Value Chains Analysis Consultant

United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)

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Increasing poverty rates, lack of employment opportunities, inequalities, lack of justice, political participation, and competition over scarce natural resources, especially water, have been among the key triggers for the social and political unrest that erupted in Yemen in 2011. Today, after six years of war, Yemen is not only experiencing one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, but also threatened by acute and persistent natural resource related conflicts crisis, food insecurity and dependency on international aid as well as the ever-increasing impact of climate change. The overall development challenge to be addressed is the reduced livelihood resilience of Yemenis due to increased risk of water scarcity, disasters, food insecurity, and water-induced conflict.

While there is no clear or credible data on progress, or lack thereof, in relation to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Yemen as the poorest state in the Arab region and the only Least Developed Country (LDC) would not have been able to achieve the SDGs even without the war. One of the critical factors influencing several SDGs is water scarcity, which in Yemen has been a long-lasting and worsening issue with a multitude of social and economic effects. The population of Yemen is estimated at 28 million, of whom 74 percent live in rural areas. Past hydrological assessments revealed that the total water yield for Yemen was 2.1-2.4 billion m3 in the 1980s. Current demand estimates are as high as 3.4 billion m3 per year showing increased demand that greatly exceeds supply in many catchments.

As agriculture is estimated to use 93 percent of available surface and groundwater, Yemen’s groundwater reserves are expected to be exhausted in another two to three decades. The lack of sufficient water resources leads to conflicts and to water-induced migration, aggravating the already witnessed food insecurity and escalated humanitarian response.  Women have become primary growers as more men migrate from rural areas to cities to look for better jobs or to join the armed conflict. The lack of water locks women in a cycle of poverty, hence empowering women is critical to solving the water crisis.

Almost all water basins are at critical stages, among which the very critical basins are Sana’a, Taiz, Tuban-Lahj, Middle Highlands and Tehama, Ramlet al Sabatain water basins, where water exploited from the groundwater is more than three times the replenishment rates. Demands for water have increased due to high concentrations of people in urban areas, population growth and displacement due to conflict.

Reduced agricultural productivity is considered one of the most devastating impacts of climate change, leading to increased food insecurity and reduced opportunities to generate income. Agriculture remains the country’s most important productive sector, contributing 25 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and employing over 45 percent of the country’s work force. However, because of low productivity and emerging water shortages, rural incomes are stagnating, and poverty is increasing.

Qat production has increased considerably over the past 5-10 years and has been estimated to consume one-third of the abstracted groundwater. While Qat production generates income and livelihoods for farmers, it uses up finite groundwater resources and arable land, and provides no nutritional use in a country that is struck by protracted conflict and rising rates of malnutrition. Qat consumption is one of the key causes of poverty in Yemen and should be considered a complex issue underlying other developmental constraints in Yemen and negatively impacting and preventing any progress towards achievement of SDGs across the board.

The ‘Qat-to-Coffee for Climate Resilience and Human Security in Yemen’ project, supported through a pilot grant under the regional SIDA-funded ‘SDG Climate Facility Project: Climate Action for Human Security’, seeks to address Qat production as a fundamental contributing factor to poverty, health and social problems, and groundwater depletion in Yemen. The objective of the project is to promote sustainable coffee production and value chains in Yemen as a high-value alternative crop to reduce groundwater exploitation, enhance livelihood opportunities, and empower women. The project will focus on elucidating the increasing role of Qat production in the economy and livelihoods of vulnerable Yemenis, as a basis for developing options to transition agricultural production from Qat towards cash crops such as coffee that may generate similar levels of financial returns. The project will identify and pilot the production of climate-resilient crops, including more resilient varieties of coffee[1], that may be suitable for the local context and climatic conditions under various climate change scenarios.

The project encompasses two components: (1) Carry out a value chain analysis of Qat production in Yemen, with a focus on the financial income benefits and livelihood opportunities offered by Qat production and to develop recommendations to promote the coffee value chain as an alternative; (2) pilot climate-resilient Yemeni coffee varieties including sustainable water resources management practices as an alternative to unsustainable Qat production to enhance climate security in select communities. This approach will also focus on elaborating recommendations to improve the coffee value chain in Yemen to enhance Yemeni ability to export coffee on international markets. The pilots under Component 2 will be based on the development of an inclusive participatory community transition plan for select female and male farmers to pilot the Qat-to-Coffee approach. The pilots will support training as well as procurement of coffee seedlings, small-scale infrastructure such as rainwater harvesting systems, or coffee cleaning & grading equipment for at least two pilot communities.

The analysis to be carried out under Component 1 will also include socio-economic aspects and assess the role of different groups of society, including women and marginalized people, at different stages of the coffee value chain from crop production and harvesting to distribution and export networks. The resulting solution approach is expected to contribute to sustainable income from coffee cultivation, in a way that also supports economic empowerment of women. Component 2 may therefore also include gender-responsive activities such as the establishment of women associations.

The project will also support outreach and communication of the results of the value chain analysis under Component 1 as it relates to the potential benefits of promoting coffee value chains as an alternative to Qat production, to relevant key stakeholders at the national and international level with a view to raising additional resources for the on-the-ground implementation of pilots in communities under Component 2.



