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Seed Systems Specialist, Easter and Southern Africa

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT®, is not-for-profit agricultural research for development organization with partners in over 100 countries. Please refer to our website for more information: https://www.cimmyt.org

CIMMYT, as part of One CGIAR and its mission to apply science to sustainably increase crop production and improve livelihoods, is seeking a Seed Systems Specialist for Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA). Working in collaboration with public and private sector seed systems actors, the specialist will design and implement seed systems models that increase access to and adoption of climate-resilient, farmer- and market-preferred varieties of dryland cereals (sorghum and millets), and grain legumes (groundnut, chickpea and pigeon pea).

The objective of this position is to develop and implement seed systems models where supply systems are strengthened to respond to demand, thereby enhancing the adoption of new varieties and meeting the needs of differentiated markets for crop varieties developed by CGIAR-NARES crop improvement networks. The selected candidate will work with NARES, the private sector, farmers’ groups, CGIAR partners, and pertinent stakeholders to implement seed strategies that improve resilience and profitability for small-scale farmers. The strategy must result in increased extent – breadth (reaching farmers who previously have not benefitted) and/or depth (increasing rate among current adopters) – of adoption of improved varieties.

The successful candidate must be committed to strengthening multistakeholder platforms that interconnect certified and “quality declared seed” producers, early-generation seed producers, farmers, grain off-takers, processors, and policymakers.

This position will report to the Partnerships and Seed Systems Lead. The duty post for ESA will be in Kenya.

Specific duties:

  • Support decentralized seed production and supply systems to access, multiply and disseminate seeds of publicly bred varieties to farmers
  • Develop quality seed production and business skills of small-scale seed entrepreneurs and enhance their access to resources to increase commercialization
  • Leverage grain aggregator channels and relationships with farmers to create awareness and increase the adoption of new varieties
  • Support emerging women and youth seed enterprises to respond to grain demand (quantity and quality) through demand-led multi-stakeholder engagements
  • Conduct an inventory of available, “on-the-shelf” public-bred varieties that have not reached farmers; Compile data substantiating their performance, and design/implement a strategy to validate and link the ‘best’ to seed systems; Carefully validate the concept of ‘best’ varieties in the context of targeted farmers.
  • Develop and validate innovative demand-led, context-specific seed systems models; Work with extension and delivery systems to scale-up best models to improve access to seed by ‘hard-to-reach’ farmers who have not benefitted from improved seed; Build informal and formal linkages between ‘excluded’ farmers (outside formal markets) and value chains
  • Assist partners in the design and implementation of seed road maps, including technical/infrastructural support to the NARES to develop sustainable production of breeders, pre-basic and basic seed of varieties and hybrids
  • Foster partnerships with public and private sector institutions to increase certified seed production, field-based promotional activities, and adoption of improved varieties by the target communities
  • Support the development of impactful varieties by generating robust producibility, productivity, and marketability data that support commercialization decisions and feedback to breeders to develop demanded products
  • Lead and contribute to resource mobilization – fundraising – to support/expand this work.
  • Disseminate knowledge about effective seed systems through scientific writing, reports, and policy briefs.

 Required academic qualifications, skills, and attitudes:

  • Ph.D. with at least 5 years or MSc with at least 10 years of experience, in agronomy, plant breeding, seed systems, or related agricultural field with long-term successful experience in the seed sector serving resource-poor, small-holder farmers.
  • Demonstrated skills in the facilitation of public-private partnerships.
  • Ability to work in multi-stakeholder, multi-cultural, and multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Fluency in spoken and written English (and working knowledge of French for West Africa).
  • Excellent working knowledge of standard statistical software and electronic communication.
  • Aptitude and skills to formulate projects.
  • A strong track record of resource mobilization is desirable.
  • Willingness to travel internationally and domestically within the target region.
  • Experience managing budgets and staff.
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Proactivity, Team Leadership, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution, and Teamwork.

The positions are for an initial fixed term of three (3) years, after which further employment is subject to performance and the continued availability of funds. CIMMYT’s internationally competitive salary and benefits include housing allowance, car, comprehensive health, and life insurance, assistance for children’s education, paid vacation, annual home travel airfare, contribution to a retirement plan, and generous assistance with relocation shipment.

Candidates must apply online for IRS22148 _Seed Systems Specialist – Eastern and Southern Africa. Screening and follow-up of applications will begin on Friday, December 2nd, 2022. Applications must include a CV, with contact details (telephone and email address) of 3 work-related references along with your confirmation that we can contact them and a cover letter. Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration. For further information on the selection process, please contact Yessica Castillo, at y.castillo@cgiar.org

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

This position will remain open until filled. 

CIMMYT is an equal-opportunity employer. It fosters a multicultural work environment that values gender equality, teamwork, and respect for diversity. Women are encouraged to apply.

To apply for this job please visit cimmytrecruitment.wufoo.com.