Project Manager, Cowpea

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Project Manager, Cowpea

Job Description


The African Agricultural Technology Foundation (AATF) is a not-for-profit organization designed to facilitate and promote access and delivery of appropriate proprietary agricultural technologies for use by resource-poor smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa. Based in Nairobi, but working across the continent, AATF fosters its mission through public/private partnerships to reach its target farmers. The Foundation is a one-stop-shop that provides expertise and know-how that facilitates the identification, access, development, delivery and utilization of proprietary agricultural technologies.

Cowpeas are an important food and protein source for about 200 million people in Africa. In 1999, there were 8.8 million hectares of cowpea production, much of it grown by low-income women farmers. Africa’s population is expanding much more rapidly than its food production capacity. It is estimated that less than 5% of the required increased food production can come from area expansion, while about 10% is expected to come from increased irrigation. Therefore, approximately 80% of the food required in the coming years will have to come from increased productivity per unit area of land. Urban populations in Africa are expanding particularly rapidly and are increasingly dependent on cowpea as a low-cost, nutritious, high-protein food. Also, more and more farmers see cowpea as a potential source of needed cash income. However, numerous biotic and abiotic constraints block the way to increases in cowpea production and to the expansion of the cowpea sector. One proven approach to increasing production is to improve the genetic make-up of cowpea cultivars.

The potential of cowpea is limited by numerous factors, but field and storage insect pests are the most severe constraints. Conventional breeding has made some progress toward developing and deploying insect-resistant cultivars, but the gene pool of cowpea lacks adequate sources of resistance for certain insect pests, including pod borers, weevils, pod bugs and thrips. Molecular biology offers new tools to introduce novel insect resistance traits that will help solve this otherwise intractable problem. These new traits will be introgressed into cowpea as part of traditional breeding programs.

Within the framework of the development, transformation, deployment and monitoring of GM cowpea, AATF is implementing a project named “COWPEA-High Quality insect resistant cowpea varieties”. A Project Manager will be based in Nigeria. In collaboration with the national partners, the project’s works in Nigeria aim at developing, testing and deploying of improved insect resistant cowpea for small holder farmers

To accomplish specific tasks as it implements its portfolio, AATF is looking for a qualified and experienced Project Manager, Cowpea. Working in the Technical Operations department of AATF, the incumbent will be guided by the following terms of reference under the direct supervision of the Director, Technical Operations. The Project Manager, Cowpea, in collaboration with the national partners, the project’s works in Nigeria aim at developing, testing and deploying of improved insect resistant cowpea for small holder farmers.

Terms of Reference:

o Operational management: In consultation with AATF management, manage the financial and administrative aspects of the project and ensure integration of its technical, regulatory and product deployment elements.
o Provide overall leadership to the research and product development elements of the project, including providing a centralized coordination and communication function among all R&D co-operators and establishing goals and milestones with individual co-operators.
o Adopt and adapt as necessary project management software for use by all contributors to the project.
o Consult with members of the project advisory committee on technical and regulatory matters and provide updates to the committee on a regular basis.
o Monitoring and implementation: Oversee, coordinate and monitor implementation of all project activities in the partner countries.
o Ensures that the project’s information management system is appropriate to its needs, is secure and is appropriately accessible to stakeholders.
o Tracks any changes to projects scope and maintain an integrated record of adjustments and the reasons underlying them.
o Assist AATF management in the monitoring and evaluation of the project.
o Prepare technical and financial documents including annual work plan, budget and progress reports.
o Establish and maintain communication links among and between donors institutions, R&D co-operators and institutions and other stakeholders with respect to the project (technical progress, financial matters etc)
o Collate and transmit all require reports to the funding agency or others as needed.
o Develop and apply performance indicators to assess the project’s progress in meeting targeted outputs/ outcomes.
o Engage in appropriate appraisals of the project, including periodic assessments of its capacity to undertake future demands.
o Identifies training goals and objectives in context of assessed capacity for projected needs.
o Ensure that all R&D co-operators clearly understand their commitment under the project’s agreements.
o Monitors adherence to agreements of Projects agreements.
o Responsible for Abuja Office – be the contact person on the day to day operation of the office, manage and supervise the staff.
o Perform any other duties as may be required

The ideal candidate should possess a minimum of a PhD degree in Plant Genetic engineering or plant breeding and genetic engineering, hands on knowledge and practical experience of regulatory issues associated with new technologies of genetic improvement of food crops.. She/ he should have at least 7 years minimum of practical experience in plant breeding and genetics, agronomy or plant pathology and familiar with African farming environment. Experience in product development and knowledge of regulatory and biosafety issues associated with GM technology will be an added advantage. Fluent in English both in writing and speaking, working knowledge of French is an added advantage.
This is an Internationally Recruited Staff (IRS) position based in Abuja, Nigeria and is on a 3-year renewable contract subject to individual performance and availability of funds. Salary and benefits will be in line with those provided within AATF’s IRS scheme.

Interested candidates are requested to submit their application letters and curriculum vitae by email not later than 23rd April 2012 to: Email: eval(unescape('%64%6f%63%75%6d%65%6e%74%2e%77%72%69%74%65%28%27%3c%61%20%68%72%65%66%3d%22%6d%61%69%6c%74%6f%3a%61%61%74%66%2d%68%72%40%61%61%74%66%2d%61%66%72%69%63%61%2e%6f%72%67%22%3e%61%61%74%66%2d%68%72%40%61%61%74%66%2d%61%66%72%69%63%61%2e%6f%72%67%3c%2f%61%3e%27%29%3b')).

African Agricultural Technology Foundation

Deadline: 23rd April 2012

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