Head, Soil Fertility & Fertilizer Systems – Job Reference: PDI/SH/02/2020

Nairobi, Kenya

Founded in 2006, the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), is an African-led African-based organization that seeks to catalyze Agriculture Transformation in Africa. AGRA is focused on putting smallholder farmers at the center of the continent’s growing economy by transforming agriculture from a solitary struggle to survive into farming as a business that thrives. As the sector that employs the majority of Africa’s people, nearly all of them small-scale farmers, AGRA recognizes that developing smallholder agriculture into a productive, efficient, and sustainable system is essential to ensuring food security, lifting millions out of poverty, and driving equitable growth across the continent.

Under its 5-year strategy, AGRA looks to catalyze and sustain an Inclusive Agricultural Transformation in Africa to increase incomes and improve food security for 30 million farmers. Under this strategy, AGRA will deliver through an approach that simultaneously catalyzes change at farmer level, strengthens input and output market systems and puts government at the center to enable and champion private-sector-led agricultural growth at national level.

To support this transformation, AGRA is seeking to recruit an experienced and exceptional individual to the position Head, Soil Fertility & Fertilizer Systems.

The role will be based in Nairobi, Kenya (Approximately 40% Travel)

The Position:

Reporting to the Vice President, Program Development & Innovation, the Head of Soil Fertility & Fertilizer Systems is primarily responsible for identifying and implementing high priority transformational soil fertility and fertilizer systems development issues that will address systemic and structural challenges to transforming the soils sub-sector for AGRA and Africa.

S/he manages any soil related implemented projects, directing the work of the Soil fertility and fertilizer systems development knowledge centers as well as facilitating support to AGRA’s agricultural commercialization activities as pertains to issues of soil fertility and fertilizer systems development.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

  • Leads in the development of strong and convincing soil fertility and fertilizer systems management policies procedures and strategies and manages implementation
  • Leads in the creation and delivery of fertility & fertilizer systems strategies and programs to achieve AGRA’s overall goal and mission for agricultural transformation in Africa
  • Drives the implementation of grants strategies to soil fertility and fertilizer systems that could be brought to scale, and do so in ways that leverages public and private investments
  • Leads and acts as a scout and tests new technologies
  • Recommends and develops new products, creates enticing product claims and identifies cost saving opportunities
  • Provides technical assistance to R&D, marketing, regulatory, sourcing, quality, and manufacturing when appropriate
  • Leads the conducting of professional biological research, statistical data analysis, and summarizes results into research reports, position papers, etc. to deliver project deliverables such as new products, new product label claims and cost savings per established timelines
  • Strategizes and directs all AGRA’s fertilizer systems development activities
  • Provides technical support to countries to enhance fertilizer uptake towards achieving 50 kg/ha usage.
  • Serves as a thought leader in the area of soil fertility and fertilizer systems in AGRA, participating substantively in conferences (both international and domestic) and supporting planning of transformation agenda deliverables for the sub-sector
  • Inspires high quality, results-focused stakeholder management, and builds a genuinely collaborative engagement with key government, regional, private sector, other non-profit and bilateral partners in the delivery of priority soil fertility and fertilizer systems objectives
  • Collaborating with key soils stakeholders across both public and non-public sectors, leads the development and implementation of diagnostic activities, strategies, policies, and solution design by the Soil fertility and fertilizer systems knowledge centers and institutions
  • Provides guidance, high level technical support and manages design and/or implementation of AGRA implemented projects in the soils sub-sector
  • Communicates results through written and verbal communication
  • Inspires and grows teamwork, partnership and collaboration among the product development team to raise overall team contributions and performance
  • Achieves talent development of existing staff, hiring new staff as necessary and manages team dynamics of the team to ensure a high-performance team
  • Directs and provides coaching to relevant technical and administrative staff.
  • Directs fertility and fertilizer systems projects and programs, assuming overall responsibility for the direction and management of the programs and projects under it and mobilizing needed financial, human or organizational resources for program execution
  • Set standards for technical and operational excellence in the execution of AGRA Initiatives, with a focus on soil fertility and fertilizer systems development issues
  • Plans and manages the Program’s budget; obtains approvals from senior level management and monitors budget utilization against allocation
  • Directs the development of an institutionalized soil fertility and fertilizer systems development knowledge base for AGRA
  • Regularly reports to the VP Program Development & Innovation, and to the President on progress, challenges and constraints of the program team activities.

Academic, Professional Qualifications and Relevant experience:

  • Ph.D. with emphasis in soil science or agriculture science and management or a Master of Science in the soil systems with significant demonstrated industry experience in product development experimentation, report development and communications
  • Fluency in English required; ability to communicate in French will be considered an asset
  • Knowledge of different soil improvement interventions
  • Understanding of experimental design
  • Understanding how to improve soil fertility with resilience lens
  • Familiarity with statistical analysis of data using ARM or similar statistical analysis software
  • Minimum of 10 years’ experience in agricultural development in Africa, with a focus on soil fertility and fertilizer systems
  • Deep knowledge of the basic tenets of soil and fertilizer systems and how they impact food chain, both internationally and within the African context
  • Deep knowledge why fertilizer use is extremely low in Africa and what needs to be done to correct the anomaly
  • Experimental design, establishment, trial management, data collection, data analysis, interpretation of results and reporting of results in written and oral formats
  • Publication of peer-reviewed scientific papers related to soil and fertilizer systems
  • Ability to support design of scientifically sound experiments
  • Ability to analyze and critically evaluate data generated from experiments
  • Ability to interpret results and report in a concise format
  • Pesticide applicators license or ability to obtain within 1 year of hire
  • Familiarity with soil mapping, analyses and validation of fertilizer types including blends
  • Strong verbal and written communications skills
  • Ability to speak in front of large groups in lecture and field settings
  • Skills in identifying limitations of national fertilizer regulatory agencies and supporting them to design and implement corrective measures
  • Fluency in French is an added advantage.

An attractive remuneration package commensurate with this position’s responsibility will be negotiated with the successful candidate.

If you believe you are the right candidate for this position, kindly submit your application with a detailed CV (including your e-mail and telephone contacts) to recruit@agra.org. Please quote the job reference number in the subject line of the application e-mail.

To be considered, applications must be received by 24th February, 2020.

For more information on AGRA, applicants can visit www.agra.org

Note: Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer