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National Consultant to support COMPLIANCE WITH S-Mark CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS BY CHEESE Making SME’s

Rwanda (Rwanda)

  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Rwanda (Rwanda)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Ombudsman and Ethics
    • Legal - Broad
    • Sustainable trade and development
    • Sustainable Business Development
  • Closing Date: 2022-01-23

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FAO seeks gender, geographical and linguistic diversity in its staff and international consultants in order to best serve FAO Members in all regions.

  • FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, background and culture
  • Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented Members and person with disabilities are encouraged to apply
  • Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct, and to uphold FAO's values
  • FAO, as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, has a zero-tolerance policy for conduct that is incompatible with its status, objectives and mandate, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination  
  • All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks
  • All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality
  • FAO staff are subject to the authority of the Director-General, who may assign them to any of the activities or offices of the Organization.

Organizational Setting

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Rwanda Government through Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Resources (MINAGRI) collaborated on a project entitled “Post-Harvest Loss Reduction for Enhanced Food and Nutrition Security in Rwanda”. The consultancy related to aligning the existing post-harvest strategy developed in 2011 by the Ministry of agriculture with Strategic Plan for Agriculture Transformation (PSTA 4). The 2011 National Post-Harvest Staple Crop Strategy is a policy framework that assist with strengthening the harvesting, post-harvest handling, trade, storage, and marketing within staple crop value chains in Rwanda, in an effort to improve markets and linkages for farmers, and reduce post-harvest losses. However, the 2011 national post-harvest strategy is limited to staple crops, mainly maize, beans, rice, cassava and Irish potatoes and does not consider all agricultural value chains, such as animal resources products and fisheries, and horticulture value chain. In this context, there was need to update the Post-Harvest Strategy to expand the scope of the strategy and to cater for current challenges. Hence, a continued support regarding the same is required in order to ensure that post-harvest losses and aflatoxin contamination are minimized to an acceptable level through post-harvest handling best practices and the use of agro-processing technologies. The PSTA 4 highlights the need to address the challenges existing in post-harvest handling and management. PSTA 4 targets to at least halve the post-harvest losses in all Agri-value chains. For this to happen, there was need of a comprehensive strategy to be developed in order to inform the current status of food losses, post-harvest handling and management as well as inform on what the best locally-friendly interventions need to be implemented in order to reach PSTA 4 targets. The project is also consistent with the 2014 Malabo Declaration commitment to reduce current levels of Post-harvest losses by 50 percent by the year 2025. Additionally, the Sustainable Development Goal 12.3 states that “By 2030, to halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses. Therefore, to ensure a successful implementation of PSTA 4, MINAGRI and FAO hired the services of Consultants who led MINAGRI effort to develop a comprehensive Post-Harvest Management Strategy to serve as a road map for both public and private actors in the agriculture sector.

The consultancy was related to the delivery of following results expected from the project namely:
- Rwanda PHM Strategy and Action Plan on post-harvest loss reduction aligned with PST 4 and AU Continental framework formulated
- Human and institutional capacity of the MINAGRI, affiliated bodies and relevant stakeholders strengthened in the design and implementation of food loss reduction policies, strategies and programmes
- Rwanda PHL Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) system established to monitor and report on progress to achieve the Malabo PHL target and synchronized with the AUC PHL M&E and biennium review process.
- A proposal project to further enhance efforts on post-harvest loss reduction developed.


All expected results were achieved by the previous consultancy services. However, the proposed project titled: CHEESE MANUFACTURING IN RWANDA - COMPLIANCE WITH S-Mark CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS BY CHEESE SMEs TOWARDS IMPROVED QUALITY CHEESE PRODUCTION is expected to respond to one of the highlighted priorities under newly upgraded post-harvest management strategy. Despite the increases in loans to farmers by Rwanda Development Bank (BRD), by 118% between 2012 and 2017, farmers still face challenges in financing the requisite equipment and investment in the dairy industry in general and more specifically in quality cheese manufacturing. While cheese produced in Rwanda is of good quality, improvements in good cheese manufacturing practices and diversification of products need serious attention (McBain 2021). While also Rwanda exports of cheese now exceed 40 tonnes each year, the level of productivity and quality is still low in comparison to the most competitive dairy producer and exporter in the region, Kenya (Steeg 2019). On the Rwandan domestic market, the disparity in quality is exemplified in the cost of a 500g unit of imported Gouda cheese which in Rwanda costs around US$7 in Kigali supermarkets, while locally made Gouda is sold at less than half that price (McBain 2021).

