Cluster Assistant Job At The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC)

The International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) is a public international organization addressing critical issues such as international food security, the alleviation of global hunger and poverty, environmental protection and the promotion of economic development and self-sufficiency.
IFDC focuses on increasing productivity across the agricultural value chain in developing countries. This is achieved by the creation and transfer of effective and environmentally sound crop nutrient technology and agribusiness expertise.

We are recruiting to fill the below position:

Job Title: Cluster Assistant

Location: Abuja
Project: Toward Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship (2SCALE)
Duration: 1 year renewable contract
Grade: 8

Background
The program entitled “Toward Sustainable Clusters in Agribusiness through Learning in Entrepreneurship” (2SCALE) aims at improving rural livelihoods and food and nutrition security in Africa. It was created by a consortium of partners, led by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC), and comprising the Base-of-the-Pyramid Innovation Centre (BoPInc.) and the International Centre for development-oriented Research in Agriculture (ICRA). The program is supported by a grant of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (through the Directorate-General for International Cooperation, DGIS) of the Netherlands.

From 2012 to 2014, 2SCALE developed a portfolio of 53 public-private partnerships in selected high-potential sectors in nine sub-Saharan countries . From 2015 to 2017, 2SCALE will support its private partners to deepen and scale-up these partnerships. The objective is to offer significant opportunity to over 500,000 smallholder farmers to improve their livelihoods and 2,500 SMEs to improve sales and provide jobs, while sustainably supplying food to regional, national and local markets, of which 40 percent will be BoP consumers.

The 2SCALE technical team is composed of country teams (Cluster Advisors and Cluster Assistants) supported by cross-cutting thematic specialists with a regional scope (access to finance; technical innovation; local empowerment; BoP marketing; action-research in partnership development; communications; grants; monitoring & evaluation). In each country team, the Cluster Advisor is assisted by Cluster Assistant(s) in developing and strengthening the partnership portfolio. To improve the coordination, knowledge and skills required to deepen activities within every partnership, the Cluster Advisor and Cluster Assistant(s) are specifically assigned to one or several partnerships, for which they act as an account manager – or Partnership Facilitator in the 2SCALE framework.

2SCALE’s portfolio in Nigeria is composed of 6 active partnerships:

  • Dairy Development Program, in partnership with FrieslandCampina WAMCO
  • Cassava partnership, with Nigerian Breweries (Heineken) and Psaltry
  • Vegetable partnership, led by East West Seed International and AACE Foods
  • Soybean partnership championed by farmer cooperatives
  • Maize partnership championed by farmer associations and cooperatives
  • Groundnuts Base-of-the-Pyramid (BoP) pilot with women processors
  • A 7th partnership is also under construction on rice in Benue state.
  • As of July 2015, 2SCALE partnerships in Nigeria involved 27,240 small-scale farmers (31% of whom are women), and 412 small & medium enterprises (including 139 SMEs led by women).
  • The 2SCALE Nigeria team is comprised of 4 technical staff acting as Partnership Facilitators, under the overall supervision of the country Cluster Advisor. The repartition of the partnerships is as follows:
  • Cluster Advisor, Partnership Facilitator for maize, soybean, and in charge of the collaboration with AACE Foods
  • Dairy Public-Private Partnership Manager, facilitating the partnership in milk with FrieslandCampina
  • Cassava Partnership Manager, facilitating the partnership in cassava with Nigerian Breweries (Heineken) and Psaltry
  • Cluster Assistant, Partnership Facilitator for vegetables, rice and groundnuts.

This scope of work focuses on the latter position.

Duties

  • The Cluster Assistant’s overall duty consist of assisting the Cluster Advisor in deepening and scaling the partnerships selected by 2SCALE in the country.
  • In Nigeria the Cluster Assistant is specifically in charge of supporting 2SCALE partners in the vegetable-, rice- and groundnut partnerships, to deepen and scale them.
  • Deepening relates to the networks at local (agribusiness cluster) and regional (along the value chain) levels, and sets the stage for further scaling; scaling in turn is about the additional numbers of smallholder farmers that can be included in these networks, and the volumes of produce that flow through the value chains to targeted market segments.

