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Senior Program Officer, Regional Food Trade & Resilience – Job Reference: RFT/SPO/08/2022

Location: Nairobi, Kenya

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.     

AGRA and the UK governments Foreign and Commonwealth Development Office (FCDO) initiated an Africa Food Trade and Resilience (AFTR) program in order to propel Agri-transformation through improved trade. The AFTR is a five-year program (2018 – 2023) and aims to stimulate an increase in regional food trade in sub–Saharan Africa (SSA), contributing to satisfying a growing food demand and to addressing food shortages through regional food production, processing and trade, and generating more rural jobs, climate resilience and income for farmers, and generate robust evidence on how private sector solutions can scale, with the ultimate aim of de-risking markets and mobilizing finance.

The program, which is in its third year now, has two components: (i) work with companies that source, process, and trade food in the region, to maximize investment, coordination and benefits to smallholder farmers and (ii) contribute to improve the transparency and predictability of government policies to unlock regional food trade. A lot of progress has been made so far including direct investments in structuring supply chains for food, investments around data and evidence systems as well as policy reforms aimed at improving the enabling environment for functional regional supply chains.

The program now seeks the services of an experienced Senior Program Officer to support program implementation. 

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.

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

The Position

Reporting to the Head of Regional Food Trade, the Senior Program Officer the role provides leadership in the mainstreaming of climate resilience, nutrition and other cross cutting themes within regional food trade and resilience programming functions.

Key Duties and Responsibilities

Under Resilience, the Program Officer will;

  • Create/innovate and/or strengthen integrated institutional frameworks and mechanisms for building in resilience in regional food systems movement from farm to fork.
  • Leads the scaling up of integrated approaches for proven resilient food systems in-country and at regional level. Using evidence to inform sectoral and regional plans which guide investment into resilient approaches
  • Undertake and promote global environmental benefits and agro-ecosystem resilience as a result of development and mainstreaming of resilient and integrated approaches to food systems across countries. 
  • Stimulate development of platforms of state and non-state actors to pursue evidence-based decision making for greater system resilience and sustainability.
  • Provide technical support related to climate resilience and environmental protection within AGRA linking to other initiatives and regional strategies.
  • Lead the mainstreaming of cross cutting themes such as nutrition, gender and climate resilience in programme work, convenings and knowledge development
  • Lead the technical team in areas of knowledge management and dissemination around regional food trade, resilience initiatives. This includes but not limited to regular development and publication of food security monitor and other reports
  • Coordination, reporting and knowledge management across the project interventions to enhance learning, programmatic impact, visibility and coherence in relation to system resilience and sustainability

Under Program management, the Officer will;

  • Lead the convening of the coalition of partners that drive evidence-based policy advocacy and government engagement to improve policy transparency, resilience and predictability to unlock regional food trade and investment. 
  • Lead the development of intellectual capital around policy predictability in the sustainable agriculture sector as well the consolidation and sharing with a wider stakeholder base in a way that builds alignment and drives action. 
  • Support the creation and maintenance of strong linkages and partnerships to ensure that policy is informed by the concerns and needs of private companies operating in regional food markets and that the program leverages on these for result-oriented business led advocacy efforts. 
  • Support the identification and management of international, regional, and national technical experts in areas covered by the program, including market analysis, climate smart agriculture, value chain coordination, structured trade and market facilitation; in a way that creates efficiency in achieving overall program objectives.
  • Support project documentation to include but not limited to reviewing, finalizing, and presenting proposals and grant memos at regular meetings with the Grants Committee in order to ensure timely implementation of the program. 
  • Support program visibility by maintaining relationships across agricultural and climate policy actors in the region and representing the program in targeted national and regional for a.
  • Support the management of annual program budgets and program performance management in a way that ensures value for money and demonstrate programmatic impact.
  • Support the development of quarterly and annual reports and other reports, as needed, in compliance with the requirements of DFID and other partners; as well as provide regular verbal and written updates and briefings on program operations, achievements, and problems to the Head, Regional Food Trade and other program staff.

Relevant Academic & Professional Experience

  • Master’s degree in Agricultural Economics, or in a relevant discipline. A PhD will be an added advantage.
  • At least eight (10) years of experience on agricultural development, food trade and markets and resilience/climate smart agriculture.
  • Experience in the project programming. Experience in Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning will be an added advantage.
  • Ability to develop sound project reports that can be understood by a wider stakeholder audience 
  • Strong analytical, critical thinking, problem solving, programming and decision-making skills.
  • Ability to process multiple tasks at once; and with exceptional attention to detail.
  • A desire to keep ahead of new and evolving discourse around policies in agriculture as well as food trade and market trends and resilience.
  • Ability to move from program concept to on-the-ground reality in line with AGRA’s mission
  • Ability to demonstrable fluence in program finance. 
  • Good command of English required, and a working knowledge of French would be an additional advantage.

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