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Senior Program Officer – Digital Systems & Solutions for Agriculture – Job Reference No. SPO/DSA/06/2020

Location:  Nairobi, Kenya

About AGRA

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 aims 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 from a country perspective, AGRA is seeking to recruit an experienced and exceptional individual to the position of Senior Program Officer – Digital Systems and Solutions for Agriculture.

Position Summary

Reporting to the Vice President – Strategic Partnerships, the Senior Program Officer – Digital Systems and Solutions for Agriculture will be responsible for supporting AGRA’s five-year strategy to reach 9 million smallholder farmers in Africa with improved technologies for achieving higher yields and better marketing opportunities to improve their productivity. S/he will – through innovative ICT technology strategies, solutions and strategic partnerships increase farmers’ awareness and utilization of improved seed, fertilizers, crop management practices, access to market information and finance, by adapting or leveraging technologically driven, scaled solutions that improve value chain ecosystems. S/he will ensure AGRA is well-informed regarding innovative approaches to reaching farmers through technologies as sustainable tools.

The position will be based in Nairobi, Kenya with frequent travel.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

  • Together with AGRA technical and country teams, work with government, public-private partnerships and private sector to accelerate sustainable expansion of digital solutions that serve the market and improve farmer livelihoods.   S/he will lead AGRA’s strategy to become a catalyst for scaled integration of ICT solutions in smallholder value chains using available technology that delivers services across the spectrum of digital services that comprise farmer management, farm management, financial services, supply chain, knowledge and information sharing and market linkages.  Solutions will incorporate mobile phone, video, radio, GIS, remote sensing inventory and supply chain management systems, and other forms of electronic communications to provide inputs recommendations, extension services, agronomy information, weather data, market information, financial and other services to smallholder farmers and agricultural stakeholders to support sustainable agricultural transformation.
  • Work with AGRA’s technology and business partners, government and service providers towards improving the policy, technological, infrastructure, constraints and gaps related to the use of improved technologies.
  • Plan and use resources (people and/or finance and/or physical assets) in accordance with AGRA guidelines and delegated accountability so that objectives are achieved in the most effective manner possible.
  • Work effectively within multidisciplinary teams for collective success and provide effective coaching and encourage appropriate development activities in order to support staff in identifying and meeting their training and development needs.
  • Work with AGRA’s national, regional and international experts and service providers to deliver information about new technologies, services and products available and potential of transformational impact through increase adoption and use of ICT solutions for smallholder farmers and agricultural stakeholders Position AGRA as a leader in the identification, delivery, and scaling up of farmer-relevant information technologies and services.
  • Oversee funding and coordination of large programs that promote data-driven decision making for governments, end-to-end integrations of large strategic commodity value chains, and delivery of critical services like financial services and digital advisory services to the community and farm level.
  • In line with overall organization vision and strategies, contribute to AGRA’s mission and strategy to reach 9 million smallholder farmers in Africa with improved technologies (primarily seeds) for achieving higher yields and better marketing opportunities to improve their productivity and reduce poverty.
  • Act as AGRA’s liaison for Digital Agriculture Partners, as well as agricultural development fora and platforms.
  • Represent AGRA in technology for development forums and workshops and continuously update teams on state-of-the-art solutions and new technologies. 
  • Disseminate, internally and externally, advice, knowledge and systems and platforms available with modern and relevant applications.
  • Together with country and program teams, drive farmer and stakeholder awareness on digital solutions and technologies to enhance production and productivity and increase incomes for rural households.
  • Provide strategic input, technical assistance, and in-depth analysis on strategic investments in digital solutions for agricultural transformation in Africa.

Key Qualifications and Experience required

  • Computer Science, ICT, programming, systems development, digital entrepreneurships, digital business solutions, or agricultural technology solutions, fundraising, partnership mobilization, or related field; or BSc and 15 years proven professional experience.
  • Successful experience in designing and implementing innovative solutions at scale for in both commercial and development environments, food and agriculture.
  • Knowledge of agriculture, agribusiness in Africa
  • Demonstrated ability in creating partnerships and linkages, to facilitate and co-develop technology and digital solutions, and implement operational mechanisms to successful increase user adoption and sustainably bring agricultural ICT technologies to scale.
  • Excellent and up to date knowledge of the ICT applications used for or transferable to agricultural development solutions.
  • Knowledge of, and exposure to agricultural extension, agricultural marketing, agricultural financing, methodologies employed by public agencies, private agri-businesses, and non-governmental organizations.
  • Experience working with a wide range of private sector partners and aligning commercial objectives with developing market realities.
  • Experience in listening to and communicating with smallholder farmers in Africa.
  • Strong understanding of and the ability to translate to smallholder farmer needs.
  • Ability to communicate the relevance of digital ag solutions, partnerships and applications which are easily understood by a general audience.
  • A strong desire to see digital solutions catalyze poverty reduction among Africa’s farmers
  • Experience managing initiatives with proven ability to develop high impact partnerships.
  • Experience working with ICT solutions, ICT strategies, and analytics.
  • Excellent data mining, reporting, analytical, and communications abilities.
  • Strong ability to consult, influence across cultures and countries.
  • Proven leadership ability to influence, develop, and empower stakeholders and matrixed teams to achieve their best.
  • Understanding of government and private sector ICT policies and governance structures.
  • Results driven and detail orientated with a very hands-on approach.
  • Excellent leadership, organizational, problem solving, decision making skills

Intelligent, motivated self-starter with strong interpersonal skills and work ethic.

  • Exceptional communication skills and ability to represent AGRA externally.
  • Demonstrated ability to maintain lasting, healthy, and effective one-to-one working relationships with colleagues, suppliers, customers, professional peers, etc.
  • French language proficiency is an additional advantage.

An attractive remuneration package commensurate with the responsibilities of the position 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.

To be considered, applications must be received on or before 22ndJune, 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,