The African Forest Forum (AFF) is a pan-African non-governmental organization with its headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya. The purpose of AFF is to provide a platform and create an enabling environment for independent and objective analysis, advocacy and advice on relevant policy and technical issues pertaining to achieving sustainable management, use and conservation of Africa’s forest and tree resources as part of efforts to reduce poverty, promote gender equality, and economic and social development. Through all its programmes and activities, AFF seeks to promote the empowerment of all marginalized groups, particularly women, who have remained vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and whose representation, priorities and needs are seldom addressed in the forestry sector.
- Background to the consultancy task
Forests and trees provide goods and services that are key assets for reducing vulnerability to the effects of climate change. The forest contributions to climate change adaptation are critically important in African dryland ecosystems, that face many climate-related challenges, including recurrent drought, erratic and scanty rainfall patterns which negatively affect livelihood options of dependent communities. In fact, dryland communities are characterized as the poorest and most vulnerable in the continent, frequently exposed to conflicts over limited resources as well as household food insecurity. It is therefore prudent that alternative livelihoods options, for example, through diversification, should be promoted as a coping strategy to improve the resilience of these climate sensitive populations. Sustainable exploitation and trade of non-timber forest products are widely documented for their contribution to livelihoods of local communities. Dry forests are endowed with a rich diversity of woody species, many of which are known to produce a variety of non-timber forest products such as commercial gums and resins.
The exploitation and trade in gums and resins has strongly emerged as an alternative livelihood support and climate-resilient strategy for African dryland communities. Different types of Acacia, Boswellia, Commiphora and other woody species exuding gums and resins (gum Arabic, frankincense, myrhh and hagar) are raised in many countries where they are used for various domestic purposes. They are traded locally and are also part of cross-border trade that provides many socioeconomic, cultural, and medicinal values. However, in many African countries, the production of gums and resins has been observed to be far below existing potential. Further, producers of gums and resins usually have little economic incentive to manage dry forests responsibly due to inconsistent low prices they receive as compared to other actors in the value chain. Preliminary studies on gums and resins value chain analysis in selected countries highlight the active role of women and youth as the main producing actors. Underdeveloped markets and value chains and lack of financial capital and technical skills are key constraints in the gums and resins sector.
Previous studies in some major producing countries such as Chad, Ethiopia, Kenya Somalia and Sudan highlight some issues of concern for the development of the gums and resins sector including: inadequate technical capacity and business skills among actors for efficiency gains in gums and resins value chains; lack of financial support; absence of mechanisms to improve the capacity of actors to develop bankable projects; absence of or weak collaboration and networking with the private sector investors and/or microfinance institutions to provide start-up funds; and weak organisational capacity of collector groups to foster cooperation and coordination in the collection of gums and resins as well as in trade in the same. In addition, lessons learnt from previous African Forest Forum studies on forest products, including non-wood products, also emphasize the urgent need for the development of value-adding technologies, identification and employment of right marketing strategies, building the required capacities, instituting and supporting legal procedures/frameworks, proper assessment of the resource base and market conditions.
If these issues are properly addressed, it is expected that individual producers, and by extension the producing countries, will obtain better prices from their products. Better prices will then raise the value of the dry forests from which these products are harvested, and possibly cultivate interest in their conservation and consequently strengthening their resilience to, for example, the adverse effects of climate change. It is in this context that AFF intends to expand its work on various issues related to gums and resins, including value chain analysis in selected dry forest countries. The aim of such interventions is to promote entrepreneurship opportunities and technologically efficient means for value addition, improve conditions for building resilience to climate change for communities depending on these products through improving their livelihood support options, and improving national incomes and employment opportunities among actors and producing countries. This is also in line with the African Union Commission desire, as communicated to AFF, to look at ways women and marginalized groups in the gums and resins value chain can be empowered in order to improve their livelihoods.
As the first step to undertaking this activity, AFF openly and widely tendered for the recruitment of a reputable African institution in the area of gums and resins that, can jointly work with AFF to supervise the studies. It is in this respect that the Network for Natural Gums and Resins in Africa (NGARA) was selected.
