Quality Assurance Advisor to Provide Advisory Support for CSO Izbor in Strumica

Tags: Covid Covid-19
  • Added Date: Tuesday, 30 June 2020
  • Deadline Date: Tuesday, 14 July 2020
Background

UNDP is the development arm of the United Nations system, with offices in 180 countries. Globally, the organization employs 17,000 people and manages a budget of USD 5 billion each year.

The UNDP office in Skopje employs a team of 65 and currently manages a portfolio of projects in environmental protection, good governance and social inclusion worth USD 15 million per year.

Center for work-oriented rehabilitation and support of the employment of persons with disabilities established in partnership with CSO Izbor, Strumica is delivering set of different services towards increment of employability and labour market inclusion of persons with disabilities. One of the services aiming labour market inclusion in delivering vocational training and skills development of the service users in the agriculture sector especially in the field of dehydration, processing and packing of fruits and vegetables. Within the training center as the natural environment for skills development in the real setting, UNDP has introducing the new innovative technology for land products processing, dehydration and technology for Modified Atmosphere Packing. This new MAP technology is introduced as a Covid – 19 response targeting from one side persons in need for training and employment and the farmers from the Southeast region as help and support in overcoming the negative economic influences that are result of the Covid – 19 pandemics. 

UNDP is seeking MAP Quality Standards Advisor to assist in setting the process of production and manufacturing process in the drying facility for the new services in the Training center for work- oriented rehabilitation, food processing and packing in the CSO Izbor, Strumica in compliance with the necessary quality standards. The support is envisioned as an advisory support in setting the production line to guarantee the quality standards up to the requirements from clients and market.

Lately, there has been a growing interest in fresh, naturally preserved, and good quality food products that are less chemically treated. That forcing the manufacturers to pay special attention to improving the methods that prolong durability and exclude artificial additives and preservatives in fresh and drying fruits& vegetables. Only in this way the demands of consumers will be fulfilled, while the producers will be profitable - not only will they be able to keep the consumers, but they will also be able to expand their market.

Packaging in a modified atmosphere is a proven recipe. Today, no other method in the whole processing chain can offer so many advantages for quality preservation and extension of the expiration date of the food in a modified atmosphere. Packaging technology in a modified atmosphere retains the good properties of the products for a long time. In addition, MAP (Modified Atmosphere Packaging) technology is inexpensive. Equipment costs, packaging material and gas can be kept to a minimum and packaging machines can be used for many different products.

Duties and Responsibilities

Objective of the Assignment

The main objective of the assignment is to provide expert support and assist in setting and assuring the quality production process in the drying and packing facility which is part of the Training center for work – oriented rehabilitation in CSO Izbor,Strumica.

The purpose of this assignment is to develop a Modified Atmosphere Packaging Program (MAP) and develop quality standards for dehydration processes of different types of fruits and vegetables .

MAP is a special treatment for ready-made products that protects the oxidation of foods which contains fats and aromatic substances, maintains the freshness of the food, provides a longer expiry date without discoloration. The modified atmosphere is a leading technology in food preservation. Packaging technology in a modified environment consists the application of gases during the packaging of various products in order to maintain original quality from manufacturer to consumer. The packaging of food products in a modified atmosphere achieves the following advantages:

- extending the expiry date of packaged products two to five times longer, which means increasing the quantity of constantly fresh food on the market;

- reducing the number of perishable food products;

- increasing the efficiency of production, distribution and reduced costs;

- increase the sales of products that meet all the requirements of consumers for naturally preserved food quality, without any additives and preservatives;

- increase in total sales, because packaged products in this way can be offered on a new market;

- stronger packaging - increased flexibility of packaging and distribution;

- better appearance of the food.

The assignment needs to provide quality assurance at all levels of the production, starting from input supply and determining the necessary agriculture products with a specific quality to be provided by farmers and monitoring and controlling the process of production and MAP of products with a specific quality. It includes also establishment a solid base for of contracts with farmers and producers in wider regions so that it guarantees on increased input for the production . It is especially important in view to the COVID-19 crisis and the limited asses to market and sale for farmers and individual producers from Strumica region. 

Scope of Work

Under direct supervision of the Programme Officer and Project Manager within the Social Inclusion unit, the MAP Quality Standard Advisor will be deployed in the training center for food processing and packing as CSO Izbor, Strumica. will undertake the following main duties and responsibilities:

  • Development and assistance in implementation of technology of dehydration (drying) of fruits and vegetables;
  • Development and assistance in implementation of the Modified Atmosphere Packing technology.

