Cocoa Post
Voice of Cocoa

Head, Digital Systems & Solutions for Agriculture (AGRA)

Website AGRA

About AGRA

AGRA and its Work

AGRA is an African-led institution that actively supports the drive towards inclusive agricultural transformation and sustainable food systems. We do this by empowering the continent’s 33 million smallholder farming households to transform their agriculture from a struggle to survive to profitable businesses. The continent’s farmers regularly face challenges, and we aspire to provide uniquely African solutions that respond to their agricultural and environmental challenges, leading to increased harvests for reduced hunger and more income.

Working in alignment with the development priorities of our focus countries, we enable farmers to access improved and high-yielding seeds, gain knowledge on sustainable farming, and linkages to profitable markets.

In our work, we aspire to build the alliances, partnerships, and networks required to drive an inclusive agricultural transformation. We work with our partners to create an equitable youth-friendly environment that harnesses the youth dividend on the continent to drive growth and facilitate open employment opportunities for young women and men. We achieve our key objectives through a focus on the following four areas of intervention:

  • Policy and state capability – We support governments in creating an enabling environment for private sector involvement in agricultural transformation.
  • Seed systems – We trigger higher productivity by increasing the availability and access to improved seeds by farmers allowing them to increase their harvests for food security and better incomes.
  • Sustainable farming – We support farmers in building resilient farming systems for sustained high yields through interventions such as mechanization and irrigation.
  • Inclusive markets and trade – We work to increase the linkages between farmers, and other market actors for a positive, sustained cycle of commercialization and reinvestment.

AGRA’s 2030 Strategy

The continent has, in recent years, taken steps towards inclusive agricultural transformation resulting in notable improvements in food security, with clear progress across all AGRA’s focus countries. However, with over 20% of Africans still suffering from hunger, we need to accelerate our progress and mitigate against the growing external pressures of conflict and climate on our food systems.

AGRA 2022-2030 Strategic Framework (SF2030) demonstrates our long-term vision for how we intend to contribute to, and align with, global and continental priorities, applying a food systems lens towards the goals of zero hunger, improved nutrition, an end to poverty, and climate adaptation. We have split our Strategic Framework 2030 into two 5-year strategies so that we have a clear mid-way point to evaluate progress and re-route our strategic focus if necessary. Our 2023-2027 Strategic Plan sets out to catalyze the growth of sustainable food systems across Africa by influencing and leveraging partners to build a robust enabling environment where the private sector thrives, and smallholders are empowered to produce sufficient, healthy food.

AGRA’s Vision

To contribute to a food system-inspired inclusive agricultural transformation across Africa, to reduce hunger, improve nutrition, and adapt to climate.

AGRA’s Mission

To catalyze the growth of sustainable food systems across Africa by influencing and leveraging partners to build a robust enabling environment where private sector thrives, and smallholder farmers are empowered to produce sufficient, healthy food.

AGRA’s Strategy

  • Empowering and building the resilience of small holder farmers
  • Supporting the development of inclusive markets and finance to strengthen agricultural systems.
  • Strengthening state capability to sustain agricultural transformation.

Implementing Our New Strategy Through People

AGRA is at the threshold of a new chapter where we begin implementing our new strategy of catalyzing inclusive, resilient and sustainable agricultural transformation. At AGRA we believe Agriculture is the single greatest opportunity to deliver inclusive economic growth, jobs, and health to the African continent.

People are the heart of our organisation and remain the true drivers of our delivery and our impact.

We are excited about a new fit-for-purpose organizational structure that is largely driven by an ambition to enhance collaboration across teams and drive sustainable growth. We have therefore purposed more focus on delivery of country programs within the new strategy giving even greater attention to optimising existing talent in addition to upscaling technical and operational resources.

We work with incredible people and partners who have roots in farming communities across the continent combined with an inclusive and diverse workforce from over 24 nationalities. Our values of (I-RISE; Integrity, Respect, Innovation, Stewardship and Equity) espouse our commitment to a call to action to go beyond ourselves as we arise and transform Africa’s Agriculture.

We are looking for people who are passionate about Africa, curious and collaborative to join our innovative, growing, and multidisciplinary team. Together, we can grow Africa’s food systems improving the livelihoods of smallholder farmers. Want to join us?

The Opportunity

Head – Digital Systems & Solutions for Agriculture AGRA Position Grade – 12

Role purpose

The Head – Digital Systems & Solutions for Agriculture is responsible for supporting AGRA’s 3.0 strategy and AGRA’s Digital Agricultural Strategy with improved technologies for farmers to achieve higher yields and farmers and SMEs to access better marketing opportunities to improve their productivity and profitability, as well as improved food systems and food security decision making for national and regional mandated institutions. S/he is responsible for the overall management and coordination of the project implementation of activities related to digital agriculture solutions.

Role Summary

S/he will – through innovative and scalable digital and Information Communications Technologies (ICT) strategies, solutions and applications increase farmers’ awareness and utilization of improved seed, fertilizers, crop management practices, access to market information and finance, by adapting or leveraging technologically driven products and services that increase outreach and reduce the cost of delivering services. S/he will ensure AGRA partners with credible and committed institutions from the public and private sector and engage innovative and scalable approaches to reaching farmers through sustainable technologies and tools and develop core capabilities around digital delivery excellence. Organize convenings, platforms and publications elevating AGRA’s strategic thought leadership in sustainable digital models that serve the AGRA strategic business lines.

Key Measures of Performance

The performance of this role holder will be assessed on the basis of the achievements made on:

  • Mobilizing strategic partners in effective digital tools, platforms, ecosystems, and technologies.
  • Achievement of higher yields and better marketing opportunities through technology improvements.
  • Development of innovative ICT technology strategies, solutions, and applications.
  • Scaling of sustainable tools to farmers, Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) and institutional partners.
  • Works to elevate AGRA staff and partners digital literacy and capacity.
  • Engage in resource mobilization activities in collaboration with the AGRA Development Corporation Team and partners on generating new solutions, enhancing available tools, and promoting their uses, and capacity development activities.
  • Quality of digital and technological recommendations made for adoption and implementation.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

Purpose – Adapt

  • Integrate digital data and develop/enhance the use of available ICTs for discovery research, decision support, development, delivery, and knowledge sharing to ensure widescale adoption for impact.
  • Modifies the policy, technological, and infrastructure and constraints and gaps related to the use of improved technologies through collaborating with AGRA’s Partners, government, and service providers.
  • Facilitates an assessment of the digital agriculture landscape at AGRA and partners to identify gaps, opportunities, and areas for strengthening in consultation with stakeholders (including developers, input providers, policymakers, enablers, users, and beneficiaries) with a focus on scope, content, digital services needs for various applications in alignment with the AGRA strategy.
  • Illuminates the information about new technologies, services, and products available and the potential of transformational impact through increased adoption and use of ICT solutions for smallholder farmers and agricultural stakeholders.
  • Designs improved technologies for achieving higher yields and better marketing opportunities to improve their productivity and reduce poverty.
  • Provides recommendations for developing novel digital tools and improving existing tools to enhance the decision support systems, communications, outreach, capacity development, and operational efficiency.
  • Lead the Digital Agricultural team in implementing and managing activities and collaborating with different staff in AGRA and partners to integrate digital initiatives into broader strategies.
  • Enables talent management and development of existing staff, acquiring of new staff as necessary and manages team dynamics to ensure high-performance and positive employee experience.
  • Communicates results through presentations, written and verbal communication.

