National consultancy to provide technical assistance in identifying barriers to the production of quality-iodized salt in Tajikistan (at NOB level), Dushanbe, Tajikistan

Dushanbe

The proposed national consultancy aims to identify the potential supply-side barriers from producer’s perspective, including production efficiency, regulatory issues, and marketing strategy, for production of high quality iodized salt.

If you are a committed, creative professional and are passionate about making a lasting difference for children, the world's leading children's rights organization would like to hear from you.

For 70 years, UNICEF has been working on the ground in 190 countries and territories to promote children's survival, protection and development. The world's largest provider of vaccines for developing countries, UNICEF supports child health and nutrition, good water and sanitation, quality basic education for all boys and girls, and the protection of children


Post Title: National consultancy to provide technical assistance in identifying barriers to the production of quality-iodized salt in Tajikistan (at National Professional (NOB) level)

Duration of contract: April – July (3 months)
Location: Dushanbe, Tajikistan

1. BACKGROUND AND JUSTIFICATION

Tajikistan was among the first countries in Central Asia to adopt the national law on iodization of table salt (2002, amended in 2007), but Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD) continues to affect Tajikistan, especially in the south and in mountainous areas. According to the 2009 Tajikistan Micronutrient Status Survey, the national median UIC (MUIC) for children 6-59 months and women of reproductive age (116.5 µg/L and 107.8 µg/L, respectively) was slightly above the threshold value of 100 µg/L. However, IDD remains a significant public health problem in Khatlon (90.8 µg/L among boys, 89.1 µg/L among girls) and DRS (District of Republican Subordination) (84.3 µg/L among boys and 90.9 µg/L among girls).  In response, major efforts have been made by the Government and various donors in the area of IDD/Universal Salt Iodization (USI), and the latest data (2012 DHS survey) indicates that over 84% of households (in a sample of over 6,300) used iodized salt. This varied from 75% in RRS to 90% in Sughd. However, the household survey conducted in Khatlon (using titration) in 2015 indicated that mean salt iodine content of 600 salt samples was 3.86 mg/kg, and 594 (99.0%) of the salt samples were inadequately iodized (<15 ppm) and only 2 samples (0.3%) were found to meet the iodine standard. The proportion of salt samples with "zero" level of iodine was 5%. The same survey also found about population's knowledge and practice around iodized salt. The majority of respondents (77%) knew about iodized salt and 74% reported that they actually use it.  This suggests that, despite the presence of the required law and regulations and the relative success in social mobilization for families to regularly purchase salt labelled as iodized, significant problems remain in iodized salt production, quality control and regulation.
One of the crucial aspects to understand the bottlenecks related to these supply-side challenges is to assess business/commercial viability of salt iodization, including analysis of the market, cost, price setting, and capacity of four biggest salt producers in this regard and assess the willingness of the population, wholesalers, retailers, and food industry to pay for high-value, iodized salt. Indeed, the updated iodized salt situation analysis conducted in 2016  also proposes the following recommendations among others in order to deepen the understanding about the incentives and disincentives for the salt producers to comply with the salt iodization standards:
- Identify the extent and origins of deliberately produced un-iodized salt products targeted for human consumption.
- Conduct a Rapid but Comprehensive Study on the Costs and Benefits of Selling Raw Salt to Large Producers vs. Processing and Marketing an Iodized Product.
- Conduct a market analysis aimed at predicting the overall national aimed at predicting the overall national market for iodized salt products in Tajikistan and potential; export markets for the next ten years.
- Take actions in collaboration with salt industry to eliminate any counterfeiting of salt packages or the diversion of large bulk bags for unintended purposes.

Based on these recommendations, UNICEF in Tajikistan is looking for a national consultant to follow up on the recommendations of 2016 Salt Analysis and further analyze the challenges existing at supply side of salt iodization process. 

2. OBJECTIVES:
The proposed national consultancy aims to identify the potential supply-side barriers from producer's perspective, including production efficiency, regulatory issues, and marketing strategy, for production of high quality iodized salt.

3. MAJOR TASKS TO BE ACCOMPLISHED:
The consultant will work closely with UNICEF Tajikistan, Salt Producers, Food Corporation, wholesalers, retailers, the government regulatory bodies, and other relevant partners to conduct a rapid assessment. The assessment should cover at minimum the following:

1) Production efficiency
- Assess the maximum capacity of the salt production equipment possessed by the producers and compare it with local market demand.
- Assess the current level of capacity utilization of the existing equipment. Compare production costs with new equipment and with old manual system.
- Calculate the share of salt produced with new equipment vs., with old manual system.
- Analyze the rationale behind the two production lines (with modern and old equipment) operated simultaneously in some of the largest companies. 

2) Regulatory issues
- Identify ownership of the business
- Identify administrative and legal barriers or facilitators for production of high quality iodized salt, if any

3) Marketing strategy
- Explore the current distribution channels of salt
- Define retailers feedback on partnership with salt factories and ways on improving collaboration
- Analyze if there is any gap in the producers' knowledge in terms of marketing of the salts as well as the contacts with salt distributors in the market
- In case there is a gap, further analyze if the lack of marketing knowledge of the side of producers has been affecting the commercial viability of salt iodization 

4) Recommendation
- Based on the assessment results as per above criteria, make practical recommendations on how to remove supply-side barriers related to the production of quality iodized salt.

4. METHODOLOGY:
As a first step, a consultant is expected to review the 2016 salt situation analysis and other relevant documents, which provide background information to the above-mentioned assignment. While the consultant will work with the UNICEF and other stakeholders to finalize the exact methodology the assignment will involve primary data collection from: i)  focus group discussions or in-depth interviews with salt producers, inspection agencies, and local government officials; and ii) interviews, focus-group discussions, or mini-surveys involving population, wholesalers, retailers, and food industry to assess their willingness to pay for high-value, iodized salt. The findings will be used to formulate appropriate recommendations.

5. DELIVERABLES, TIME FRAME AND PAYMENT SCHEDULE

№  Deliverables / Deadlines/ Payment Schedule:


1) Work plan, methodology assignment submitted, 25 April 2017 , 30% of consultancy fee upon UNICEF approval of the work plan and instruments  methodology and instruments
2) Debriefing of the preliminary findings after  the initial field visits; 10 May 2017

3) First draft of the report, detailing the assessment results and recommendations submitted for UNICEF review.; 70% of consultancy fee 10 June 2017 upon UNICEF approval of all deliverables

4) Final updated report, incorporating the feedback submitted to UNICEF for  approval; 15 July 2017 

6. DURATION OF THE ASSIGNMENT
Forty (40) working days. The proposed timeframe to complete this assignment is April – July 2017.

7.  PLACE OF WORK
The consultant will be stationed in Tajikistan with frequent travel to the field.

8. TRAVEL
The consultant will be stationed in Tajikistan with travel to all regions of the country. UNICEF Tajikistan will cover travel-related costs, including Daily Subsistence Allowance as per UN rules.

9. REQUIRED QUALIFICATION
- Advanced degree in business administration, finance, economy, marketing and other related disciplines.
- 5 years of professional experience in qualitative and quantitative research analysis. Familiarity with the field of USI/IDD is a great asset.
- Good knowledge of business sector in Tajikistan, especially the food industry. Knowledge of Tajikistan salt industry in particular is a great asset. 
- Fluency in English and in either Tajik or Russian.
- Team player with excellent interpersonal skills and sound judgement.

10. REPORTING ARRANGEMENTS
The consultant will directly report to the Nutrition Officer of UNICEF Tajikistan, under the overall supervision of Chief, Health and Nutrition of UNICEF Tajikistan. The evaluation of the consultant shall be completed based on the timely submission of the deliverables, and accuracy and quality of the products delivered.

11. RESERVATIONS
All materials developed will remain the copyright of UNICEF and UNICEF will be free to adapt and modify them in the future.

12. TERMS OF PAYMENT
Payment will be made in two installments.  The first installment of 30% upon approval of a work plan, methodology and instruments. The final payment will be made upon completion of the entire assignment and UNICEF approval of the submitted report.

APPLICATION PROCEDURES
The link to review detailed Terms of Reference would be available at the following links: www.untj.org/jobs, www.unicef.org/tajikistan/resources, www.facebook.com/uniceftajikistan.
The candidates who are interested to apply for the position should follow the electronic application's instructions at http://jobs.unicef.org/cw/en-us/job/504096?lApplicationSubSourceID=
It requires the applicant to upload the detailed CV and academic degrees/diplomas. UN candidates should upload at least two latest performance evaluation reports.
Individual contracts should, to the extent possible, stipulate all-inclusive fees, including lump sum travel and subsistence costs, as applicable.
UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organization.

Deadline for applications: 23 April 2017

To view our competency framework, please click here

Please indicate your ability, availability and daily/monthly rate (in US$) to undertake the terms of reference above (including travel and daily subsistence allowance, if applicable).  Applications submitted without a daily/monthly rate will not be considered.

UNICEF is committed to diversity and inclusion within its workforce, and encourages qualified female and male candidates from all national, religious and ethnic backgrounds, including persons living with disabilities, to apply to become a part of our organisation.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.
Apply
  • Organization: UNICEF - United Nations Children’s Fund
  • Location: Dushanbe
  • Grade: International Consultant
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Nutrition
  • Closing Date: 2017-05-21