  1. Carry out value chain analyses of Qat and coffee production in Yemen, with a focus on the financial income benefits and livelihood opportunities offered by Qat and coffee production.
  2. Assess socio-economic aspects and the role of different groups of society, including women and marginalized people, at different stages of Qat and coffee value chain from crop production and harvesting to distribution and export networks.
  3. Develop recommendations to promote the coffee value chain as an alternative to Qat value chain.
  4. Develop recommendations on how coffee value chain can empower women and marginalized people and avoid groundwater extraction.


It is expected that the analysis will employ a combination of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. The Consultants shall propose own methodology, which will include:

Secondary data collection:  review of all relevant studies and materials already produced by the Government, donors, NGOs and/or research institutes in the recent past, and in-detail scan of the outcomes of these studies, as a starting point to map the value chain and to reveal the main constraints.

Primary data collection: collecting data from identified stakeholders – qat and coffee producers and producer associations and cooperatives, distributors, local authorities, development partners, UN agencies etc.




Institutional Arrangements

The consultant will work under the direct supervision of the UNDP Yemen Peace Support Operations (PSO) Team Leader and Deputy team leader and in collaboration with the SDG Climate Facility regional project office located in the UNDP Regional Hub for Arab States, and other UNDP Yemen programme teams. He will be supported by a National Consultant working in the same team. The consultants will interact with other UN agencies especially the Food and Agriculture Organisation, relevant government ministries and local authorities.

The International consultant will work remotely from home (desk review and report writing) and will involve in field visits only, if the security situation allows and UNDP asks for the field presence in writing. Whilst the National Consultant will support from in-country with field data collection and community engagement. UNDP will provide the consultants with logistical support in conducting the assignment – relevant background documents for review, setting up meetings with national stakeholders.

Scope of Work

UNDP seeks to contract one international consultant (IC) one national consultant (NC) to undertake a ‘qat to coffee’ value-chain analyses. The consultants are expected to provide the following deliverables:

  • Analysis of the qat and coffee value chains:
  • Desk review of available data on qat and coffee value chains.
  • Brief market assessment to identify local, national, and regional trends, market size, supply and demand gaps and distribution networks for qat and coffee.
  • Assess drivers and constraints of the qat and coffee value chains.
  • Review the legal and regulatory environment in which the value chain operates focussing on policies, incentives, production and export promotion tools, financing, competition, research, and development.
  • Analyse the economic, social, and environmental impacts of qat and coffee production.
  • Assessment of the structure and flow of the qat and coffee value chains:
  • Describe the structure and flow of the chains focussing on the linkages among the whole range of chain operations from pre-production (supply of inputs) to marketing.
  • Quantify the value chains, focussing on the size and scale of main actors, production volumes, employment, sales destinations, and concentration by region.
  • Analysis of the value chains’ performance:
  • Identify key quantitative and qualitative performance indicators for the value chains.
  • Analyse the value chains’ external factors of competitiveness.
  • Analyse the value chains’ technological capacities and carry out an economic performance analysis and benchmarking against potential competitors/produce.
  • Identifying coffee value chain’s performance constraints and development opportunities:
  • Identify coffee value chain constraints and cluster them according to their impact on backward and forward linkages.
  • Identify development opportunities in the coffee value chain and ranks them according to impact and feasibility.
  • Assess the coffee value chain’s potential impact on the livelihoods of the poor, marginalised and vulnerable groups including internally displaced people, youth, and women.
  • Designing a development strategy for the coffee value chain
  • Identify potential pilot project sites to promote coffee production as an alternative to Qat.
  • Formulate a scaling up strategy for coffee value chain, including detailed support required, geographical locations, suitable coffee varieties, profile of farmers to be targeted and the related investment gaps.
  • Recommend policies and measures geared towards enhancing the competitiveness of the coffee value chain.
  • Clarify roles and responsibilities for the implementation of the scaling up strategy, as well as recommended policies and measures for improved competitiveness.

The analysis is expected to inform and contribute towards; a) production of climate-resilient crops, including more resilient varieties of coffee, suitable for the local context and climatic conditions; b) generation of sustainable income from coffee cultivation, in a way that also supports economic empowerment of communities and vulnerable population groups including youth and women

1)         Familiarity with the socio-cultural context of Middle East and the cultural, political and religious sensitivities relevant to the Yemen crisis.

2)         Excellent writing and communication skills in English and Arabic, with enough experience in applying all required tools and methods for conducting project evaluation in crisis settings including participatory appraisal techniques in data collection, sensitive to gender issues etc.



Qualifications of the Successful Candidate

  • Masters’ degree in economics, agriculture, business management, development, or other relevant area.
  • At least 10 years of direct experience in the field of business development in qat or coffee production.
  • Practical experience in conducting value chain analyses, preferably in post conflict environments.
  • Experience in designing or implementing poverty reduction initiatives through livelihood development for rural communities.
  • Demonstrable knowledge on pro-poor value chain development using participatory methods.

Fluency in both written and spoken English language is required. Knowledge of Arabic language is an asset