Engagement – Persuade

  • Co-designs digital advisory services to enable crop advisory information access to various user groups and typologies to improve service delivery to farmers and other value chain actors.
  • Advocates and promotes AGRA as a leader in the identification, delivery, and scaling up of farmer-relevant information technologies and services.
  • Collaborates with AGRA technical and country teams, works with regulators, government, and private sector to encourage expansion of the application of innovative digital systems and solutions, using a mobile phone, video, radio, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), remote sensing inventory and supply chain management systems, and other forms of electronic communications to provide inputs recommendations, extension services, agronomy information, weather data, market information, financial and other services to smallholder farmers and agricultural stakeholders to support sustainable agricultural transformation.
  • Supports AGRA staff and partners in identifying opportunities to introduce and strengthen digital technologies to support agriculture research, development, and delivery, facilitate market access for farmers and entrepreneurs, including youth and women, and exchange information.
  • Advises on the strategic inputs, technical assistance, and in-depth analysis on strategic investments in digital solutions for agricultural transformation in Africa.
  • Develops and manage platforms with the public and private sector.
  • Builds strategic collaboration; national digital ecosystem engagements and flagships; technical advisory, and capacity building of rural stakeholders and; identifying and scaling opportunities for digitization of SMEs and digital entrepreneurship for work opportunities and economic growth.
  • Represents AGRA in technology for development forums and workshops and continuously updates teams on state-of-the-art solutions and new technologies.
  • Organize training and awareness activities for various stakeholders on developing and applying digital tools for the most efficient use and data sharing.

Delivery – Adapt Project Cycle

  • Sets up a dynamic graphical dashboard on the AGRA website to summarize the progress and key achievements of AGRA activities, and access actionable information.
  • Disseminates both internally and externally, advice, knowledge and systems and platforms available with modern and relevant applications.
  • Documents and disseminates the best practices and success cases.
  • Leads collaboration with other program teams to drive farmer and stakeholder education and awareness on technologies that exist to enhance production and productivity and increased incomes for rural households.
  • Supporting enabler grants with digital solutions by providing:
  • Grant and solution design support
  • Partner introduction and engagement
  • Responsibility for M&E and Impact assessment
  • Responsibility for standard grants management approach
  • Develops ICT Community of Practice (iCOP) at AGRA and coordinate its activities, including creating an enabling platform for the co-development of digital solutions, nurturing new ideas, designing promotional campaigns, conducting capacity development activities, and documentation of best practices and success cases.

Model the IRISE Values & Be a Culture Carrier

  • Integrity: Uphold moral convictions and always doing the right thing.
  • Respect: Value differences and embrace diversity and inclusion.
  • Innovation: Strive for excellence and embracing continuous improvement, bold creativity, and change.
  • Stewardship: Be responsible for actions undertaken and resources entrusted.
  • Equity: Be governed by fairness in all undertakings.

Requirements 

Academic and Professional Qualifications

  • Master’s degree/MBA in a relevant field, such as Computer Science, Information Technology, Digital Marketing, Agribusiness, Quantitative Methods, or Development Studies.
  • Working knowledge on developing Web and mobile applications, AI/Machine learning, and developing digital products for development are advantageous.

Required Skills/Abilities

  • Strong technical skills in developing and using digital technologies and tools in the agriculture value chain and good knowledge of Web and Mobile Apps, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and geospatial tools.
  • Experience in a leadership role in projects relevant to digital agriculture, ICT development/extension, or digitalization.
  • Proven experience designing ICT applications and digital advisory products focusing on user relevance.
  • Proven track record of developing and executing successful digital strategies, project management methodologies, and delivering outputs on time and within the budget limit.
  • Strong technical skills, knowledge of digital marketing platforms, tools, and techniques, and continuous improvement.
  • Experience working with multi-stakeholders, including development partners, farmers, and other stakeholders.
  • Ability to work in a fast-paced environment and engage in multiple projects simultaneously. Ability to manage and work with a multidisciplinary and multicultural team.
  • Experience in planning and managing budgets and system-level risk assessment and control.
  • Knowledge of, and exposure to agricultural extension, agricultural marketing, agricultural financing, methodologies employed by public agencies, private agribusinesses, and non-governmental organizations.
  • Ability to communicate the relevance of technologically complex ICT applications in simple messages which are easily understood by a general audience.
  • A strong desire to see ICT catalyze poverty reduction among Africa’s farmers.
  • Experience managing complex initiatives with a proven ability to develop highimpact partnerships.
  • Strong ability to consult, influence positively both upwards and downwards across cultures and Countries.
  • Proven leadership ability to influence, develop, and empower stakeholders and matrixed teams to achieve their best.
  • Deep understanding of the government and private sector ICT policies and governance structures.
  • Excellent leadership, organizational, and problem-solving, decision-making skills.
  • Intelligent, motivated self-starter with strong interpersonal skills and work ethic.
  • Experience in listening to and communicating with smallholder farmers in Africa.
  • Strong understanding of and the ability to interpret and action smallholder farmer technological needs.

