AGRA and its Work
AGRA is an African-led institution that actively supports the drive towards inclusive agricultural transformation and sustainable food systems. We do this by empowering the continent’s 33 million smallholder farming households to transform their agriculture from a struggle to survive to profitable businesses. The continent’s farmers regularly face challenges, and we aspire to provide uniquely African solutions that respond to their agricultural and environmental challenges, leading to increased harvests for reduced hunger and more income.
Working in alignment with the development priorities of our focus countries, we enable farmers to access improved and high-yielding seeds, gain knowledge on sustainable farming, and linkages to profitable markets.
In our work, we aspire to build the alliances, partnerships, and networks required to drive an inclusive agricultural transformation. We work with our partners to create an equitable youth-friendly environment that harnesses the youth dividend on the continent to drive growth and facilitate open employment opportunities for young women and men. We achieve our key objectives through a focus on the following four areas of intervention:
Policy and state capability – We support governments in creating an enabling environment for private sector involvement in agricultural transformation.
Seed systems – We trigger higher productivity by increasing the availability and access to improved seeds by farmers allowing them to increase their harvests for food security and better incomes.
Sustainable farming – We support farmers in building resilient farming systems for sustained high yields through interventions such as mechanization and irrigation.
Inclusive markets and trade – We work to increase the linkages between farmers, and other market actors for a positive, sustained cycle of commercialization and reinvestment.
AGRA’s 2030 Strategy
The continent has, in recent years, taken steps towards inclusive agricultural transformation resulting in notable improvements in food security, with clear progress across all AGRA’s focus countries. However, with over 20% of Africans still suffering from hunger, we need to accelerate our progress and mitigate against the growing external pressures of conflict and climate on our food systems.
AGRA 2022-2030 Strategic Framework (SF2030) demonstrates our long-term vision for how we intend to contribute to, and align with, global and continental priorities, applying a food systems lens towards the goals of zero hunger, improved nutrition, an end to poverty, and climate adaptation. We have split our Strategic Framework 2030 into two 5-year strategies so that we have a clear mid-way point to evaluate progress and re-route our strategic focus if necessary. Our 2023-2027 Strategic Plan sets out to catalyze the growth of sustainable food systems across Africa by influencing and leveraging partners to build a robust enabling environment where the private sector thrives, and smallholders are empowered to produce sufficient, healthy food.
To contribute to a food system-inspired inclusive agricultural transformation across Africa, to reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and adapt to climate.
To catalyze the growth of sustainable food systems across Africa by influencing and leveraging partners to build a robust enabling environment where private sector thrives, and smallholder farmers are empowered to produce sufficient, healthy food.
- Empowering and building the resilience of small holder farmers
- Supporting the development of inclusive markets and finance to strengthen agricultural systems.
- Strengthening state capability to sustain agricultural transformation.
Implementing Our New Strategy Through People
AGRA is at the threshold of a new chapter where we begin implementing our new strategy of catalyzing inclusive, resilient and sustainable agricultural transformation. At AGRA we believe Agriculture is the single greatest opportunity to deliver inclusive economic growth, jobs, and health to the African continent.
People are the heart of our organisation and remain the true drivers of our delivery and our impact.
We are excited about a new fit-for-purpose organizational structure that is largely driven by an ambition to enhance collaboration across teams and drive sustainable growth. We have therefore purposed more focus on delivery of country programs within the new strategy giving even greater attention to optimising existing talent in addition to upscaling technical and operational resources.
We work with incredible people and partners who have roots in farming communities across the continent combined with an inclusive and diverse workforce from over 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.
We are looking for people who are passionate about Africa, curious and collaborative to join our innovative, growing, and multidisciplinary team. Together, we can grow Africa’s food systems improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Want to join us?
Lead – Sustainable Farming, Distribution and Youth in Extension
The Lead – Sustainable Farming, Distribution and Youth in Extension support the efforts of the Head of sustainable farming to ensure last mile delivery of inputs and services, which entails sustainable access to improved seed, fertilizer, and other inputs at the farmer level throughout the organization’s program area, eventually comprising 30 million farm families across Africa.
S/he will work closely with other colleagues in the area of sustainable intensification, extension and capacity building and resilience to ensure a continuum of learning and utilization of productivity-enhancing inputs among smallholder farmers.
Key Measures of Performance
The performance of this role holder will be assessed on the basis of the achievements made on:
- % improvement of access to relevant and quality farm inputs at farmer level
- % of increased literacy levels in productivity enhancement within smallholder farmers’ groups
- Quality of input products supplied and regulatory and control mechanisms
- Level of financing driven and achieved
- Number of input suppliers on boarded and the engagement of the private sector at large
- % increase of trained vs untrained Agro-dealers in any given area
Major Duties and Responsibilities
Purpose – Innovate
- Together with the Head of Unit creates and drives AGRA’s strategy to improve farmers access to and use of improved seed, Agro-inputs on a large-scale, at an affordable cost and in a more sustainable way
- Supports the Unit head to develop and implement initiatives that drive reduction of transaction costs (both at farm and for entrepreneurs)
- Supports the sensitization and training of large numbers of agro-dealers to stimulate supply of agro-inputs
- With the unit head, nurtures through various sectors, the emergence of an input supply network – mainly the private sector
- Pushes for credit availability for agro-dealers to boost their business working capital via increased business stocks to enhance availability of all farm inputs in the amounts demanded
Engagement – Advocate
- Networks closely with AGRA’s Program officers of seed systems and soil fertility and fertilizer systems to ensure that the improved seed and fertilizers reaching farmers is up-to-date and of acceptable quality
- Together with relevant internal and external teams advocates for the creation of demand toward increased use of yield enhancing inputs, promotion of sustainable crop production technologies, business networking and reduction in marketing costs of agricultural commodities in rural markets
- Advices on and supports collaborations that will build efficient input supply systems through improved access to finance and business partnerships with both government and donor institutions
- Enables talent management and development of existing staff, acquiring of new staff as necessary and manages team dynamics to ensure high-performance and positive employee experience.
- Communicates results through presentations, written and verbal communication.
Delivery – Define Project cycle
- Optimizes relevant data and information and analytics to support the Head of unit to drive effective negotiations with governments and donor agencies involved with developing strategies for input supply, including subsidy schemes, with a view to minimizing the distortional effects of subsidy schemes
- Devises agro-dealer empowerment programs through knowledge and technical skills development in business management, safe product handling, crop husbandry practices and the formation of agro-dealer business associations
- Plans and implements capacity development programs that will link Agro-Dealers with formal financial institutions and farm input suppliers or wholesale traders for credit purposes to improve their working capital base
- Plans and facilitates the delivery of extensive training, financing, and collaboration with both wholesale and retail Agro-dealers to build dense, functional networks of input suppliers throughout AGRA’s program area.
Model the IRISE Values & Be a Culture Carrier
- Integrity: Uphold moral convictions and always doing the right thing.
- Respect: Value differences and embrace diversity and inclusion.
- Innovation: Strive for excellence and embracing continuous improvement, bold creativity, and change.
- Stewardship: Be responsible for actions undertaken and resources entrusted.
- Equity: Be governed by fairness in all undertakings.\
Academic and Professional Qualifications
- Bachelor’s degree from a reputable academic institution in a relevant field, such as agriculture, agricultural economics, rural development, business or economics
- Master’s degree in rural development, business or economics or relevant filed
- Fluency in English required, knowledge of French and/or Portuguese is an added advantage
- Proven track record of innovation in the marketing and supply of inputs among smallholder farmers, including packaging, promotion, farmer outreach, and the involvement of agro-dealers in agricultural extension services
- Ability to work effectively and build the knowledge base of both national and regional teams in the specialized field of input supply
- Knowledge of the public regulatory regimes operating at national level to ensure the supply of genuine inputs of an acceptable quality
- Experience in designing learning curricula for agro-dealers being trained in the management of input supply businesses
- Basic knowledge of the finances of input suppliers and financial skills required for effective management of both wholesale and retail input supply businesses
- Ability to work with specialized agencies engaged in the training and financing of input supply systems.
