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Agricultural Economist East & Southern Africa

IFDC Overview

IFDC is a nonprofit, science-based organization working to alleviate global hunger and poverty by improving sustainable agricultural productivity. IFDC enables smallholder farmers in developing countries to increase agricultural productivity, generate economic growth, and practice environmental stewardship by enhancing their ability to manage mineral and organic fertilizers responsibly and participate profitably in input and output markets.

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IFDC was established in 1974 in response to the twin crises of food insecurity and rising energy prices. IFDC is governed by an international board of directors and supported by bilateral and multilateral aid agencies, private enterprises and foundations and Headquartered in Muscle Shoals, Alabama, USA.

IFDC manages field activities in over 20 countries in Africa and Asia through three regional offices in Accra, Nairobi and Dhaka covering respectively: West Africa, East and Southern Africa, and Asia.

Position Overview

The East & Southern Africa Agricultural Economist will lead activities related to fertilizer, input and soil health in the areas of markets, economics and policy related issues that contributes to advocacy focusing on improved enabling environment. The Economist will support national and regional projects in East & Southern Africa as well as support IFDC’s strategic priorities including new business through conducting evidence based research and products such as development of policy briefs, research papers, that lead to developing concept notes and new proposals etc.  S/he will be based at IFDC’s Regional Office in Nairobi, Kenya with regular travel to support regional projects of IFDC as and when required. S/he will be part of IFDC’s Research Team as well as the East & Southern Africa Regional team.

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Specific Activities

The Economist will undertake the following activities:

  • Provide technical leadership and support to the development and implementation of fertilizer and soil health related programs in the areas of economics, markets, and policy related issues;
  • Liaise and work closely with Ministries of Agriculture, government agencies, private sector, associations, development partners, stakeholders and projects in the region and serves as a key point of contact in agriculture related policy formulation, analysis, implementation and dissemination;
  • Maintain an active and dynamic policy dialogue with other Government institutions, donor platforms and organizations and private sector to facilitate technical discussions and engage in effective policy development and change in soil and fertilizer related issues;
  • Coordinate meetings on key issues related to soil health, agricultural inputs and fertilizer markets, policy related issues;
  • Be responsible for fertilizer, input and policy sector working group/platform meetings (preparation, reporting and following up recommendations)
  • Provide support/lead in the development of new business related to policy and enabling environment issues with regard to input policies, with particular focus on soil fertility related. Activities may include the development of policy briefs to support new business, the development of concept notes and technical inputs into proposal development;
  • Participating in and conducting training and capacity building programs on key economic and policy issues on fertilizers and soil health related issues.
  • Developing and presenting reports and technical papers at meetings, representation in conferences and workshops
  • Provide support in other areas of work and undertake any other duties as may be assigned by the BFS-Program coordinator and the Regional Director.

Requirements

  • This position requires a broad knowledge and understanding of economic, agriculture, and fertilizer conditions in East & Southern Africa to properly determine the issues affecting the functioning of markets (inputs) and the role of soil fertility issues affecting the farmer use and adoption.
  • The position further requires specialized experience in input policies – in terms of formulation and advocacy at different levels and  the ability to lead and participate in the implementation of projects associated with development projects involving soil fertility related interventions; 
  • Knowledge and experience for conducting qualitative and quantitative surveys towards generating evidence to support or test the fertilizer market and soil fertility related interventions that have potential impact on policies
  • Knowledge of international development agencies, government ministries and agencies, and donors to prepare successful funding economic and policy recommendations and proposals to donors;
  • Strong skills to use statistical and econometric analysis for better research outcomes
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills to properly prepare technical reports and policy documents and to present lectures on research findings at seminars and workshops to a wide range of technical and non-technical audiences;
  • Proven experience and skills in project management, planning, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation (M&E);
  • Superior level of resourcefulness and the ability to work independently, manage and complete multiple tasks simultaneously, and to meet deadlines under pressure;
  • Proven ability to work cooperatively with a multi-disciplinary team, development partners, local communities and government agencies in East & Southern Africa;
  • Willingness and ability to travel as needed;
  • Minimum of Ph.D. and 5 to 7 years of relevant research experience or Master’s degree and 10 to 15 years of relevant research experience in an applied field of Economics or Agriculture

Location & Travel

This position will be based at IFDC’s Regional East & Southern Africa Office in Nairobi and primarily covers countries and projects in the region. Support may be required to other countries in which IFDC operates in the region with a travels up to 25-30%.

