Yam Breeder Job at International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a not-for-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, we improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resource integrity. IITA is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future.

We seek suitable Nigerian for the position below at the Institute’s Headquarter in Ibadan:



Job Title: 
Yam Breeder
Ref: DDG-R4D/YB/03/18
Location: Ibadan, Oyo
Contract: 3-year Renewable Contract


  • A highly motivated individual is required to lead genetic improvement of yam (Dioscorea spp.) at IITA.
  • The successful individual will work within a team that includes scientists with expertise in breeding, genetics, biotechnology, social science, agronomy, seed systems, food technology, and plant health management.
  • This team collaborates actively with national yam programs and universities in West Africa as well as research institutes in France, USA, and UK. It is expected that the successful applicant will lead the engagement of IITA’s yam breeding in these partnerships and with relevant cross CGIAR activities, including the Excellence in Breeding Platform.

Position Responsibilities

  • This position aims to develop highly productive yam varieties and breeding populations with resistance to diseases and pests, good food and nutritional qualities, and desirable physiological and agronomic traits adapted to different agro-ecozones of sub-Saharan Africa, especially West Africa.
  • Providing technical backstopping and other assistance in building yam breeding capacity of national programs.
  • Mobilizing research resources through grant proposals and managing research funds effectively.
  • The main duties of the successful applicant will include the following:
  • Use of innovative approaches for the exploitation of genetic diversity and genomic data from a range of Dioscorea species in germplasm enhancement and improvement of yam.
  • Integrating conventional yam breeding with genomics-assisted breeding in collaboration with biotechnologists.
  • High quality research on genetics of, and breeding for, resistance/tolerance to biotic and abiotic stresses, and enhanced nutritional and end-use quality traits.
  • Publishing research results in high quality scientific journals and representing IITA in scientific and partnership meetings, including through oral presentations.
  • Contributing to IITA relationships with partners in national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES), the private sector, and advanced research institutes.
  • Fostering an effective mechanism for delivery of improved yam germplasm to NARES and the private sector.
  • Co-supervising post-graduate thesis research with university lecturers and mentoring the next generation of yam breeders.

Educational Qualifications

  • The candidate should have a PhD degree in Plant breeding or related discipline and a good knowledge of genomics.

Core Competencies:

  • Extensive experience in a field-breeding program, and adequate exposure to molecular biology to implement genomics-assisted breeding.
  • Organizational, planning and budget management experience.
  • Donor relations and project management experience including proposal writing and oversight of compliance matters resulting in continuously donor funded projects.
  • Ability to work as a member of a multi-disciplinary team in a cross-cultural environment.
  • Excellent leadership, mentoring, management, interpersonal, and team building skills.
  • Demonstrated strong capabilities in statistical data analysis.
  • Fluency in oral and written English. Working knowledge of French is an advantage.
  • A strong peer-reviewed publication record.


  • IITA offers internationally competitive remuneration package paid in U.S. Dollars.



How To Apply
Interested and qualified candidates should complete the online application attaching detailed Cover letter which should address how the candidate’s background/experience relates to the specific duties of the position applied for, Curriculum Vitae, names and addresses of three professional referees (which must include either the Head of the applicant’s current or previous organization or applicant’s direct Supervisor/Superior at his/her present or former place of work). The application should be addressed to the “Head, Human Resources Service.”

Click here to apply


Application Deadline  19th April, 2018.



  • IITA is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from female candidates.
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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