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International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

Research Technicians

Abuja, Nigeria

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Lead Agronomist

Closing: Dec 23, 2022

18 days remaining

Published: Nov 23, 2022 (12 days ago)

Job Requirements

Education:

Work experience:

Language skills:

Job Summary

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Overview

Reporting to the Internal Control Systems Manager the Lead Agronomist will manage the company’s knowledge base, training capabilities and forecasting of agronomy related matters concerning raw material sourcing. This will include working closely with our smallholder farmer base to maximize productivity of their crop, analyzing weather patterns to adequately forecast sourcing levels, providing recommendations to strengthen future supply conditions, and implementing projects and programs that ensure long-term sustainability of raw material supply.


The candidate in this role will be responsible for creating, presenting and implementing mitigation strategies for agronomy related risks in coconut supply. The Lead Agronomist will develop tailored agronomic approaches and oversee interventions on behalf of the company. The employee will be examining, investigating, researching and solving problems related to crop management, output and quality.



Responsibilities
Overview

Reporting to the Internal Control Systems Manager the Lead Agronomist will manage the company’s knowledge base, training capabilities and forecasting of agronomy related matters concerning raw material sourcing. This will include working closely with our smallholder farmer base to maximize productivity of their crop, analyzing weather patterns to adequately forecast sourcing levels, providing recommendations to strengthen future supply conditions, and implementing projects and programs that ensure long-term sustainability of raw material supply.


The candidate in this role will be responsible for creating, presenting and implementing mitigation strategies for agronomy related risks in coconut supply. The Lead Agronomist will develop tailored agronomic approaches and oversee interventions on behalf of the company. The employee will be examining, investigating, researching and solving problems related to crop management, output and quality.



  • Conduct research and develop agricultural strategies to counter the effects of changes in soil, climate, weather, and pest damage on coconut tree health and thus coconut supply.

  • Determine high, medium and low risk factors to coconut tree health. Collect, track and analyze the data to develop meaningful insights to aid in decision making by management.

  • Work closely with the ICS and Sourcing departments to build high-level strategies and operational plans in current and new areas of sourcing to maximize the number and quality of coconuts sourced. The plans should be sustainable and cost effective.

  • Generate reports and present findings to your direct manager, management, or other interested parties on a regular basis or as required. These reports should include data including but not limited to:

o Monthly, Quarterly and Annual projections of crop output based on weather patterns

o How historical sourcing correlates with the weather patterns

o Seasonal analysis

  • Lead newly established or current agronomy based projects aimed at maximizing the productivity of coconut trees, increasing yields and increasing farmer income. Such projects include but are not limited to:

o Supervision and coordination of coconut seedling production as per the company policies and standards.

o To schedule all agronomic activities and practices from nursery establishment to delivery of seedlings

o Setting up of an operational propagation unit/nuclear estate for seedlings.

o Developing a seedlings distribution plan to the farmers and oversee its implementation.

o Creating farmer programs that build and give access to linkages with relevant service providers for soils testing, financial services, cooperative formation, technology products, seedlings, among others.

  • Strategize, organize and execute any groundwork that will aid in delivering results in your role. Examples of activities within your scope are as follows:

o Managing teams of agronomists, scientists or other professionals while conducting field visits or laboratory work.

o Conducting surveys of land to determine its suitability for agricultural use therefore mapping out the fields.

o Visiting fields to collect seed, plant, and soil samples.

o Testing samples for nutritional deficiencies, diseases, or other changes.

o Assisting with the plant sourcing, testing, and selection.

o Keeping detailed records regarding fields, farmers, crops, and samples.

  • Based on research findings and insights, advice your direct supervisor and senior management on key decisions such as investing in coconut sourcing, establishing coconut plantations, and other key decisions that are reliant on coconut supply projections.

  • Training and Capacity Building for small holder farmers to provide support to farmers. This includes developing curriculum based on identified needs and ensuring training quality and efficiency. Particular areas of focus are pest and soil management, harvesting, post-harvest handling, environmental mitigation & monitoring plan, crop diversification techniques and good agricultural practices.

  • Prepare the training plan, methodology, budget of delivering the assignment, and ensure monitoring and evaluation is done post assignment to establish the effectiveness of the training.

  • Preparing and timely submission of monthly training reports and summaries in the prescribed formats.


Job Requirements
  • Bachelor’s degree in Agronomy or related areas

  • A master’s degree in related areas would be an added advantage

  • Minimum of five years of experience in agronomy, farmer mobilization, farmer training, and working with plantation crops is required.

  • Proven project management capabilities

  • Knowledge of group formation and management, good agronomy practices, integrated pest & diseases management, soil management, harvesting, post-harvest handling, crop diversification and environmental mitigation & monitoring is required.

  • Knowledge of the opportunities and challenges by famers in rural communities in Kenya is preferred.

  • Additional training in field training techniques is preferred.

  • Ability to work outside, stand, walk, kneel, and stoop for extended periods.

  • High competence with IT applications including Microsoft Office

  • Valid driver’s license and willingness to travel.

  • Good networking and communications skills


Work Environment Requirements:

This position is based in Ukunda, Kwale but the Company may require you to from time to time work at such other place or places, work station or office of the Company including any of its clients, partner or affiliate offices within Kenya for such periods as the Company may require from time to time. The employee is required to be flexible to work outside normal working hours.


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