Job Reference: BVRM/CESSA/08/2023

About AGRA 

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:

  1. Policy and state capability – We support governments in creating an enabling environment for private sector involvement in agricultural transformation. 
  2. 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. 
  3. Sustainable farming – We support farmers in building resilient farming systems for sustained high yields through interventions such as mechanization and irrigation. 
  4. 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.

AGRA’s Vision

To contribute to a food system-inspired inclusive agricultural transformation across Africa, to reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and adapt to climate.

AGRA’s Mission

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.

AGRA’s Strategy

  • 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 optimizing 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?

The Opportunity

Program Officer, BVRM, EGS and Seed Production. BVRM/CESSA/08/2023

Role Purpose

The Program Officer Breeding, Variety Release and Management (BVRM), Early Generation Seed (EGS) and Seed Production will be responsible for overseeing investments and formidable partnerships in the area of breeding early generation and certified seed production that drives a high farmer adoption of improved seed, creation of jobs for youth, and for women.

Role Summary

Reporting to the Regional Manager, West Africa and matrix reporting to Head – Catalytic Grants and AGRA Advisory Services, the Program Officer, will be responsible for identification, soliciting and recommending grants for breeding and scaling up production and distribution of Early Generation and Certified seed to contribute to increased adoption of improved diverse crop varieties in AGRA countries.

Key Measures of Performance

  • Number of National Agricultural Research System (NARS) Partnerships that show improved operations in variety release and licensing, linkages and commercialization. 
  • Increased metric tons of quality EGS and Certified seed produced and reaching farmers.
  • Interventions introduced including digital tools to reduce counterfeit seed on market.
  • Number of NARS and seed companies supported. 
  • Grant making, management and delivery of results.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Purpose – Adapt

  • In liaison with Head of catalytic grants & AGRA Advisory initiate best concepts for investment 
  • Assist prospective grantees in the area of plant breeding, identify suitable genotypes, lines and varieties to develop market-oriented breeding and commercialization strategies for target crops by country.
  • Identify and recommend scalable business models for production of EGS and certified seed including public and private partnerships. 
  • Provide regular monitoring of all crop breeding and seed production activities to maximize the effectiveness of and delivery against targets.
  • Assist in the formation and operation of partnerships which are crop based and/or for crop breeders networks working on similar crops throughout Africa, by recommending grants for a range of physical and digital networking opportunities.
  •  Provide regular assistance to seed companies in the area of technology access variety and germplasm access, from relevant sources.
  •  Provide updated information to seed companies regarding release of improved crop varieties in countries.
  • Identify high-impact SMEs particularly seed companies with potential to grow and increase job opportunities for youth and women.
  • Supervise the seed production activities to ensure that all released varieties are multiplied and distributed to farmers through a range of relevant commercial, public or community-based seed dissemination activities.

Engagement – Persuade

  • Form workable partnerships between breeders, seed producers, regulators and Governments which to advance CESSA goal to scale models.  
  • Work with the AGRA Communications Officer to develop effective strategies for storytelling, and learnings.
  • Work closely with crop breeding, seed companies and national seed coordinating units to establish effective planning and commercialization of crop varieties, commercial licensing, or other sharing agreements, that allow farmers to gain regular access to released varieties.
  • In close liaison with training and capacity building program officer, identify knowledge gaps in seed companies.

Delivery – Adapt the Project Cycle

  • Work with AGRA communications team to develop effective communication strategies for promoting new and scalable models in seed systems, released varieties among smallholders’ farmers.
  • Ensures that all released varieties are multiplied and distributed to farmers through a range of relevant commercial, public or community-based seed dissemination activities.
  • Be data driven and liaison with relevant partners and organizations that support CESSA.
  • Provide regular verbal and written updates and briefings on program operations, achievement and problem to the Regional Manager, West Africa and Head – Catalytic Grants and AGRA Advisory Services.

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

  • PhD. In plant breeding or other closely related discipline., Public Finance, Public Administration, Law.
  • Fluency in English required; ability to communicate in French will be an advantage.

Required Skills/Abilities

  • Strong understanding of and the ability to interpret and action smallholder farmer resilience needs.
  • Analytical, excellent data mining ability.
  • Ability to recognize and priorities potential crop breeding breakthroughs within an African settings.
  • Interest in field-based breeding work combined with physical stamina for extensive field visits.

Relevant Experience

  • Experience in leading crop breeding programs in developing country.
  • Previous experience in Africa is a plus.
  • Understanding of private sector activity in plant breeding and seed commerce.

Key Competencies

  • Achieving Results: Anticipates constraints, identifies solutions and takes responsibility for addressing critical situations; Sets self and others stretching goals, over and above those required to meet organizational standards and targets; Takes the necessary actions to meet these goals; identifies and applies measures to track and quantify achievement; Aligns projects with organization’s mission and objectives and demonstrates a good understanding of the impact of team’s and own work on external and internal counterparts..
    • Managing & Sharing Knowledge: Disseminates and shares knowledge openly and actively contributes to knowledge/network communities for topics relevant to area of expertise; Builds networks for the effective communication and exchange of knowledge and ideas and puts others into contact with various sources of knowledge; Contributes to an environment that is conducive to innovation and learning.
  • Accountability:  Maintains ethical behavior, admits mistakes and exhibits responsible behavior in the meeting of performance expectations; Actively seeks out solutions to achieve results; Holds self-accountable for achieving results as an individual as well as team members; Identifies and assists in addressing areas of weakness that may impact the department’s performance..
  • Diversity & Inclusion: Takes a conscious effort to learn about different styles of conflict resolution; Is proactive in managing conflict over differences when it arises rather than avoiding it;    Listens actively for the frames of reference and does not prejudge;  Seeks to understand and adapt to different styles when working with those who are different; Treats others as they wish to be treated; Shows readiness to change the way he/she does things to meet the needs of those from diverse backgrounds.
  • Adaptability: Adapts personal approach to meet the needs of different or new situations; Seeks guidance in adapting behavior to the needs of a new or different situation.
  • Stakeholder Focus/Partnerships: Contacts stakeholders to follow up on services, solutions or products to ensure that their needs have been correctly and effectively met; Understands issues from the stakeholder’s perspective; Keeps stakeholders up-to-date with information and decisions that affect them; Monitors services provided to stakeholders and makes timely adjustments as required; Maintains ongoing communication with stakeholders; Regularly and systematically contacts stakeholders or prospective stakeholders to determine their needs; Uses understanding of stakeholder’s perspective to identify constraints and advocate on their behalf; Works with stakeholders to adapt services, products or solutions to meet their needs; Encourages co-workers and teams to achieve a high standard of service excellence; Anticipates areas where support or influence will be required and discusses situation/concerns with appropriate individuals; Proposes new, creative and sound alternatives to improve stakeholder service delivery; Engages effectively with all stakeholders.
  • Teamwork: Establishes strong relationships with colleagues and partners; relates well to people at all levels; Is fully aware of the team purposes, respects and understands individual and collective responsibilities; Willingly puts in extra effort without being asked and adopts a ‘hands-on’ approach whenever necessary to achieve team objectives; Coordinates own work with that of the team to meet agreed priorities and deadlines.

Terms of Appointment

3 Years Fixed Term (Consideration for renewal will be made subject to AGRA’s needs, available funding and performance).


Based in Accra, Ghana.

How to Apply

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 noting to quote the job reference number in the subject of your email)

To be considered, applications must be received on or before Monday 18th September 2023.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer