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Terms of Reference for Consultants and Contractors

Local consultancy for  assessment of selected food industry in Azerbaijan with focus on wheat, flour and bread production

1. Program information:                           0039 Azerbaijan Country programme 2011-2015 
Program (No. & Name): 0039 YI 001 Access to Responsive Child Friendly Services
Project   (No. & Name):    0039 YI001-04, Health Systems Strengthening for Mother and Child Health and Nutrition 
             Activity Reference:                                0039 YI001-04-005,  Provision of technical assistance to MOH
on development of national programme  on anaemia prevention and control

2. Background and Context: 
Interest in micronutrient malnutrition has increased greatly over the last few years. One of the main reasons is the realization that micronutrient malnutrition (MNM) contributes substantially to the global burden of disease. MNM can affect all age groups, but young children and women of reproductive age tend to be among those most at risk of developing micronutrient deficiencies. The best way of preventing MNM is to ensure consumption of a balanced diet that is adequate in every nutrient. Unfortunately, this is far from being achievable everywhere since it requires universal access to adequate food and appropriate dietary habits. From this standpoint, food fortification has the dual advantage of being able to deliver nutrients to large segments of the population without requiring radical changes in food consumption patterns. In fact, fortification has been used for more than 80 years in industrialized countries as a means of restoring micronutrients lost by food processing, in particular, some of the B vitamins, and has been a major contributory factor in the eradication of diseases associated with deficiencies in these vitamins. Because of the increased awareness of the widespread prevalence and harmful effects of micronutrient malnutrition, and successful fortification experiences in other regions, Azerbaijan among other countries is now considering flour fortification programme for iron deficiency anaemia prevention.

Iron deficiency anaemia as a public health problem remains critical for Azerbaijan. Anaemia prevalence is quite high among women and children: according to DHS 2006, 39 % of children aged 6-59 months and 37% of women of reproductive age are suffering from anaemia. The prevalence of anaemia among pregnant women is even more prominent (45% have low blood haemoglobin level) which is causing low weight at birth (9.2%), further contributing to stunting, lowering further intellectual and physical abilities of children, and thus having potential economic impact on national growth. Anaemia as a recognized hazard to reproductive health, is connected also with maternal and perinatal mortality, premature childbirth, which considerably contributes to infant mortality.
The actions towards addressing iron deficiency anaemia as a public health issue were taken back by MOH in 2001-2003 with support of ADB and UNICEF in terms on developing draft legislation on wheat flour fortification and piloting fortification practices in selected private mills in the country, but this process has been postponed in 2004 due to management changes in MOH and opposition towards flour fortification mostly because of concern regarding Thalassemia which is the hereditary endemic disease in Azerbaijan. Currently MOH is focusing on addressing Thalassemia through adoption of the relevant Law and the National Programme; while the approach to address nutritional anemia as a public health issue has also been revitalized recently due to UNICEF’s advocacy. 

It is well recognized and accepted that nutritional anaemia must be addressed through a multi-sectoral approach, given the many factors involved including  food fortification with iron and other micronutrients in accordance with WHO standards; preventive oral supplementation of high risk groups with iron and folic acid; promotion of improved and diversified diets etc.

Recognizing the importance of building partnership with the food industry from the beginning, it is important to understand the situation of the grain and flour milling industry in the country. The specific areas for the assessment include the commercial, technical and regulatory standpoint, in order to identify opportunities for and potential obstacles to the advancement of flour fortification in Azerbaijan. The ability and needs of private industry has to be identified. 
Though this assessment will be focused on wheat flour milling industry, data collection and analysis should be extended to sugar, jam, jelly and fruit juice production for better evidence-based food fortification programme development in future. 

3. Purpose of the assignment
              In line with activities planned in RWP 2011-2012, to provide support technical assistance to GOA/ MOH  in  2 areas:  1) assessment of the current situation of the selected food industry with focus on wheat flour milling industry to evaluate the readiness of the private sector to play a central role in food fortification for anaemia prevention and 2) an analysis of how the current structure of wheat, flour and bread production would influence a flour fortification as a component of Anaemia Prevention and Control Programme in Azerbaijan with strategic recommendations. 

4. Duty station: Baku, Azerbaijan

5. Supervisor:  The work will be supervised by UNICEF Health Specialist with the general guidance of UNICEF Deputy Representative. The consultancy report will be submitted to UNICEF Representative and shared with the Government of Azerbaijan Republic.

6. Major tasks to be accomplished:
Selected food industry assessment should cover the following areas:
1) Industry structure  (who are the major companies; are they part of larger business groups or companies engaged only in flour milling; what is the size of informal (untaxed) sector; is foreign capital coming in etc). The following fields are the focus of interest: wheat flour milling industry, sugar, jam, fruit juice and jelly production and import.
2) Financial status (is the industry profitable, what are the overall trends; is there investment for new equipment etc)
3) Sales, marketing and distribution (what are the channels to reach the end users; is this a free market structure or are government agencies involved; to what extend is flour advertised to the consumers etc)
4) The structure of baking industry
5) Technology assessment and technical readiness
6) Quality monitoring and regulatory structure
7) Consumer interest groups (availability of such organizations in the country, their power and ability to influence consumer’s demand)
8) Macro-economic and micro-economic environment

7. Outcomes and deliverables, deadlines :

Final report including 2 major parts to be completed by October 30: 1) assessment of the current situation of the selected food industry and 2) an analysis of how the current structure of wheat, flour and bread production would influence a flour fortification as a component of Anaemia Prevention and Control Programme in Azerbaijan.

8. Time-Frame:
Consultancy will consist of assignments completed during September – November, 2011, to carry out tasks outlined in the TOR in a consequent and coherent way.

9.        Qualifications or specialized knowledge/experience required:

• Graduate degree in agriculture, business administration or equivalent
• At least 10 years of the relevant experience in the field of food industry, particularly in grain, flour milling and bread production
•  Background in performing food industry analysis and developing recommendations for introduction of new products and practices
• Good knowledge of the structure of food industry and private sector in the country
10. Procedures and logistics:
All additional costs, if applicable, will be covered based on UNICEF standards. UNICEF does not provide or arrange health insurance coverage for consultants.

11.      Application:
Interested organizations or individual consultants/group of consultants should send:
• a cover letter;
• the organizational profile or individual resume (in case of an organization/group the resume of each of the proposed team members);
• reference of previous relevant work (if applicable)

via e-mail to 

All applications will be treated with strict confidentiality. UNICEF is an equal opportunity employer.

UNICEF is mandated by the United Nations General Assembly to advocate for the protection of children's rights, to help meet their basic needs and to expand their opportunities to reach their full potential.

Deadline: September 22, 2011

For further information please contact: Tahmina Taghi-zada, Health Specialist,  99412 4923013 (ext 108)




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