Job Reference: (SSA/CASAR/08/2023)
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 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?
Senior Specialist- Systems Agronomist. Job Reference: (SSA/CASAR/08/2023)
The Senior Specialist – Systems Agronomist is responsible for creating a national and regional capacity in context-specific and integrated agronomic technologies and practices, mainstreaming sustainable intensification thinking and approaches in AGRA’s strategy and country plans, as well as serving as AGRA’s technical lead in this area to shape potential investments, unlock funds in the area of production and post-harvest management innovations for priority programs on the continents, and strengthen AGRA’s knowledge management and thought leadership.
In collaboration with AGRA’s teams and partners, s/he will work at farmer level, systems level and national level to put in place programs and policies that develop more farming systems-based agronomic advisory and capacity building and enhance farmers’ and systems’ capacity to deal with the broad range of low productivity and resilience and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), such as drought and flood management, Integrated Soil Fertility Management (ISFM), Integrated Pest Management (IPM), choice of nutrient dense and resilient crop and fodder varieties, and overall production systems.
Key Measures of Performance
- Strengthening of AGRA’s country plans in incorporating sustainable farming and resilience thinking
- Funds unlocked for AGRA’s programming or for African agriculture more broadly from funding sources like the USAID space to place, Global Environment Facility, Green Climate Fund, Adaptation Fund, and others that specifically prioritize production and productivity.
- Advancement of knowledge management and thought leadership in systems agronomy.
Major Duties and Responsibilities
Purpose – Innovate
- Mainstreams sustainable farming thinking into AGRA’s country operational plans around the continent to build resilient agricultural systems at all levels.
- Reviews strategy and M&E dashboard to understand where AGRA is and is not making progress on productivity and resources use efficiency outputs and outcomes, in order to inform leadership decisions on next steps and new interventions.
- Develops and implements policies that can help the countries to achieve enhanced crop and livestock productivity.
- Drives support from various institutions to develop and implement innovative and context specfic agronomic solutions.
- Collaborates and lead the development of agronomic technologies and practices that enhance productivity and prepare small holder farmers to threats through research and capacity building interventions for building resilience
- Develops proposals to secure investment in enhancing productivity and resilience.
- At continental level, expand and drive (through relevant parties) the increase of regional engagements to strengthen and compliment pan-African efforts of the African Union Commission AUC and NEPAD Planning and Coordinating Agency NPCA and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) by translating its vision and commitments to actionable country priorities..
Engagement – Advocate
- As a thought partner, advice the country teams and other AGRA management on how to strengthen agricultural productivity programming strategies.
- Provides technical advisory support to governments (strategy support, capacity building and data analytics) to help in developing national agricultural plans, value chain analysis and private sector partnerships.
- Advocates for sustainable intensification related policies that volatility in the agriculture sector as a result of externalities, promotes private sector engagements and increases in public sector investments in resilient technologies e.g., weather-based insurance, mechanization.
- Builds mutually advantageous partnerships and draws on diverse networks among communities, civil society, research institutions, NGOs, technical agencies, government and the private sector on policy, research & development, analytics, financing etc.
- Positions AGRA as a broker/agent between AU/NEPAD, RECs and national governments leveraging the AGRA influence to align regional and national political interests and investments in good agronomy.
Delivery – Define the Project Cycle
- Devises a mutual accountability system and regional agenda; influences and manages the regional agriculture transformation narrative; provides assistance to RECs to harmonize regional crop/ livestock productivity and natural resources policies, regulations, standards.
- Creates farmer awareness training programs on the appropriate use of the farm inputs and good agronomic practices (GAPs) through public and private extension advisory services.
- Promote integrated technology application to pre and post-harvest crop losses
- Mobilizes and optimizes resources for the program.
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
- A Bachelor’s degree in systems agronomy, soil science, plant nutrition, IPM, or related disciplines
- A Master’s or PHD is an added advantage.
- A relevant MSC degree with extensive experience could be considered..
- Strong understanding of and the ability to interpret and action smallholder farmer productivity needs.
- Analytical, excellent data mining ability
- Intelligent, motivated self-starter with strong interpersonal skills and work ethic
- Strong ability to influence positively both upwards and downwards across cultures and countries.
- Proven leadership ability to influence, develop, and empower employees to achieve their best with a team approach.
- Deep understanding of both the government and private sector policies and governance structures
- Results and detail orientated with a hands-on approach.
- Relevant work experience on crop productivity, water management, soils, NRM and/or sustainable intensification, primarily in Africa
- Senior-Level experience designing and implementing agricultural programs a relevant sector.
- Thoroughly familiar with and experience in working with R&D and analytics houses.
- Experience managing complex initiatives with proven ability to develop high impact partnerships.
- Experience in working with similar organizations or institutions will be an added advantage.
- Excellent leadership, organizational, and problem solving/decision making skills.
- Fluency in English required; ability to communicate in French will be an advantage.
- Experience driving resilience initiatives in a similar environment will be an added advantage.
- 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; Has insight into and monitors own preferred conflict management style and its impact on others; Is proactive in managing conflict over differences when it arises rather than avoiding it; Actively creates the space for people to use different forms of conflict resolution; 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 Nairobi, Kenya.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org noting to quote the job reference number in the subject of your email)
To be considered, applications must be received on or before Monday 09th October 2023.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
AGRA is an Equal Opportunity Employer