outlets. Most of the production comes from agricultural expansion into forest and wildlife areas resulting in deforestation and loss of ecosystem integrity. There is therefore need for interventions that maintain habitats and sustainably improve agricultural productivity and economic returns to farmers. Agro-ecology (AE) is one such interventions.
This consultancy seeks to identify and prioritize AE interventions/practices for verification at Matopos Research Station (MRS). Promising technologies from the verification exercise will be validated through adaptive trials and demonstrations on farmer’s fields in Binga district. MRS falls within the same agro-ecological zone as Binga district and parts of the Station have similar light textured soils.
C. Terms of Reference
The specific Terms of Reference of the Consultancy are to:
a. Identify a range of AE interventions for possible verification at MRS and subsequent adaptation on farmers’ fields in Binga district;
b. Rank the identified interventions based on the following criteria: potential yield; yield sustainability; economic returns; and “fit” into the socio-economic situation of the Binga smallholder farmers;
c. Include the economically viable and sustainable value chains concept into the technology assessment matrix;
d. Propose on-farm (MRS) verification trial designs for the prioritized AE interventions;
e. Produce a draft report that embraces points (a) to (d) above;
f. Present the draft report at a two day technical experts workshop in Bulawayo; and,
g. Finalize the report based on inputs from the workshop.
D. Key Deliverable
The key deliverable is to compile a validated report that articulates possible AE interventions for implementing both on-station (MRS) and on-farm trials in the project area. An electronic copy of the report, reviewed literature and stakeholder consultation notes will be submitted to WWF Zimbabwe upon completion of the assignment. 
E.Desired Qualifications and Experience
·      An MSc degree or higher in agriculture, preferably in agronomy, natural resources or related fields;
·      Minimum five years familiarity with participatory approaches at various stakeholder levels, especially at the farm level; and,
·      Knowledge and experience in designing and implementing both on-station verification trails and on-farm adaptation trials.
F. Duration and location of the assignment
It is anticipated that the level of effort for this assignment will be 18 person days. The consultant will report directly to the Project Lead and/or Country Director.
To Apply
Interested consultants should send in their CVs, cover letter, technical and financial proposal (not exceeding 2 pages)to Email header should include the words “Assessment of Agroecology Interventions For On-Station & On-Farm Trials”.
 Deadline for applications:  17 May 2022