To achieve the goal described above, a dehydration (drying)  and packing technique with MAP for fresh and dried fruits and vegetables, and whole grains need to be developed and implemented within the set quality standards that will secure the safe production of high quality food products.

Technology for drying of fruit and vegetables

Drying removes the moisture from the food so bacteria, yeast and mold cannot grow and spoil the food. Drying also slows down the action of enzymes (naturally occurring substances which cause foods to ripen), but does not inactivate them. Because drying removes moisture, the food becomes smaller and lighter in weight. Foods can be dried in the sun, in an oven or in a food dehydrator by using the right combination of warm temperatures, low humidity and air current. In drying, warm temperatures cause the moisture to evaporate. Low humidity allows moisture to move quickly from the food to the air. Air current speeds up drying by moving the surrounding moist air away from the food.

The preparation for drying of vegetables and fruits should be performed according to appropriate standards, for which there are dryness tests, and are given in the table below for some commercially important species of fruits and vegetables.

Modified Atmosphere Packing Technology

The purpose of packaging in a modified atmosphere is to increase the shelf life of products, the action of gases is observed in terms of their ability to disrupt or slow down the decomposition process caused by microorganisms or physio-chemical agents that deeply change the product, making it unsuitable for consumption. In order for gases to be used properly, the properties and roles of the shielding gases must be well known, as well as the nature and characteristics of the products being packaged, such as the percentage of moisture, the level of organic matter, the color, the pH environment and others biochemical parameters of the products. All the gases that CSO Izbor Strumica will use in a MAP technology are on the positive list of additives-gases and has a declaration according to the quality standards and other requirements for additives and their mixtures for food products, and as such they have their own nomenclature.

 

E-number

Name of additives-gases

Functional properties

E 941

Nitrogen

packing gas

E 290

Carbon dioxide

preservative, packing gas

E 948

Oxygen

packing gas

MAP, as the supreme packaging technology of the 21st century, finds its application in almost all relevant foods. Although MAP has been improving for decades, it does not stop with new research and experiments with the atmosphere.

Application of MAP technology in fresh fruits and vegetables by CSO Izbor

The application of MAP in the packaging of fresh fruits and vegetables is a bit complicated because, unlike other food products, fruits and vegetables respire after harvest. The natural consequence of "breathing" is a decrease in the amount of oxygen and an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the closed package..  The metabolism of food products should be slowed down so that they stay fresh longer. Therefore, a balance must be struck between these two requirements. Fruits and vegetables of the best initial quality should be used for MAP. The temperature and the right choice of packaging material, in addition to choosing a modified atmosphere, are crucial to the storage and packaging process of these groceries. When choosing gases for MAP, the concentration of oxygen should be greater than 1% and the concentration of carbon dioxide less than 20%.

The concentration of gases ranges from 3 to 10% oxygen, 3 to 10% carbon dioxide, and 80 to 90% nitrogen are planned to be used as a key quality standards and quality assurance for MAP technology developed by CSO Izbor

Application of MAP technology in dried fruits and vegetables by CSO Izbor

Dried fruits and vegetables, dried spices are another group of products that are planned to be packaged with MAP, due to the already stated reasons and advantages of MAP. Nitrogen and carbon dioxide are involved in the packaging of gases.

Application of MAP technology in nuts by CSO Izbor

Peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, seeds are successfully packaged in MAP so that their shelf life and freshness would be extended, ie. would prevent the appearance of irritation that would occur after the oxidation of air-exposed fats. MAP is extremely simple for these products because it consists only of nitrogen.

Application of MAP technology in chips by CSO Izbor

Chips, as one of the best-selling groceries, must constantly follow the demands of consumers, especially as competition in the market increases. To prevent moisture loss and oil depletion, MAR consists only of inert nitrogen.

Packaging materials are a determining factor in food quality and shelf life. A combination of different plastic materials (PET, APET, HDPE, PP, PVC, CPET, EVA) is chosen in order to achieve:

- mechanical strength,

- water vapor limit (to prevent weight loss and dehydration),

- gas barrier,

- gas permeability,

- anti-fog properties.

When selecting packaging films for MAP of fruits and vegetables the main characteristics to consider are gas permeability, water vapor transmission rate, mechanical properties, transparency, type of package and sealing reliability. Traditionally used packaging films like LDPE (low-density polyethylene), PVC (polyvinyl chloride), EVA (ethylene-vinyl acetate) and OPP (oriented polypropylene) are not permeable enough for highly respiring products like fresh-cut produce, mushrooms and broccoli. As fruits and vegetables are respiring products, there is a need to transmit gases through the film. Films designed with these properties are called permeable films.

CSO Izbor plans to use a suitable combination of traditional packaging films and permeable films that will be suitable for labeling, storage and distribution of the product at the same time.

Product

Material

Fruits and vegetables

LDPE/OPP/PVC

 

Packaging machines, regardless of type, have a fixed order of operations during packaging:

1. the package is made and filled with product,

2. the air in the package is replaced by a modified atmosphere,

3. the package closes.

When replacing the air in the modified atmosphere package, it is usually first continuously rinsed with MAP gas (mixture) to dilute the air until it is completely extruded. Only then does the packaging close hermetically and the packing speed increases as continuous dilution is achieved. In the process of vacuuming, the air is removed from the package and the desired gas mixture is injected into the resulting vacuum. Because this is a two-step process, the packing speed is lower than the gas flushing method.

Main types of packaging machines that will be used in the MAP packaging process in the Training center in Izbor will be:

1. Horizontal flow packing machine, mainly for bakery products,

2. Vertical flow packing machine (for coffee, spices, peanuts, pistachio almonds, etc.,

3. Deep drawing machine suitable for hot dogs, meat, ready meals

4. Box sealing machine, the box in the box is adapted for large packages with meat (chicken, hot dogs)
5. Vacuum chamber machine for small production facilities for low cost products.

MAP gases: carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2) are delivered in the form of a mixture in bottles, or can be stirred on site from pressurized bottles, or by means of a gas mixer from a tank in the required proportions that dependence in product type. If production is relatively limited or a new production device is put into operation, it may be recommended to supply already mixed gases. When the speed of production increases and if a product breaks down, it can be better to mix the gases, that could be also more economically. In that case a gas mixer from bottles or cisterns could be used.
The choice of supply method that may be most convenient for the customer depends on the type of food product, the possibility, and the line of packaging and whether the gas would be used elsewhere in production.

In compliance to the key tasks, the MAP Quality Assurance Advisor need to provide:

  • Manage and implement draying and packing processes for continuous enhancement of the necessary quality standards for MAP.
  • Ensure that the manufacturing process is adopted with necessary quality standards set by the Agro-industry and the products manufactured are of best quality;
  • Meet with farmers and producers together with the main people responsible in CSO Izbor and the related social enterprise, and advice on different sub-contracting schemes for farmers;  
  • Provide technical support to the team and employees in the drying facility to keep and maintain on quality standards and safety parameters, and provide training and material where necessary
  • Reviews new products and develop initial quality plans and food safety instructions for customers and propose text for labeling;
  • Act as a technical expert for the necessary regulations and certifications processes;

The assignment is set in a combination with another Business Consultant engaged by UNDP oriented to monitoring of the existing business plan, and assisting in marketing, branding and providing support for access to market and sale as well as the introduction of the contract farming. 

The two consultants need to act together and will be directly coordinated by the coordinator of the Training center for work-oriented rehabilitation and food dehydration, processing and packing in CSO Izbor on a daily basis. An appropriate guidance will be provided also from UNDP office and persons responsible for this assignment.

EXPECTED OUTPUTS AND DELIVERABLES:

Deliverables

% of full contract amount

Tentative date

Develop Guidelines with key quality standards and quality assurance indicators for food dehydration process (preparation, dehydration, drying test and best types of packing technology related with the type of land products);  

25%

By 30th of July 2020 

Develop Guidelines for using technology MAP on fresh and dried fruits and vegetables, and whole grains;

25%

By 05th of September 2020

Provide texts for customer instructions on the content of at least 15 products with the nutrition and caloric value needed for getting certification and labeling of products; The list of products will be compiled with the coordinator of the Training center;

25%

By 30th of September 2020

Develop Instruction Manual for food safety in packaging, storage and distribution of products and assure that the employees meet with the requirements.

25%

By 30th of November 2020

All deliverables need to be finalized upon suggestions provided from UNDP representative.

