Agriculture and Agro-Enterprise Program Manager

  • Mid-level, Full-time staff position
  • Posted on 30 December 2018

Job Description

Job Title: Agriculture and Agro-enterprise Program Manager I

Location: Bor, Jonglei State, South Sudan

Reports to: RFSP Livelihood Team Lead


Catholic Relief Services (CRS) carries out the commitment of the Bishops of the United States to assist the poor and vulnerable overseas. Our Catholic identity is at the heart of our mission and operations. We welcome as a part of our staff and as partners, people of all faiths and secular traditions who share our values and our commitment to serving those in need. CRS is an international non-governmental organization (INGO) supporting relief and development work in over 100 countries around the world. CRS programs assist persons based on need, regardless of creed, ethnicity or nationality.

The Resilience and Food Security Program (RFSP) is a USAID Food for Peace (FFP) Title II funded program working with communities affected by conflict in six of the counties of Greater Jonglei, South Sudan. The overall goal of RFSP is to improve food security of conflict affected households in RFSP operational counties by September 2020.

CRS implements the program as the lead in a consortium with Save the Children (SC). The consortium partners implement activities in four of CRS’s signature program areas: agriculture, emergency response and recovery, water and sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and microfinance. The RFSP is a follow up program to the five-year Jonglei Food Security Program (JFSP) and was awarded non-competitively to CRS by USAID FFP started in February 2017 and running until September 2020. The consortium partners implement the program directly in Greater Jonglei, in close collaboration with state and county level government stakeholders.

Job summary

The Agriculture & Agro-enterprise Program Manager is a post based at the Program and Operational Coordination Unit (POCU) for RFSP in Bor and reports directly to the Livelihoods Team Leader. The post provides technical guidance and oversight of the implementation of agriculture activities. The post plans and leads activities to stimulate behavior change in farmer producer groups and farmer cooperatives on a range of farming practices (land preparation, cultivation, using new crop varieties, harvesting, post-harvest technologies and seed storage and selection etc.) to increase food production and improve livelihood recovery. The post oversees, executes and coordinates agronomic and farming system activities to enhance sustainable seed system, improved crop production through farmer field schools (FFS), irrigation agronomy and soil management, harvest and post-harvest handling technologies.

The post is also responsible for leading and supervising value chain development activities for selected priority crops, create market opportunities and marketing, facilitate access to finance through savings and internal lending community (SILC) groups. The post provides overall technical supervision, training and mentoring to agricultural field extension agents (FEA) seconded from state governments to the program.

The post holder plans and coordinates closely with the other program sectors (Livestock & Fisheries, DRR & Resilience, WASH, Nutrition, Adult Learning, