Commodity Exchange Ltd – Technical Expert on Spice

Commodity Exchange Ltd


Terms of Reference

Technical expert on spice growing, harvesting and drying practices to produce export-quality spices


Position Title: Technical Expert on Spice

Contract Duration: 6 months divided in two phases (3 months each phase) Reports to: Managing Director of CE Ltd.

Location: Aileu, Ermera, Liquica, and Same municipality.



Commodity Exchange Limited (CE Ltd.) is a subsidiary of SM Bark Technology, one of the largest importers and distributor of selected electronic products in Timor-Leste. Given the growing opportunities in agribusiness in the country CE Ltd has been set up with an aim to diversify  into  food  processing,  using  local  raw  materials,  for  the  domestic  and  export market. The company has recently set up a facility for processing a variety of spices such as cloves, black pepper and cinnamon, sourced from a number of locations across Timor-Leste, largely for export.


Spices such as black pepper, cloves and cinnamon were historically introduced during the Portuguese period in Timor-Leste, however, loss of intermediaries and trade structures during the war resulted in a disconnect of between producers and end market and farmers never regained confidence in investing in the maintenance of the spice plants in the absence of a market to sell to. Majority of the spices are now grown wildly in the backyards of farmers’ homestead or adjacent to coffee farms and are mostly managed by female members   of   the   household.   Female   farmers   lack   the   knowledge   on   production, maintenance, harvest and post-harvest handling which affects the quality of spices collected and is often wasted at the farms without being able to realise the full market potential.


To realise the market potential of spices grown in Timor, CE is investing in its supply chain and to ensure sufficient volume of consistent supply of good quality spices the company plans  to  build  a  strong  network  of  trained  suppliers.  Thus  Commodity  Exchange  with support from the Market Development Facility- a private sector development program supported by the Australian Government, is seeking a consultant who is capable of training farmers on spice production, harvesting and post-harvest management (including drying and grading). The consultant is expected to assess current practices at the farm level as well as the CE facility level in order to be able to develop a first-hand understanding of the underlying issues and address them in accordance to the business needs of CE.



The broad objective of this ToR is to identify and select a consultant to introduce best practices and recommendations to spice farmers supplying a variety of spices (clove, black pepper and cinnamon) to CE. In addition to training farmers on improved production, harvesting, maintenance and post-harvest management the consultant is expected explore a few more varieties of locally grown spices that has the potential to be processed and sold in the local and export market.

Key responsibilities under this broad objective would include the following:

Ø  Identify current spice production practices of farmers supplying to CE. Spices of interest includes black pepper, clove and cinnamon.

Ø  Identify training needs of farmers for which they struggle to meet quality standards of buyers.

Ø Provide training to farmers (particularly female) and CE field extension staff on methods of improved spice production, harvesting (including appropriate time for picking fruits), maintenance and post-harvest management (e.g. drying). This should also include disease identification and remedies.

Ø  Training  topics  should  also  touch  upon  explaining  the  commercial  potential  of investing in managing spice gardens, basic accounting and management of cash flow earned through the sale of spices.

Ø  Provide training to CE field extension staff on quality control at each step of the supply chain when procuring spices from farmers.

Ø Explore additional varieties of locally grown spices that has the potential to be processed and sold targeting the local and export market.



To achieve the objective of the ToR, the consultant must go through the following steps: Phase 1 (30 days):

1. The consultant will meet representatives from CE Ltd. and understand the issues faced by CE in purchasing spices from farmers (particularly in relation to quality and volume of spices purchased)

2. The consultant will have to meet the spice farmers from all sourcing locations (Aileu, Ermera, Liquica, and Same municipalities) to identify current production practices and the gap in meeting acceptable standard Particular attention should be given to the practices by female farmers and female members of the household as they are key in maintaining spice gardens, harvesting and managing post-harvest processes.

3. Consultant must develop a training manual based on needs assessment for training farmers and CE field extension staff and a brief standard operating procedure for CE staff to manage quality control at each stage of the supply chain.

4. Train farmers and CE field extension staff on methods of improved production, maintenance, harvest and post-harvest management and also orient them on the commercial potential of investing in spice production. This should include a combination of class room training and field demonstration. Focus should be given to female farmers but where men are involved in production, they too will be included to ensure that men understand their and their partner’s role in spice production. During the design of the training programs, attention must be given to the design delivery of training programs as is most accessible and convenient for female farmer

5. Trainer must ensure that the CE field staff are thoroughly involved in the process so that they are able to train farmers in future as is required.


Phase 2 (30 days):

Phase 2 will be organized during the period of harvesting and will act as a refresher course for farmers. During this phase the trainer is expected to evaluate the retention knowledge of farmers from previous training and based on their need the training manual may be tailored. In this phase the trainer will also accompany the CE field extension agents to organize short training sessions to make sure that they are able to extend training support as needed. The training is also expected to monitor the procurement process to ensure that quality control is maintained during sourcing of spices to meet adequate standard.




Step 1: Understand the current spice Production Practices 1.  Identify gaps in current and best practices in production,

harvest and post-harvest management of spices.


2. Submit a training needs assessment of farmers, with a particular focus on female farmers engaged in spice production

+/- 10 days (including field travel)
Step 2: Develop training manuals 1.  Develop training manual for farmers on improved production, harvest and post-harvest practices. Training manual should also include sessions on encouraging greater investment in spice production, basic cash flow management and motivation to female farmers on improving their engagement in spice production.

2.  Develop a Standard Operating Manual for CE field

+/- 6 days


extension staff for quality control of spice purchased.
Step 3: Train farmers and CE field extension staff on modern spice growing, harvesting and drying practices 1.  Provide hands-on training to farmers and CE field extension agents. This should include a combination of classroom sessions and demonstrations. Regular farm visits are required by the trainer.

2.  Submit all presentation and timesheets following training delivery to all CE field extension agents on production, harvesting and drying of spices in line with the guidelines and protocols developed under step 2.

3.  Submit participation list, presentation and timesheets following training delivery to farmer groups from all sourcing locations of CE Ltd.

+/- 30 (multiple training sessions

over 30

days in different locations)

Explore other potential spices Explore other potential spices for CE ltd to process and sell in the local and export market +/- 12 days
Travel days to TL +/-2 days
Total Days in Phase 1 60 days
Refresher Training for farmers and CE field extension staff 1.  Provide hands-on refresher training to farmers (accompanied by CE field agents) in all sourcing locations.

2.  Submit participation list, presentation and timesheets following delivery of refresher training farmers

3.  Submit evaluation report on CE field agents’ use of good practices as per the Standard Operating Procedure of procuring good quality spices.

3 months (the breakdown of days will

be decided

after completion of phase 1 depending on the need)

The distribution of days between steps is indicative and can be changed if needed. The assignment cannot exceed a maximum of 12 working days, inclusive of 2 travel days.

All reports and presentations shall be written in English or in the language required by CE Ltd. (Tetum or Bahasa Indonesia) and submitted to CE Ltd. within a reasonable time frame as specified by the consultancy agreement. All the documents are to be submitted to CE Ltd. office in Timor-Leste. The expert is also expected to submit timesheet during the assignment period.


Duration and location

The period for the assignment is expected to be 6 months, divided in 2 phases.


Technical Direction

The Spice Expert will be responsible to report to Managing Director of CE Ltd. for the submission of deliverables. The expert should regularly engage CE Ltd Field Extension Staff and must consult CE’s development partner (Market Development Facility) at all steps of the assignment. He/she is expected to update the MDF team and CE Ltd. on the progress of the assignment and on any issues around difficulties in delivering the assignment as per the ToR.

The resources to be provided to the consultant will be discussed at the interview session during the selection process.

Application Requirements

The ideal candidate for this assignment must meet the following requirements:

1. Hold   an   academic  degree  (preferably  post-graduate)  in   agriculture,  horticulture, soil/earth sciences, crop/plant scienc

2. Excellent  academic/professional  knowledge  on  spice  farming  and  managing  spice supply-chain.

3. More than 6 years of professional experience in implementing and/or managing spice production projects in ASEAN countries, preferably Indon

4. Have experience in designing and delivering training to farmers on spice production, garden management, harvest, and post-harvest handlin

5. Ability and willingness to travel and work in remote rural are

6. Excellent organizational and project management sk

7. Strong interpersonal skill

8. Good  written  and  verbal  communications  skills  in  English,  and  Tetum  or  Bahasa



To Apply

To apply, please submit a CV and Cover Letter describing your experiences, understanding of the ToR and how and why you or your institution is most appropriate to perform this task, to:

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