The Payment will be made in two instalments, first upon delivery of the Deliverables 1 and 2 and  the second upon the delivery of the deliverables 3 and 4 and confirmation of UNDP on the satisfactory completion of the respective deliverables.

institutional arrangment

The MAP Quality Standard Advisor will work under direct supervision of the Project Manager and Private sector specialist within the UNDP. He/she will be in regular communication with the supervisor through e-mail and will follow on regular progress on a monthly basis. All communication and reports will need to be prepared in English language.

Duration of the Work

The duration of the Consultant’ work is estimated on 40 working days including the monitoring of the MAP technology in the period 15th of July 2020 to 1st of December 2020.  

Duty station and travel

The assignment will be deployed as a resource to the Training center for work – oriented rehabilitation and food processing and packing in CSO Izbor. The Consultant is responsible to make his/her own travel arrangements, and to include travel related expenses in her/his financial proposal.

If unforeseen travel is requested by UNDP and not required by the Terms of References (ToR), such travel shall be covered by UNDP in line with applicable rules and regulations

Competencies
  • Proven ability to provide quality assurance and advisory support in compliance to the quality standards in the agri-business sector, preferably in fruits & vegetable sub-sector;
  • Developed capability to successfully provide advisory services in inputs supply, sub-contracting and contract farming;
  • Demonstrated ability to conduct and use different tools and techniques for research and analysis;
  • Equipped with skills to communicate with farmers, producers and other stakeholders in the value chain;
  • Enabled to work and perform well under time pressures and considerable workload.
  • Developed capacity to conduct and organize field/site research duties and desk reviews.
  • Report writing abilities.

Required Skills and Experience

The selected candidates shall possess:

  • A Master degree in the field of agriculture or biotechnology, Agri-processing and technical and technological standards;
  • Minimum 3 years of progressive experience in the field of advisory and consultancy services in implementation of technical and technological standards in the agri-business sector, preferably in fruits and vegetables sub-sector;
  • Hands on experience in development of guidelines, studies and documents in the field of agriculture, biotechnology in fruits and vegetables production sub sector;
  • Excellent writing and oral communication skills in English.

CRITERIA FOR SELECTION OF BEST OFFEr

The award of the contract shall be made to the offeror whose offer has been evaluated and determined as:

a) Being responsive/compliant/acceptable, and

b) Having received the highest score based on the following weight of technical and financial criteria for solicitation as per the schedule below:

* Technical criteria weight: 70%

* Financial criteria weight: 30%

Only candidates obtaining a minimum of 49 points (70%) in the technical evaluation shall be considered for the financial evaluation.

For the considered offers in the financial evaluation only, the lowest price offer will receive 30 points. The other offers will receive points in relation to the lowest offer, based on the following formula: (Pn / Pl) * 30 where Pn is the financial offer being evaluated and Pl is the lowest financial offer received.

Technical Criteria:

Criteria

Maximum points

70

A minimum of Master degree in the field of agriculture or biotechnology, agri-processing and technical and technological standards 

Master degree = 10

10

Minimum 3 years of progressive experience in the field of advisory and consultancy services in implementation of technical and technological standards in the agri-business sector, preferably in fruits and vegetables sub-sector

From 3 to 5 years = 21 points

From 5 to 7 years = 25 points

More than 7 years = 30 points

30

Hands on experience in development of guidelines, studies and documents in the field of agriculture, biotechnology in fruits and vegetables production sub sector;

Good experience – 10 points

Very good experience – 20 points

             Excellent experience – 30 points

30

Interested offerors are invited to submit the following documents/information to be considered:

The submitted documents need to be provided in pdf format.

The financial proposal must consider various expenses that will be incurred during the contract, including: the daily professional fee; cost of travel out of Skopje duty station (if required); communications, any other expenses related to this assignment.

APPLICATION PROCEDURE

Step 1

1. Click on the "Apply now" button

2. Input your information in the appropriate sections: personal information, language proficiency, education, resume, and motivation (cover letter). You can type in or paste your short Resume into the last box.

3. Upon completion of the first page, please hit "submit application" tab at the end of the page. On the next page, you will be asked to upload other required documents listed in the step 2.

Step 2

Interested individual consultants must submit the documents/information listed in the “Documents to submit section” above.

The system will allow only one attachment. Therefore, please upload all required documents as one file.

Failing to submit any of these documents may result in disqualification of the application.

Please note that shortlisted candidates might be interviewed.

If the deliverables are not produced and delivered by the consultant to the satisfaction of UNDP as approved by the responsible Portfolio Manager, no payment will be made even if the consultant has invested man/days to produce and deliver such deliverables.