Specific Duties include the following:

  • Collect and analyze market and industry information related to focus partnerships.
  • Lead gender analyses and empowerment interventions targeting vulnerable groups in focus partnerships, and document them.

Support cluster stakeholders to develop a solid strategy to reach their shared ambition and scale the partnerships, in line with set targets, which include but are not limited to the following:

  • Vegetables: 21,000 smallholder farmers (incl. 7,500 women) and 25 SMEs (incl. 9 women-headed)
  • Rice: 6,000 smallholder farmers (incl. 1,500 women) and 13 SMEs
  • Groundnuts: 2,000 smallholder farmers (incl. 750 women) and 19 SMEs (incl.11 women-headed)
  • Document field achievements, innovations, failures and lessons learned; share them in reports and integrate lessons learned into subsequent project activities.
  • Write technical reports and notes as requested, in strict compliance with deadlines.
  • In an autonomous way, collaborate (exchange of ideas and documents) with partnership facilitators in charge of similar partnerships in the other 2SCALE countries (West Africa, East & southern Africa).
  • Identify and implement collaborative activities with other IFDC-led projects in Nigeria.
  • Develop and ensure good working relationship with agribusiness partners and local authorities.
  • Act as the Cluster Advisor when required to do so.
  • Assist cluster actors in translating their strategy into business-driven cluster action plans.
  • Develop grant sub-contracts as well as terms of reference for specific support activities with direct funding.
  • Monitor the implementation of grant-funded activities through intensive field visits and coaching of grassroots partners.
  • Ensure quality deliverables are submitted by grantees in compliance with grant sub-contracts. Approve technical deliverables and review financial deliverables. Initiate and monitor disbursement of grant installments by IFDC.
  • Track private sector contributions and provide all required documentation in time to the project coordination.
  • Develop, document and facilitate governance at the partnership level for the vegetable- and rice partnerships.
  • Coordinate specific support provided by cross-cutting staff in focus partnerships, such as access to finance, technical innovation, local empowerment (ICRA), BoP marketing (BoPInc), communication, audit/coaching of (potential) grantees, monitoring and evaluation.

The Cluster Assistant is also responsible for any other assignments that the Cluster Advisor or the project management deem necessary for the success of the project:

Supervision

  • The Cluster Assistant is supervised by and reports to the Cluster Advisor.
  • S/he works in close collaboration with cross-cutting thematic specialists and the regional agribusiness coordinator.

Position and Duty Station

  • The 2SCALE Nigeria Cluster Assistant is a national position with a duty station at IFDC’s office in Abuja.
  • The position requires intensive travels (minimum 50% of the time) in target regions in Nigeria, and exceptionally to other 2SCALE countries.

Requirements/Qualifications

  • Minimum Bachelor’s Degree or equivalent in Agriculture or Agribusiness. A degree in horticulture would be an added advantage.
  • At least 6 years of relevant experience in agribusiness or agricultural development, with a minimum of 2 years of experience in horticulture.
  • Work experience in the private sector (company or association) or with public-private partnerships would be a plus.
  • Result-orientation and ability to take initiatives under minimal supervision, and reach targets.
  • Excellent spoken and written English, with the ability to write quality documents.
  • Proficiency in spoken Hausa (required). Additional proficiency in Yoruba is an advantage.
  • Up-to-date knowledge of the agricultural sector in Nigeria, and in particular of value chains related to vegetables, rice and/or groundnuts.
  • Good understanding of and work experience in value chain development, if possible in horticulture. Knowledge of inclusive agribusiness models.
  • Experience with project result-based planning.
  • Proven experience in organizing and facilitating capacity building programs (trainings, demonstrations, field visits, etc.) and other events for value chain stakeholders.

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should send both their CV’s and cover letters to: [email protected] and [email protected]

Note: Women willing and able to travel intensively are highly encouraged to apply.

Application Deadline 14th August, 2015.

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