Associate Program Officer – Seed Technology, Rwanda – Job Reference No. APO/ST/RW/07/2020
Location: Kigali, Rwanda
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 role of Associate Program Officer, Seed Technology.
The Associate Program Officer – Seed Technology will be responsible for advancing the work of AGRA-seed systems investments in Rwanda (public and private institutions) through ensuring quality seed in Rwanda. S/he will ensure quality control in all aspects periodic visits to observe, advise, recruit and mentor and monitor field-based early generation and certified seed production activities, interact with famers, managers of seed enterprises and creating on-going linkages between AGRA sponsored institutions, MINAGRI and USAID interventions in Rwanda and other useful contacts and services. S/he will identify high- impact grant-making opportunities and seed company trainees through regular visits to the field and breeding stations, where seed companies and breeders are active, and by interacting regularly with prospective grantees the seed value chain
Key Duties and Responsibilities:
- In liaison with the Country Manager initiate best bet concepts for investments in the seed systems for Rwanda.
- Assist prospective grantees in the area of quality seed production, seed regulation requirements, breeder and foundation seed acquisition, and farmer awareness.
- Identify and recommend for funding qualified and motivated local private seed companies and business entrepreneurs who will transform seed business in Rwanda.
- Provide expert advice and regular monitoring of all seed production activities and systems development activities sponsored by AGRA, in order to maximize the effectiveness of seed production and the overall effectiveness of AGRA.
- Provide regularly updated information to all seed companies and seed enterprises regarding the release of improved, adapted crop varieties which might be of benefit to smallholder farmers; availability of breeder and foundation seed and parental line maintenance, commercialization of new varieties.
- Oversee the AGRA agro-dealers’ investment in Rwanda, including selecting and providing technical support for grantee institutions that will train agro-input dealers across target countries.
- Advise and lead forums for seed quality control.
- Compile and maintain an up-to-date database of all trainees of seed companies through AGRA programs, breeding, seed production, and agro-dealers activities sponsored by AGRA in order to provide all AGRA staff members with an effective means of measuring the program’s impact.
- Work with the Country Manager to maintaining positive government relations and putting in place M&E for tracking program effectiveness, outputs, and outcomes.
Key Qualifications and Experience required:
- Masters or Ph.D. in plant breeding or other closely related discipline.
- Minimum of five years’ experience leading Seed Certification and/or Seed Systems programs in a developing country.
- Previous experience in a related job is a plus.
- Capable of serving as an advisor on issues related to personnel, program strategy, and program implementation.
- Be attentive to details which constrain effective program implementation and be capable of focusing on them as a priority until they are resolved.
- Ability to travel up to 50% of time as required.
- Results-oriented, accountable, with proactive leadership skills. Ability to lead by example, drive change and move from program concept to on-the-ground reality.
- Determined, hard-working, individual who is prepared to work around barriers that arise in the course of an initiative.
- Have an optimism that African farmers and consumers can benefit from improved, well-adapted agricultural technologies.
- Ability to excite others about new opportunities and new ways of getting old jobs done.
- Strong inter-personal skills which allow the Officer to work closely with African plant breeders to help formulate knowledge and ideas into breeding strategies that carry a high probability of success and communicate effectively with individuals and groups
- of people.
- Ability to recognize and prioritize potential crop breeding breakthroughs within an African setting.
- Interest in field-based breeding work combined with physical stamina for extensive field visits.
- Skill in negotiating policies which permit sharing of intellectual property.
- Understanding of private sector activity in plant breeding and seed commerce.
An attractive remuneration package commensurate with the responsibilities of the position will be negotiated with the successful candidate.
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