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Implementation & Liaison Officer, SEEDSAT – Job Reference: ILO/PID/05/2022

Nairobi, Kenya

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About AGRA 

Established in 2006, AGRA is an African-led and Africa-based institution that puts 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. Together with our partners, we are working to sustainably grow Africa’s food systems.

AGRA strengthens seed systems, develops and promotes sustainable farming practices, helps unlock trade and markets, and supports governments who lead their countries’ development. We work with farmers to adapt to climate change, increase soil health, and protect the environment.  AGRA believes deeply in the urgency of reducing the inequality that women face in agriculture, and to unlocking the power and innovation of youth.

Seed systems in sub-Saharan Africa are frequently poorly aligned with best practices and thus unable to serve African farmers effectively.  A key reason for the poor alignment is lack of knowledge and capacity among key individuals from both public and private sectors responsible for implementing various activities within national seed systems. AGRA is working to address this challenge through the establishment of its new Center of Excellence for Seed Systems in Africa (CESSA).  A foundational cornerstone of CESSA is the Seed Systems Assessment Tool (SeedSAT), which is a newly rolled-out approach for analyzing seed systems at a holistic level.   Early results from SeedSAT assessments are establishing that a key flagship program within CESSA will need to be Capacity Building and Technical Support. 

To support the successful delivery of this assignment, AGRA is seeking to recruit an experienced and exceptional individual to the role of Implementation & Liaison Officer.

The role will be based in Nairobi, Kenya.

Why AGRA? 

At AGRA we believe Agriculture is the single greatest opportunity to deliver inclusive economic growth, jobs, and health to the African continent. An alliance led by Africans with roots in farming communities across the continent combined with an inclusive and diverse workforce from 24 nationalities. Our values of (I-RISE; Integrity, Respect, Innovation, Stewardship and Equity.) espouse our commitment to a call to action to go beyond ourselves as we arise and transform Africa’s Agriculture.

When you join us, we present you with intellectually stimulating assignments and structured career advancement with 30% of open roles being filled internally through promotions and transfers, and a Leadership commitment for this ratio to increase. This is after setting you up for success with a World Class Onboarding for new hires where a bespoke induction trains on all aspects of the role that you will need to succeed. You will gain a full understanding of our lofty ambitions to transform African agriculture, and how you can contribute to an amazing employee experience.

An attractive remuneration package benchmarked at the 67Th Percentile of the Market with fabulous benefits such as pension, medical cover, life assurance and provision of tools of trade that allow you to work productively anywhere; which are commensurate with this position’s responsibility, scope and impact. 

We are looking for people who are passionate about Africa, curious and collaborative to join our innovative, growing, and multidisciplinary team.

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

Role Summary: 

The position is part of the SeedSAT team within CESSA and reports to the Program Manager, SeedSAT.  The individual in this position will serve as the key liaison between SeedSAT/CESSA and the partners essential for implementing the SeedSAT recommendations jointly agreed by AGRA and key national stakeholders, primarily government but also including other stakeholder groups (such as seed trade associations and apex farmer groups) and development partners.  The key rationale for strong government liaison from the outset is recognition that permanent systemic change in seed systems requires government buy-in and ongoing support for the proposed changes.  A highly functional liaison will be key to achieving this.

Internally, the position will coordinate closely with technical specialists for the eight technical SeedSAT thematic areas within CESSA to implement recommended solutions.  These thematic areas are: Breeding, Variety Release and Maintenance; Early Generation Seed; Quality Commercial Seed Production; Farmer Awareness and Participation; Seed Marketing and Distribution; Policy, Legal and Regulatory; Quality Assurance; and National Planning and Coordination.

The position will entail over 75% travel to countries implementing SeedSAT recommendations, ultimately anticipated to include all AGRA focus countries.  

Key Duties and Responsibilities:

  • As required by the SeedSAT Project Manager, serve as the liaison person for non-government technical and/or development partners.
  • Serve as the key point of contact for implementation of SeedSAT recommendations at a national level with designated government institutions and selected other permanent actor stakeholders.
  • Serve as a key implementation conduit with both CESSA technical specialists and AGRA Country Teams, working jointly with them to ensure timely and effective implementation of SeedSAT recommendations leading to positive systemic change benefiting farmers.
  • Develop strong working relationships with the key government individuals and institutions responsible for overseeing and strengthening national seed systems with the goal of jointly bringing about increased effectiveness (in terms of quantity, quality and varietal upgrading) and efficiency (in terms of cost and timeliness) of pluralistic national seed systems, aligned with best seed system practices.
  • Build effective implementation partnerships with national government partners, with a focus on concrete and timely implementation of SeedSAT recommendations jointly selected for implementation by both AGRA and government and private sector partners.
  • Maintain strong knowledge of status of all SeedSAT implementation efforts and when government or other partners are responsible for bottlenecks or slowdowns, work to quickly resolve the issues and advance the work.
  • Working with the AGRA country teams and the full SeedSAT team, construct and maintain complete lists of critical resource persons, decision makers, and key individuals for implementation support.
  • Develop a clear, easily communicated, tracking mechanism for national government collaboration responsibilities, status, and accomplishments related to implementation of funded SeedSAT recommendations.
  • Prepare all materials required for AGRA updates, budgeting, communications, strategic planning, and other relevant purposes.

Academic, Professional Qualifications and Relevant experience:

  • Minimum of a Masters’ Degree in an Agriculture-related field, Agricultural Economics, and or business paired with relevant experience in Agriculture.
  • Minimum ten years liaison work with government institutions involved in Agriculture.
  • Strong general knowledge of seed systems, including best practices for effective and functional seed systems supporting farmers.
  • Ability to generally, but accurately, understand and communicate about a wide variety of technical seed issues.
  • Proven ability to manage and successfully advance a multi-faceted, multi-country set of responsibilities.
  • Strong interpersonal communication skills, including communication with government leaders and other high-level stakeholders.
  • Able to work independently and in a team environment.
  • Able to prioritize responsibilities and adhere to deadlines.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills – fluency in English is a must.
  • Fluency in French will be 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 address and telephone contacts to recruit@agra.org noting to quote the job reference number in the subject of your email)

Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer