Agribusiness Technical Assistance to support the implementation of the Participatory Small-scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP II)

  1. Introduction

The first phase of the Participatory Small-scale Irrigation Development Programme (PASIDP), implemented from 2008-2015 by the Ministry of Agriculture and Natural Resources of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, contributed substantially to reducing the vulnerability of smallholder farmers in Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations, Nationalities and People’s, and Tigray Regions to adverse climate risks and drought, and to reducing rural poverty and food insecurity. While the first phase of PASIDP was successful in infrastructure development, creation of Irrigation Water Users’ Associations and raising output, farmers were not always able to market their additional production, leaving the potential for increased incomes largely untapped.

PASIDP II became effective in 2016 and is scheduled for completion in 2021. Its total cost is estimated to be USD145.3 million and the programme is expected to benefit 108,750 rural households in four regions (Amhara, Oromia, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples, and Tigray).  The programme is a major priority of GoE and in line with its Growth and Transformation Plan (GTP II) and the Climate Resilient Green Economy (CRGE) strategy.

PASIDP II is aimed at scaling up the successes of phase I with a stronger focus on strengthening and investing in farmers’ organizations and facilitating their linkage with markets and services, including financial services.  The programme is expected to develop 18,400 hectares for small-scale irrigation through a participatory approach in about 150 locations, and to create approximately 15,000 new jobs. The targeted farmers are expected  to enhance production and productivity of maize, wheat, teff, barley, pulses, as well as horticultural and fruit crops, along with other crops with viable markets. PASDIP II supports farmers and agro-pastoralists to engage and link successfully with off-takers and other value chain actors. Through small-scale irrigation, households will increase their productivity, and incomes.

Another significant feature of PASDIP II is its expanded scope beyond irrigation. The programme will also promote climate smart technologies to be applied under rain-fed agriculture in the adjacent watersheds, with the aim of enhancing farmers’ incomes and resilience. Irrigation will thus serve as an entry point for the agricultural transformation in the entire watersheds, as access to markets and services will allow farmers and their organizations to professionalize production with the intent to enhance productivity and access to markets. In this context, PASIDP II is expected to support farmers to choose crops and technologies based on a case by case basis, ensuring that farmers understand their opportunities and risks and have accurate information to make informed decisions.

The programme is well on track regarding its physical progress, and has demonstrated strong organizational and social cohesion among farmers and operators of the newly constructed irrigation schemes. However, there is scope to strengthen the capacity of the implementing partners to enhance the delivery of the analytical and agribusiness linkage facilitation services provided by the Programme. In fact, most farmers only have vague and often impractical ideas of how to finance their irrigated farming operations, and how to market their produce. This reveals a weakness of the public support system, on which the programme implementation relies, to effectively identify, jointly with the farmers, accessible markets, analyse the technical and financial requirements for farmers to meet them, and assist their organizations to develop realistic and viable business plans based on the farmers’ preferences and risk management strategies. Intermediation is needed between farmers and local financial institutions and other service providers and input suppliers, alongside sound financial planning and management support.

The Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) has agreed to support IFAD and the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock (MOAL) as part of the GOE-AGRA Cooperation Framework with an in-Kind Grant for the provision of technical assistance to enhance the capacity of the partners involved in the implementation of PASIDP II, the targeted communities as well as relevant actors in their value chains to engage in participatory planning towards the establishment of transparent, mutually beneficial (viable) commercial linkages, based on sound technical and financial analyses.

  1. Objective of the Technical Assistance (TA)

The main objective of the TA is to ensure the delivery of strong programme results through the effective implementation of the critically required agribusiness components of PASIDP II while at the same time strengthening local capacity. The TA support seeks to provide critical programme implementation support to farmers and farmers’ groups, including Water Users’ Associations, Cooperatives and/or Marketing Associations, and thus to minimize the substantial investment risks falling short of the Programme’s goal to engender thousands of small farmers with the skill to build thriving and sustained agribusiness enterprises.

  1. Duties and responsibilities

It is envisioned that an experienced Agribusiness firm, a service provider or an international NGO will provide technical support to PASIDP II. It is expected that in addition to other staff, the consultant will deploy four high level professionals with each supporting schemes and watershed in one region for the duration of two years.

Building local capacity will be key to ensuring sustainability of the programme.  It is expected that the TA will initially focus on four communities in each of the four regions (i.e. a total of 16 communities), while also providing technical support to other PASIDP II communities.  The four communities in each region will be selected together with the National Coordinator and Regional Coordinators.  These selected communities would be used for exchange visits and could help scale up best practices to other schemes and watersheds.

The TA is expected to bring their wide experience, best agribusiness sector knowledge, and credible judgment to complete the tasks and activities outlined below.

