International Institute of Tropical Agriculture Vacancy for a Seed Systems Specialist

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) – HarvestPlus is an interdisciplinary, global alliance of more than 200 scientific and implementation partners in over 40 countries that seeks to reduce hidden hunger and provide micronutrients to billions of people directly through the staple foods that they eat. HarvestPlus uses a novel process called biofortification, based on conventional plant breeding, to achieve higher levels of micronutrients in high-yielding, high-profit varieties of key staple foods. HarvestPlus is a joint venture between two CGIAR Centers, the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) based in Cali, Colombia and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) based in Washington, D.C. Both Institutions are committed to reduce hunger and poverty around the world through their research activities.

With the first wave of provitamin-A dense maize varieties released and being commercialized in Nigeria, HarvestPlus and CIAT are recruiting a dynamic, results-oriented Maize Seed Systems Specialist to support the accelerated deployment of Vita-A maize. Vitamin-A deficiency is widespread in Nigeria, and the project is mainstreaming maize to help broaden the food options for addressing Vitamin A deficiency in Africa’s most populous country, Nigeria.

We are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Seed Systems Specialist

Location: Ibadan
Contract: 2-year renewable contract

Main Responsibilities

  • The Maize Seed Systems Specialist will play a key role in planning, organizing and implementing the seed production and seed commercialization plans for HarvestPlus Nigeria. This requires working closely with relevant public and private sector partners in R&D and deployment at the country level. In supporting HarvestPlus in-country product development and delivery plans, the Maize Seed Systems Specialist will assure that hybrid/OPV release and seed production targets are met in forming operational or strategic partnerships under commercial, social and mixed marketing situations.
  • Additional responsibilities will include training of private and public partners in all activities related to maize hybrid/OPV evaluation, lead identification and seed production.

Specific Job Responsibilities include:

  • With relevant public/private sector partners: plan, organize, and implement seed production and commercialization plans, including inbred line maintenance, production of breeders, pre-basic and basic seed of parental lines for increased commercial seed production.
  • Engage with private sector and community-based seed producers in developing a sustainable market for seed and monitor the production of high quality seeds for marketing.
  • With partners, improve the capacity of public/private sector partners in the seed systems (including small/medium-sized seed companies, CBOs and NGOs) through development of training modules on seed production, seed business management, seed multiplication, seed marketing, quality assurance, etc.); technical backstopping.
  • Ensure effective networking, collaboration and communication with partners in Nigeria.
  • Closely collaborate and coordinate maize seed activities with HarvestPlus-Nigeria Country Manager to improve overall project performance.

Specific Responsibilities
The specific responsibilities for the Maize Seed Systems Specialist shall include:

  • Liaise with IITA in the licensing of released biofortified maize varieties facilitated by HarvestPlus.
  • To facilitate field days conducted by seed companies for the promotion of biofortified crops.
  • To facilitate seed promotions including point of sale materials and activations to support increased purchase and production of biofortified crops.
  • To monitor seed produced by seed companies from production through processing.
  • Establish outreach of biofortified seed in terms of beneficiaries sold to by seed companies on the basis of seed sales.
  • Liaise between seed companies licensed to produce and sale biofortified seed and HarvestPlus country program.
  • To inform HarvestPlus of any factors that may hinder economic production of seed of biofortified maize.
  • Collaborate with the Regional Seed Systems Specialist in the bulking of parent seed/ lines of leads entered for National Variety Trials so as to shorten time to Market of released varieties.
  • Technically backstop the production of seed by licensed seed companies especially the pre-basic and basic seed.
  • To facilitate the commercial production of biofortified seed by licensed seed companies.
  • Inspect seed fields under production by licensed seed companies for compliance with the seed certification standards.
  • Work with Demand Creation Specialist and technically support the laying out of demonstrations and conducting of field days to promote biofortified maize by HarvestPlus-Nigeria.
  • Any other duties as may be assigned by the Country Manager

Competence and Experience
The candidate shall have the following competencies, skills and experience and/or shall have successfully demonstrated these attributes in actual work situations:

  • Maize seed production, management of demonstration and validation trials, variety release procedures, seed regulations, seed quality, experimental design, field trial management, data analyses using different statistical programs, and field experimental operations.
  • Demonstrated competency in developing and implementing effective seed strategies.
  • Evaluate, and improve the efficiency of business processes and procedures to enhance speed, quality, efficiency, and output.
  • Ability to build effective partnerships across the various parts of the seed supply chain.
  • Exceptional drive and entrepreneurship and ability to motivate others.
  • Strong negotiation and consensus building skills
  • Hands-on problem-solver with strong analytical abilities and end-product focus.
  • Agree to intensive travel.
  • Speak and write English fluently.
  • Seed value chain, seed sector development, seed business management, and seed deployment/commercialization.
  • Commercial maize seed production management and seed commercialization.
  • Ability to work both persuasively and diplomatically in a team-based environment.


  • Master’s Degree with specialization in Plant breeding, Agronomy, Seed technology or related fields

N.B: The statements in this description represent typical elements, criteria and general work performed. They are not intended to be construed as an exhaustive list of all responsibilities, duties and skills for this job


We offer highly competitive salary with equally attractive fringe benefits and excellent working conditions in a pleasant campus environment.

How to Apply
Interested applicants should forward their applications with detailed curriculum vitae saved with their names in Microsoft word format. The application must include the names and e-mail addresses of three professional referees which must include either the Head of applicant’s current or previous organization or applicant’s direct Supervisor/Superior officer at work and evidence of current remuneration package.
Click here to apply online

Click here for more information

Application Deadline  2nd December, 2015.

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