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WCR publishes request for proposals for Coffee Nursery Training Manuals

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To address the critical need to build a strong and professional coffee seed sector, World Coffee Research (WCR) will implement a Nursery Development Program which will operate in several coffee producing countries globally.

The Nursery Development Program is aimed at strengthening the capacity of small entrepreneurial and cooperative nurseries and seed producers to produce adequate volumes of genetically pure and healthy seedlings.

A main component of the Program will be a comprehensive training for seed producers and nurseries based on WCR Verified℠ nursery standards and good nursery and seed production practices.

WCR is seeking the services of a professional team to develop two manuals for the training program: (1) a Coffee Seed Producer Training Manual and (2) a Coffee Nursery Training Manual.

Background and Context

Coffee, like cocoa, is an orphan crop.  They both evolved in poor tropical countries and were exported for consumption to rich western countries.  As a result, very little agricultural research and development was ever expended on these crops in either their origin countries or their consuming countries.

Today, both crops are considered to be woefully under-innovated and precariously poised to deal with the effects of climate change.


Nowhere is this more clearly revealed than in the coffee seed sector.  Most coffee farmers do not know the variety they grow in their fields.  Most coffee farmers do not have knowledge that more appropriate varieties exist that could increase their profitability.

Most coffee farmers do not have access to seed and seedlings of new coffee varieties.  And all coffee farmers are currently at the mercy of the ‘market’ or public sector to obtain their planting material.

Is the coffee plant resistant to rust? Will it tolerate droughts?  Does it have the quality required for the industry?  This information is not clear to farmers.

To improve this basic agricultural service for the coffee sector at origin so that farmers can obtain genetically pure, healthy seedlings of known performance, WCR developed the WCR Verified℠ nursery certification program.

The program certifies coffee seed producers and coffee nurseries producing genetically pure and healthy planting materials for farmers.

When a farmer buys seedlings from WCR Verified℠ nurseries, s/he is assured that the nursery followed all the standard operating procedures to produce healthy and genetically pure seedlings to increase survival, adaptability and potential.

The program was initiated in September 2017, and a well-known, third-party auditing company, NSF, is conducting the audits of seed producers and nurseries.

Seed producers and nurseries who have been supplying large coffee companies and estates with planting material will be able to certify their operations and produce WCR Verified℠ planting materials to companies, NGOs, and estates seeking to renovate old rust-infected plantations and to establish new plantations.

Although this covers a significant production area, particularly in Latin America, smaller entrepreneurial and cooperative nurseries that serve the greater portion of smallholder farmers are at a disadvantage.

Those nurseries and seed producers are often found in remote areas, they are small, and they are almost always very primitive, producing questionable varieties of questionable plant health.

The need to improve production practices at these nurseries is high, but they are less equipped to pass a full Verification audit.

To build a strong and professional coffee seed sector that covers both large and small farmers, WCR is implementing a Nursery Development Program aimed at building the capacity of small entrepreneurial and cooperative nurseries to produce adequate volumes of genetically pure and healthy seedlings to small farms and farmers.

Training the smaller entrepreneurial nursery operations to manage and operate technically-sound and profitable nurseries will result in more farmers growing improved, more resilient varieties leading to increased production and profits.

The program will build strong rural organizations and businesses that serve coffee farming communities, reduce farmer risk and strengthen needed renovation programs in those countries.

Objectives of this Statement of Work

The purpose of this Statement of Work is to develop two manuals to use as the training material for the Nursery Development Program: (1) a Coffee Seed Producer Training Manual and (2) a Coffee Nursery Training Manual.

Both manuals will closely follow the WCR Verified℠ Four Pillars of Certification:

  • Plant Health standards: Nurseries and seed suppliers address critical points for producing healthy plants, including soil substrate, presence of nutritional deficiencies, diseases/pests, root health, mechanical damage, herbicide damage, etc.
  • Genetic Purity: The coffee variety has been identified using World Coffee Research DNA fingerprinting, so farmers can be certain they are buying the correct variety.
  • Education: The nursery makes information about the agronomic performance of different varieties available to farmers, so they can make an informed.
  • Breeder’s Rights: The nursery gives credit to breeders and their rights are respected.

The Coffee Seed Producer Training Manual will contain lessons in seed lot installation and maintenance as per the WCR Verified℠ standards for seed producers. It will include topics such as: best practices in isolation of seed lots, genetic validation of varieties, plant nutrition, disease prevention, seed selection, storage, and germination testing.

The Coffee Nursery Training Manual will introduce all aspects of the nursery standards as well as provide practical steps, solutions and guidance in achieving the standards. Other topics, such as micro-propagation and grafting, may also be included as appropriate.

The consultant team shall determine the appropriate number of modules or lessons so that all material is fully introduced and broken down to the right size for uptake. Lessons will be rooted in activity-based instruction that allows seed and nursery professionals to engage in practical application of each lesson or topic.

Through practical application, trainees can gain concrete skills rather than simply learn abstract knowledge. They take a turn at practicing the specific activity being taught, to facilitate “learning by doing.”

The manuals will be written in a manner that is appropriate for the intended audience, will include a large amount of visuals (such as photos and illustrations), and will consider the available local resources, the local context and capacity strengthening needs.

The manuals may be accompanied by instructions to the trainers, as required.

Both training manuals will be written in English and Spanish and both manuals will be pre-tested in the field to ensure they are understood and appropriate to local contexts. The manuals should be written in a way where modifications can easily be made to adjust to local contexts.

Geographical Scope

The Nursery Development Program will be implemented in coffee producing countries globally, however, it will be piloted in Central and South American countries first and eventually will be implemented in Africa and Asia.

There are no geographical requirements regarding the location for manual development, however, the team must have a strong understanding of the nursery sector in developing countries and in particular, Central and South America.  The manuals must be pre-tested in a Central American country as decided in collaboration with WCR.


  • Throughout the development of the materials, the team will work closely with the WCR Point of Contact to guide the direction of the work and to ensure progress is being made as planned.
  • Key Activities with Illustrative Timeline
  • Set up and hold initial meetings with key WCR staff to fully understand the context and vision for this work    7/9 – 7/10
  • Set up and hold meetings with external stakeholders, including NSF    7/11 – 7/13
    Review background materials    7/16 – 7/20
  • Prepare an outline and overall design for both manuals and obtain approval from WCR    7/23 – 7/27
  • Develop each training module. As each is developed, send to WCR for review. Edit each module until finalized.     7/30 – 9/28
  • Submit the two complete draft Manuals to WCR, present them to the wider WCR Team in an online presentation for review. Make edits.    10/1 – 10/5
  • Conduct a rapid field test of the Manuals. Make edits as required.     10/8 – 10/19
    Translate to Spanish.     10/1 – 11/2
  • Train WCR staff and others as appropriate on how to use the manuals.     11/5 – 11/9

Consultant Team Selection Criteria

  • This work will be awarded to a team which meets the following criteria:
  • Extensive professional and technical experience in coffee nursery and seed production
  • Experience in adult training and training manual development in a developing country context
  • Experience in illustrations or graphic design for training manuals in a developing country context
  • Experience in translation in the agriculture and business sector

Application Process

If you are interested in being considered for this tender, please send a short proposal (5-10 pages max) detailing:
(1)    the approach you would take to the work
(2)    how your team meets the selection criteria (including links to past relevant manuals/work)
(3)    a timeline
(4)    a budget

Please include your team’s CVs as an appendix (not counted towards the page limit).

Call published: June 8, 2018
Tender Deadline: July 1, 2018

They aim to have this work started by July 2018 and ending, no later than November 2019.
Please address your bids to:


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