Though Rwanda now has large volumes of milk produced in the country, a very small proportion is processed to acceptable quality standards and marketed to consumers in the country at a price affordable by a wide cross-section of consumers. The GoR sees the improvement in the quality of locally produced cheeses as one way of increasing dairy exports. To this end, the National Industrial Research and Development Agency (NIRDA) is said to be embarking on a study to develop quality cheese in Rwanda. The study will investigate the quality of milk, processing machines, cow feed and transport, among other issues (McBain 2021).

Despite the GoR’s investment in Mukamira Dairy Processing Plant (PPP model) and support through Rwanda Dairy Development Project (RDDP), especially in Gishwati milk basin, the above-mentioned challenges resulted in numerous establishment of small scale cheese processors that are still using traditional means at farm level. As a consequence, they have very limited product diversification with limited compliance with quality standards.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Land O’Lakes project, supported training of cheese manufacturers in Rwanda with emphasis on reaching certification levels that match international standards. Since the end of this USAID funded project in 2017, training support has declined considerably (Steeg 2019). It is in light of the importance of cheese manufacturing in Rwanda, its impact on employment and wealth creation in the population of Rwandan farmers, that this project was conceived with the aim to support Cheese manufacturing SMEs in Rwanda complying with S-Mark certification.


Reporting Lines

The incumbent will work under the overall guidance of the FAO Representative in Rwanda, the direct supervision of the Assistant FAOR (Programmes), the technical guidance of the lead technical officer (LTO) and in close collaboration with the Director General of Agriculture Value Chain management and Trade in the Ministry of Agriculture.

Technical Focus

The national consultant will endeavour to support positioning cheese manufacturers in Rwanda ready for S-Mark certification and assist them to acquire S-Mark certification through training and mentoring/coaching towards ensuring that cheese produced are of quality, safety and competitive on local market.

Tasks and responsibilities
The national consultant will perform the following duties:

• In close collaboration with MINAGRI, RDB and RSB, identify cheese makers SMEs who have previously been trained by RDB and assess their readiness towards S-Mark certification (documentation, infrastructure, quality and safety standards)
• Undertake in depth training needs assessment of selected SMEs towards designing a practical skills training programme for cheese manufacturers towards fulfilling S-Mark certification requirements;
• Develop an on job training manual to fill gaps identified.
• Use the training manual developed, undertake skills training and capacity building of personnel from selected cheese manufacturers SMEs to enhance the production of quality and safe cheese; which complies with S-Mark certification needs.
• Produce a post-training assessment report which assesses how the training was received and how the trained personnel performed and makes recommendations on future training and skills development in cheese industry in Rwanda
• Provide mentorship/coaching to trained cheese manufacturers to ensure continued skills development and produce a report.
• Provide guidance to ensure skills transfer and implementation of standards requirements and skills at company level, for S-Mark certification readiness.
• Facilitate well positioned cheese manufacturers (SMEs) in the certification process (Application, certification fee request and ensure its payment).
• Organize and participate in the experience-sharing workshops for supported cheese manufacturing SMEs
• Produce an end of assignment report.


CANDIDATES WILL BE ASSESSED AGAINST THE FOLLOWING

Minimum Requirements

• At least a Bachelor’s degree in Food Science and Technology, Dairy Sciences, chemistry, microbiology, master’s degree
• 7 years of work experiences, preferable in cheese making domain
• Being a Rwandan or resident in the country with a work permit.
• Should have good communication of English (writing, speaking and listening) and of Kinyarwanda is mandatory.
• Fluency in written and spoken English is required;
• Knowledge of Kinyarwanda is required;
• Knowledge of French it is a plus

FAO Core Competencies
• Results Focus
• Teamwork
• Communication
• Building Effective Relationships
• Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills
• At least two (2) years’ recent experience in implementing Food Safety standards compliance consultancy along with food supply chain (farm to fork);
• Evidence of experience in organizing and delivering training on advanced cheese manufacturing technology
• Having worked with local farmers/ SMEs
• Experience in developing training manual
• Ability to work with and train adults in a respectful, cooperative manner;
• Working experience with private sector, development partners/NGOs, UN agencies and FAO is an added advantage
• Strong skills of Microsoft Office
• Strong research and analytical skills with report writing skills;
• The position requires high levels of pro-activeness, initiative, the ability to work under minimal supervision
• Strong coordination, networking and relationship building skills
• Responds positively to critical feedback and differing points of view;
• Demonstrate integrity by modelling the UN’s values and ethical standards;
• Ability to establish and maintain good working relations with colleagues in multi-cultural environment;
• Fulfills obligations to gender sensitivity and zero tolerance for sexual harassment.

Please note that all candidates should adhere to FAO Values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for All and Integrity and Transparency.

We do our best to provide you the most accurate info, but closing dates may be wrong on our site. Please check on the recruiting organization's page for the exact info. Candidates are responsible for complying with deadlines and are encouraged to submit applications well ahead.
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.
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