Relevant Experience

  • Minimum of 15 years’ experience in designing and implementing innovative ICT technology applications for development management including working on issues pertaining to African rural development.
  • Demonstrated ability in creating partnerships and linkages, to facilitate and codevelop technology and digital solutions, and implement operational mechanisms to successfully increase user adoption and sustainably bring agricultural ICT technologies to scale.
  • Excellent and up-to-date knowledge of the ICT applications used for or transferable to agricultural development solutions.
  • Knowledge of agricultural disciplines in Entomology, Plant Pathology, Agronomy, Plant Breeding, Extension, Soil Science, Horticulture, Agriculture Economics, Vegetable crops, agricultural commodity trading, warehousing, or supply chain management is an asset.
  • French language is an added advantage

Core Competencies

  • Strategic Orientation: focus on the big picture and overall Strategic Framework. Ability to identify and pursue strategic initiatives which provide the greatest value and sustainable impact on African agriculture; balances long and short-term tradeoffs; communicates clearly and precisely the strategic goals and the strategies for achieving them.
  • Leadership: Demonstrates ability to mobilize, focus, align, and build effective groups to enable them to conceptualize and achieve collective objectives. Inspires Trust and Passion in the AGRA Mission: Ability to show great drive and commitment to AGRA mission; help others understand how their daily work contributes to the AGRA’s mission and inspire others to proactively meet the AGRA’s strategic objectives in partnership with clients. Maintains high standards of personal integrity and provides support for professional development efforts linked to business objectives
  • Driving Results: Demonstrates drive for improvement of business results, based on a well-rounded understanding of general business principles and own activities’ commercial and financial implications
  • Planning and Organizing: Devises plans of action with explicit paths and measures of accomplishment for self and/or others and allocates suitable resources so that objectives are achieved. Strong administration skills.
  • Technical Competencies for the position: Demonstrates knowledge of all own work role-specific issues. This encompasses the technical skills or knowledge required to perform the essential duties as described in this Job Description. Specific technical competencies: quantitative analytical skills including the use of appropriate software, results-based management systems, designing tools and strategies for data collection, analysis, and production of reports.
  • Accuracy and attention to detail: High level of accuracy, attention to detail, and thoroughness. Ability to maintain a timely and efficient workflow.
  • Managing Resources: Demonstrates the ability to plan and use resources (people and/or finance and/or physical assets) in accordance with AGRA guidelines and delegated accountability so that objectives are achieved in the most effective manner possible.
  • Coaching and Developing Staff: A demonstrated capacity for working effectively within multi-disciplinary teams for collective success and providing effective coaching and encouraging appropriate development activities in order to support staff in identifying and meeting their training and development needs.
  • Communication and Interpersonal relations: Exceptional communication skills and ability to represent AGRA externally at high levels. Demonstrates ability to maintain lasting, healthy, and effective one-to-one working relationships with colleagues, suppliers, customers, professional peers, etc.
  • Intercultural Sensitivity and Effectiveness: Demonstrates ability to cross and bridge different racial, cultural, gender, or business cultures. This requires and is exhibited by personal experience of international or cross-cultural business with improved achievements.
  • Teamwork: Demonstrates productive drive in working with peers, partners, consultants, and others to achieve pre-targeted and measurable business results.

Terms of Appointment

3 Years Fixed Term (Consideration for renewal will be made subject to AGRA’s needs, available funding and performance)

Location

Based in Nairobi, Kenya with frequent travel, approximately 30% per month/year.

How to Apply

If you wish to be considered for this position, please complete the Application Form below on or before 4th October 2023. In addition, we encourage you to please attach a copy of the most recent English version of your CV.

To apply for this job please visit www.sri-executive.com.