Specific technical assistance

Together with local extension and development agents, the TA will liaise with farmers and farmers’ groups at existing and new irrigation schemes and surrounding watersheds to:

  • Quickly assess key site-specific market opportunities by identifying and engaging with interested off-takers;
  • Assess technical and financial viability of market opportunities through data collection and analysis;
  • Evaluate current production and marketing systems and identify opportunities for developing and/or enhancing businesses;
  • Engage with farmers and their organizations to make the choices on the major crops to be cultivated and technologies to be applied based on an informed analysis of their options, which depend on market demand, technical capability, access to technologies and finance and other relevant factors;
  • Support the development of business plans at household and scheme level, including strategies for strengthening the farmers cooperatives’ and Water Users Association’s organizational capacity and management;
  • Guide cooperatives and marketing associations to be effectively managed, with emerging entrepreneurial leadership, as well as sound and transparent management;
  • Support farmers’ groups with any other related technical issues as they emerge.

Facilitation and coaching

  • Support identification of main business entities, linking farmers and facilitating their engagement with different value chain actors, including assistance to enhance effective linkage with local financial institutions;
  • Facilitate the interactions of farmers with engineers and consultants during the feasibility studies to ensure that assumptions are realistic and designs align to their participatory business plans;
  • Train and coach local extension and development agents (DAs), cooperatives and farmers on managing production, accessing markets and services, engaging in participatory planning and applying tools for financial viability analysis; specifically coach DAs to enhance their ability to analyse the different entrepreneurial and agronomic options and to support farmers’ groups in managing their enterprises;
  • Coach regional project staff to enable them to transfer advanced new agribusiness knowledge and replicate the service delivery model in other sites;
  • Conduct regular visits for coaching and monitoring farmers and DAs, throughout the season;
  • Ensure continued facilitation of transparent and mutually beneficial business relationships, including with intermediate processors, off-takers, traders, input and service providers, and rural financial institutions as a model for viable market access alliances;
  • Support continuous knowledge exchange with all stakeholders involved in PASIDP; and,
  • Ensure learning by documenting progress, outcomes, challenges and lessons learned, in addition to supporting continuous knowledge exchange.
  1. Deliverables
  • An inception workshop to demonstrate the understanding of the assignment
  • Work plan to be developed in consultation with the National Coordinator and Regional coordinators of each of the sites selected;
  • Business plans for the irrigation schemes and watersheds, based on market and value chain assessments, and financial analyses of the production and marketing activities;
  • Quarterly reports, to include, among others, progress against work plan, access and application of inputs, technical supervision and production support given, increase in productivity and income; as impact of the TA would be measured by defined outputs and outcomes over the two-year period, progress on agreed key performance indicators, outcomes, challenges and lessons learned must be reported.
  • Quarterly reports must be submitted to MOAL, IFAD and AGRA

Timeline for each of the above items will be determined in consultation with the National Coordinator, IFAD and AGRA.

  1. Working arrangements and reporting


The TA will be delivered in close partnership with local project staff, consultants and DAs, as well as staff of the Federal and Regional Programme Coordination Management Units. These collaborations would be critical to ensure capacity within the private and public sector is strengthened to deliver improved assistance long-term and allow scaling up.


The TA will report to the National Project Coordinator, as do the Regional Coordinators currently, as well as to IFAD and AGRA. IFAD will provide technical support along with its supervision of the PASIDP II.

  1. Expertise required

Individual members of the team must have the following qualifications and expertise:

Academic requirements

  • At least a Master’s degree in Agriculture Economics, Marketing, Finance, Agronomy or related;
  • A degree in finance is an asset;

Experience (Minimum 10 years)

  • Strong expertise and track record in agri-business, or having held related positions, such as supply chain manager, farm manager; strong business acumen, active advisor to agri-business, particularly with small-holders in developing countries;
  • Substantial working experience in agro-finance and agro-marketing, experience in developing business case viability of businesses involved in a value chain, including management of production and supply chains;
  • Strong familiarity with working of financial institutions in emerging/ developing countries;
  • Expertise in financial analysis and value chain analysis, including technical analysis of markets and pricing; and,
  • Strong project management experience, ensuring the development of processes for key activities such as development of monitoring system for all activities (financing, marketing) along value/supply chains.

Other competencies

  • Excellent planning skills;
  • Ability to work under well planned schedules and meet deadlines;
  • Entrepreneurial, creative team-player with excellent inter-cultural and inter-personal skills;
  • Good listener and thoughtful communicator with strong leadership skills;
  • Able to work in remote rural areas;
  • Strategic thinker with strong analytical skills and ability to systematically and methodically conceptualize;
  • Strong motivation to contribute to change, and particularly to empower women;
  • Strong command of English; knowledge of Amharic or other Ethiopian languages is an asset.
  1. Duration of the Assignment

The consultancy assignment is for two years

  1. Additional information

For additional information on PASIDP II:

  • PASIDP II Supervision Report, May/June 2017:

  1. Eligibility

National and international consulting firms, service providers, and NGOs can apply. AGRA aims to contract four experienced consultants, and it could be through a qualified service provider.