Farmer Organization Expert

at The Bilateral Ethiopia - Netherlands Effort for Food, Income and Trade (BENEFIT)
Location Bahir Dar University, Amhara; Mekelle University, Tigray; Oromia Seed Enterprise, Oromia, Ethiopia
Date Posted August 12, 2020
Category Agriculture
Job Type Full-time
Currency ETB


Vacancy for three full-time positions with the Project on ‘Upscaling Access to Crowdsourced ‘Winner’ Seed Varieties and Embedding Crowdsourcing in Ethiopian Systems’ 

The position

The jobs advertised by this vacancy are for the position of Farmer Organization Expert, for the duty stations hosted at the above-mentioned Research Partners. You will work in a small team of complementary expertise and support. You will be supervised by the Regional Manager on a regular basis. Additional expertise; guidance; project implementation strategy, monitoring and evaluation (M&E); and data management will be provided by the Addis Ababa-based Bioversity International Project Coordinator and Project Advisor from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands. Research Partner activity planning will be conducted with the participation of Bioversity International and WUR. You will be an active participant in knowledge sharing and learning events with the teams based at other duty stations.

Key Responsibilities

  •  Build the capacity of local seed businesses (LSBs) and/or community seed banks (CSBs) in selected woredas to (a) use the IT platform, and (b) build a biodiverse, climate-adapted, and nutritionally-rich seed product portfolio for smallholder farmers (SHFs) using crowdsourcing as the main tool to maintain portfolio quality and market relevance.
  • Strengthen the financial and managerial capacity of LSBs/CSBs to market high-quality seeds of the selected key food crops – durum wheat, finger millet, chick pea and faba bean – to reach large number of SHFs by the project’s end.
  • Train key staff of (regional) agricultural research institutes (RARIs/EIAR) and selected woreda offices of agriculture on crowdsourcing so that they understand, endorse, and promote crowdsourcing with LSBs/CSBs as a key approach to maintaining a diverse, high-quality seed portfolio.
  • Integrate use of the digital IT platform in the seed system at RARIs/EIAR and selected woreda offices of agriculture to monitor seed flow (crops and varieties) and adoption.
  • Formalize and embed crowdsourcing in seed system with RARIs/EIAR and selected woreda offices of agriculture through developing MoUs.
  • Actively support LSBs/CSBs to contribute to project planning, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and work with the project’s M&E team in data collection, management, analysis, and reporting.
  • Document and share experiences on farmer organization, financial management and seed marketing by LSBs/CSBs.

The project aim is to scale up use of crowdsourcing methodology[1] in the formal seed governance, policy, and market systems of Ethiopia, with the goal of creating sustainable access for hundreds of thousands of SHFs to a high-quality, nutritionally- and varietally diverse seed portfolio. We will improve seed systems at 2 critical stages: (i) variety selection and testing (focusing on relevance of seed products to SHF needs and quality of seed portfolio) and (ii) distribution (multiplying crowdsourced seeds at scale to reach large number of farming households in Amhara, Oromia and Tigray.

 The project is implemented in three regions of Ethiopia through Research Partners

The project is implemented by three Research Partners hosted at two universities and one seed enterprise in three regions of the country, supported by Bioversity International based in Addis Ababa, and by WUR from the Netherlands. Research Partners are: Bahir Dar University; Mekele University; and Oromia Seed Enterprise, operating in Amhara region; Tigray region; and Oromia region, respectively.

The gross salary for the position is 27,000.00 ETB per month including all benefits and contributions.

Duty stations: (i) Bahir Dar University, Amhara; (ii) Oromia Seed Enterprise, Oromia  (iii) Mekelle University, Tigray.

 Report to: Regional Manager; and technically to Bioversity International Project Coordinator in Addis Ababa and to Project Advisor at WCDI, the Netherlands

Job Requirements

The kind of person we are looking for

An energetic and enthusiastic hard worker, who is a team player and who can also work independently. Good interpersonal communication, mediation and facilitation skills are required. Acting as a vital member of a dynamic team, staff members are expected to be flexible, reasonable, accommodating, and constructive and to actively contribute to making the working environment a happy one.

Experience, knowledge, and skills required

Experience in developing the organizational, governance, regulatory and financial management capacity of seed producer cooperatives, or farmer organizations in general, is necessary. Having an existing professional network in the seed sector is a great asset in your favour. Demonstrated understanding and experience with the concepts of local seed business (LSB) and community seed banks (CSBs), and the programme on Integrated Seed Sector Development in Ethiopia (ISSD Ethiopia) will be to your advantage.

The Farmer Organization Expert should have knowledge, experience, and skills in:

  • Setting-up/strengthening seed producer cooperatives’ organization of governance and decision-making structures;
  • Financial management of seed producer cooperatives (or farmer organizations in general);
  • Accounting/book-keeping and constructing balance sheets/income statements;
  • Marketing, principles of marketing, market linkage and product promotion;
  • Assisting LSBs/CSBs in developing business-, including production-, marketing- and financial-, plans, and linking LSBs/CSBs with key inputs, services and markets;
  • Building strong relationships between LSBs/CSBs and relevant input and service providers, and with regulatory agencies in particular;
  • Building partnerships between LSBs/CSBs and research and extension services for the upscaling and institutionalization of crowdsourcing and crowdsourced winner varieties;
  • Working with and changing the mindsets of a range of stakeholders to facilitate to achieve this outcome, in part also by organizing meetings, workshops, and forums for experience sharing and learning;
  • Training, coaching, advising, motivating, and facilitating collaboration of farmers, researchers, extension workers and other entrepreneurs and professionals;
  • Planning, monitoring, reporting and working systematically.

Applicants must satisfy at least all of the following minimum requirements:

  • Masters (MSc, MA, MBA) degree in cooperative management, agricultural rural development, agricultural economics, or a related field;
  • A minimum of three years professional experience in related fields of work;
  • Documented proof of educational training and professional experience, along with the names and contact details for at least two referees with whom you’ve worked in the past three years;
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English, in addition to Amharic (note that should you select Oromia or Tigray as your preferred location of work, then fluency in Afaan Oromo or Tigrigna respectively, is compulsory);
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint packages.

Applying Instructions

Interested candidates are invited to send a well-formulated letter of motivation of no more than one page and their up-to-date full CV not more than 4 pages before22 August 2020 by email, with clear indication of the job title and preferred station of duty to:

All applications must include the job title and duty station in the subject line of the application email.

Candidates that pass the first round of screening will be shortlisted according to the experience, knowledge and skills we are looking for. Shortlisted candidates will be invited for an interview. It is only at that stage that credentials such as scanned diploma copies and reference letters will be requested.

For more information

Applicants can address their queries to the Project Managers:

Dereje Ayalew, at Bahir Dar University in Amhara region;

Addis Abraha, at Mekelle University in Tigray region; or

Abdo Woyema, at Oromia Seed Enterprise in Oromia region.

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