NGARA is a Pan African organization registered in Kenya as a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) and hosted at the Kenya Forestry Research Institute (KEFRI) with as mission to assist African producing countries and partners in formulating a coordinated strategy for the sustainable development of their natural gums, resins and allied dryland resources and commodities, for improving rural livelihood and environmental conservation. With a membership of sixteen countries across the African Sahel and Horn of Africa and an institutional organization constituted of national focal point and private sector representative in each member country, NGARA has implemented various projects in similar topics with several partners such as Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), The French Agricultural Research Centre for International Development (CIRAD) and the governments of the republics of Uganda, Somalia and South Sudan.
- Rationale and purpose of the work
The first meeting held between NGARA and the African Forest Forum had contributed to jointly select 4 countries where the project will be implemented, namely Tanzania and Kenya for anglophone, and Niger and Burkina Faso for anglophone countries. The 2 partners further reviewed and adjusted specific tasks based on available information. It is in this perspective that AFF and NGARA are recruiting 4 national consultants in each of the above-mentioned countries to undertake studies that are expected to generate knowledge on the state of production and trade in gums and resins.
- Specific tasks to be implemented by the national consultant
The consultant/expert recruited in each of the selected country is expected to undertake the following specific tasks under the supervision of NGARA and AFF:
(i) Identify and highlight activities of key actors involved in the production and trade of gums and resins in selected country;
(ii) Identify and profile gums and resins produced by different species in selected country;
(iii) Undertake a review on the distribution of gums and resins-producing species in the study country to profile production potential areas (including existing maps) for further resource assessment in updating the existing maps;
(iv) Evaluate the level of trading of types of gums and resins by each of the identified actors in (i);
(v) Undertake training needs assessment on actors in gums and resins that will support updating of the existing training curriculum and manuals; and
(vi) Carry out a review of existing national policies and institutional frameworks relevant to gums and resins.
- Deliverables by the national consultant
The national consultant will be expected to deliver the following at end of the consultancy period:
(i) A report of about 40 pages on the stipulated tasks;
(ii) A report of about 15 pages on the training needs assessment
(iii) At least one journal article to be published together with relevant staff at NGARA and AFF Secretariat involved in this work;
(iv) Draft a policy brief and a fact sheet to be finalised together with the 2 partners as in (iii);
- Minimum qualifications and skills
(i) Be a scientist with proven knowledge and experience in forestry development in Africa;
(ii) Be knowledgeable on current and emerging issues in Non-timber Forest Products (NTFP) and specifically gums and resins;
(iii) Have experience in forest resource assessment tools and methods;
(iv) Have good scientific writing skills and have at least written a book chapter and published peer reviewed journal papers;
(v) Have a master’s degree in any of the following areas: forestry, natural resources management, environmental issues or any related area or any related area;
(vi) A PhD and a good knowledge of NGARA will be an added advantage; and
(vii) Excellent written and oral communication skills in English for Anglophone countries (Kenya and Tanzania) and French for francophone countries (Niger and Burkina Faso).
- Application requirements
The applicant shall submit the following:
(i) Cover letter stating how the above requirements are met;
(ii) A brief proposal/concept note containing:
(iii) key results area and corresponding specific activities;
(iv) draft work plan (clear deliverables plotted against work weeks for each key results); and
(v) Curriculum vitae.
The work, including field work and reporting by national consultants, is expected to be carried out in a period of two-person months, spread over a period of four calendar months.
(i) Applications must be received by the AFF Secretariat before 8 March 2019.
(ii) The successful applicant will be informed by 12 March 2019.
(iii) The selected consultants will attend a methodology harmonisation workshop that will be held on 18 and 22 March 2019, in Mombasa, Kenya.
- How to apply
All applications must be submitted by e-mail with the subject line: “Consultancy No: 02-314a “Strengthening capacity among stakeholders for production and trade in gums and resins in Africa” to Dr. Marie Louise Avana-Tientcheu and Dr. Vincent O. Oeba of the AFF Secretariat through the following e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com and copied to Prof Godwin Kowero (firstname.lastname@example.org), Dr Ben Chikamai (email@example.com), firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com,