Contract

Successful candidates will receive a national contract based in Nairobi Kenya.

Required Experience

  • Knowledge and experience for conducting qualitative and quantitative surveys towards generating evidence to support or test the fertilizer market and soil fertility related interventions that have potential impact on policies
  • Minimum of Ph.D. and 5 to 7 years of relevant research experience or Master’s degree and 10 to 15 years of relevant research experience in an applied field of Economics or Agriculture.

Financial Inclusion Junior Consultant

Background

The 2SCALE program[1] is designed to incubate and accelerate inclusive business development in African agri-food systems. 2SCALE works together with companies (African, Dutch, and other small and medium-sized enterprises – SMEs) and producer organizations (POs) to develop business models and partnership models that promote inclusiveness, develop competitive edge, and have potential for scaling. These partnerships, also referred to as public-private partnerships (PPPs), are the core implementation modality to achieve the objectives of the program.

Specifically, 2SCALE supports partnerships in target agri-food industries with significant potential to:

  • improve food and nutrition security, both at grassroots level and at the consumer end of the value chain by serving local and regional markets (including Base-of-the-Pyramid – BoP – markets) with nutritious food products.
  • improve the terms of inclusion of smallholder farmers and other micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in the value chains.
  • attract and employ the youth.
  • engage and empower women.

To strengthen PPPs, 2SCALE also collaborates with companies and organizations that provide a specific expertise to support the target agri-food value chains or act as a major off-taker in the chain. 2SCALE is co-funded by the private sector and by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs through the Directorate-General for International Cooperation (DGIS). Building on a first phase (2012-18), the current phase of 2SCALE runs from January 1, 2019, to December 31, 2023. It is awarded to a consortium led by the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) and comprising the Base-of-the-Pyramid Innovation Center (BoPInc) and the Netherlands Development Organization (SNV).Partnership with Batian Nuts Limited

Batian is a processor and exporter of macadamia operating in Meru and Tharaka Nithi counties of Kenya. 2SCALE partnered with Batian Nuts to improve the production of groundnuts by farmers in Tharaka Nithi and Meru counties and increase the availability of nutritious groundnuts products to low-income consumers. The partnership is building a cluster of farmers who produce aflatoxin free groundnuts sustainably and channel it through Batian for processing and finally to consumers. We support farmers to improve their production through sustainable practices and Batian to secure financing and develop processing capacity for groundnut products. The partnership is particularly keen to support youth and women enterprises that provide services in the supply chain of Batian.

    2. Partnership with Tegemeo Cereals Enterprise Limited.

Tegemeo Cereals Enterprise Ltd is farmer-led grain aggregator, trader, and supplier operating in the semi-arid counties in eastern Kenya. The partnership between Tegemeo and 2SCALE aims to is to build resilience of smallholder farmers’ commercial farming ventures and to develop affordable and nutritious of sorghum and pearl millet-based products for low-income consumers in the semi-arid counties of Tharaka Nithi, Makueni and Kitui. Resilience of farmer ventures will be built by increasing their production, productivity, and incomes through introduction of high yielding and bio-fortified drought tolerant varieties of sorghum and pearl millet alongside eco-efficient innovations and climate smart farming practices.

About the Financial Inclusion Junior Consultant Role

Access to finance smallholder farmers and other actors in the partnerships is one of the huddles the that must overcome for the partnerships to achieve their ambitions. Financial inclusion interventions are thus a key priority for 2SCALE in 2022. 2SCALE, Batian Nuts and Tegemeo agreed to strengthen internal capitalization of smallholders and other value chain actors by engaging a Financial Inclusion Junior Consultant to operationalization and strengthening Village and Savings Loans Associations (VSLAs) smallholder farmers linked to Batian Nuts and Tegemeo Cereals Enterprise Ltd. This activity is captured in Batian Nuts’ and Tegemeo’s 2022 action plans as Activity 3.1 and Activity 2.1, respectively and is due for implementation. In this SoW, 2SCALE will hire this consultant for a period of one year.

Objectives

Operationalize and strengthen 250 Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLAs) of smallholder farmers linked to Batian Nuts and Tegemeo Cereals Enterprise Ltd.

TasksTake a participative and active role in the overall implementation of 2SCALE’s financial inclusion interventions.Mobilization, recruitment, and registration of VSLA/farmer organizations linked to Batian Nuts and Tegemeo Cereals Enterprise Ltd.Participate in development and review of group-lending specific financial products based on market needs.Work with VSLAs/ farmer organizations to deliver a range of financial literacy training targeted to their individual needs. These include record keeping assistance, cash-flow management, credit management, and referrals to financial institutions.Coaching, mentoring, and hand holding of Batian Nuts and Tegemeo extensionists in delivery of financial literacy training.Recording, verifying and assessment of data on VSLA/ farmer organization savings.Identify, initiate, and manage community strategic partnerships that increase quality of 2SSCALE’s Financial Inclusion interventions.Submit timely monthly and quarterly reports as required by 2SCALE.Support 2SCALE communications team with success stories from the field.

Environmental screening and mitigation measures

This assignment will not have any significant adverse effect on the environment.

Expected results

Successful undertaking of the aforementioned tasks will result in

  • Increased financial literacy among smallholder farmers, and other partnership actors
  • Increased savings in the VSLAs, with savings data captured under the partnership’s UII-8
  • Creation of linkages between Batian Nuts, Tegemeo, the VSLAs and financial institutions operating within Tharaka Nithi county.

Deliverables

Location

The Consultant will be based in Giekuri , Marimanti town, Tharaka Nithi county at the field offices where the BSS’s/business champions are located. S/he will travel in-country to meet with field partners and any other program related activities.

Qualifications and Skills Required

Required Qualifications

  • An undergraduate bachelor’s degree in Business related courses from a recognized institution.
  • Knowledge in sales and marketing, group-lending, credit, and risk management as well as relevant experience in the micro-finance and banking sectors
  • Experience working with rural communities, table banking “chamas” or farmer organizations or farmer groups
  • Experience in delivering training of financial education, mentoring and coaching

 Skills

  • Proficiency in computers is mandatory.
  • Ability to analyze and interpret financial statements.
  • Clear understanding of microfinance/banking industry is an added advantage.
  • Good interpersonal and communication skills with excellent customer service.
  • A team player with the drive to improve performance.
  • Persuasive with strong recognition and facilitation skills.
  • Self-driven with the ability to work independently under minimum supervision.
  • Knowledge of Meru and Tharaka languages.

Collaboration and Reporting

The consultant will report to the Partnership Facilitator responsible for the partnerships, with support of the Financial Inclusion team for which they are assigned and will benefit from coaching from other team members of 2SCALE. The consultant will be expected to make monthly reports and activity reports from specific activities such as field travels, trainings, workshops, among others.

Deliverable

Format

Deadline

Comment

Monthly field reports

Word

Every 30th day of the month

These include a brief narrative report of field activities, pictures, and attendance lists as per the template provided

M&E reports

Excel

Quarterly

These include list of VSLAs and savings

Activity reports

Word

Within 3 days upon completion of the activity

These include Reach & Reaction forms filled as per the template provided.

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