- Minimum of 7 years’ experience in agro-business development, preferably in farm inputs planning, agro dealer management and economic analysis
- Proven track record of developing input supply systems in Africa
- Good knowledge of the structure and functioning of private sector-driven input supply systems in Africa
- Experience in working with input supply companies, including seed companies and fertilizer blenders and suppliers in the African context, and with linking suppliers to retailers at village level
- Knowledge of public-private extension systems which link farmer learning with the adoption of improved inputs
- Knowledge of ICT-based payment systems used by input retailers and farmers in Africa, as well as e-verification schemes aimed at ensuring the supply of quality inputs among farmers
- Achieving Results Effectively: Shows determination to achieve goals over time; resists any pressure to be deflected from this attainment; Prepares to challenge others and address poor performance where this is impacting on effective service delivery; Takes calculated risks, based on learning and experience, to achieve longer-term service improvements.
- Managing & Sharing Knowledge: Encourages knowledge-sharing across units/departments and ensures that knowledge is captured, recorded and disseminated appropriately; Demonstrates individual responsibility for defining and delivering on the organization’s priorities; Takes others’ perspectives into account when communicating, negotiating or presenting arguments; Keeps teams informed of decisions and directives of senior management and communicates them in a manner that ensures understanding and acceptance.
- Accountability: Proactively seeks responsibility in delivering towards the goals of the organization with appropriate stakeholders; Plans and organizes work with a clear and deliberate focus, ensuring commitments are easily identified and progress is widely communicated; Stands by the actions of team or department, publicly accepting ownership; Takes responsibility of own shortcomings and those of the work unit, where applicable.
- Diversity & Inclusion: Takes every opportunity to ensure that project teams and work groups are diverse; Encourages and capitalizes on the diverse contributions and strengths of team members; Practices inclusive behaviors in groups and intervenes with sensitivity when exclusionary behaviors occur; Encourages innovation and creativity in the workplace; Embraces diversity as a resource to benefit the organization and its members; Supports systems, procedures and practices which promote diversity in the workplace; Leverages the benefits differences can add.
- Adaptability: Publicly supports and adapts to major/fundamental changes that show promise of improving established ways of operating; Seeks opportunities for change in order to achieve improvement in work processes, systems, etc.; Maintains composure and shows self-control in the face of challenges and change; Adapts to new ideas and initiatives across a wide variety of issues or situations; Shifts priorities, changes style and responds with new approaches as needed to deal with new or changing demands.
- Stakeholder Focus/Partnerships: Tracks trends and developments that will affect own organization’s ability to meet current and future stakeholder needs; Identifies benefits for stakeholders; looks for ways to add value; Seeks out and involves clients or prospective stakeholders in assessing services, solutions or products to identify ways to improve; Establishes service standards and develops strategies to ensure staff meet them; Creates stakeholder-centric processes for others to use; that are relevant and efficient; Networking – Ability to establish mutually beneficial relationships with both internal and external stakeholders.
- Teamwork: Fosters a sense of team spirit by developing a shared understanding, accountability and enthusiasm for the team’s work; Displays a high level of cultural awareness, sensitivity to different ways of working and leverages individual’s strengths in order to build a better team; Shares credit for team accomplishments and ensures that the contribution of others is recognized; Helps created a positive team spirit, putting aside personal considerations to help the team achieve its goals.
Terms of Appointment
3 Years Fixed Term (Consideration for renewal will be made subject to AGRA’s needs, available funding and performance).
Based in Nairobi, Kenya with frequent travel, approximately 30% per month/year.
How to Apply
If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form below on or before 7 September 2023. In addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of the most recent English version of your CV.
All information will be treated in the strictest confidence.
SRI Executive is exclusively retained by AGRA to undertake this assignment.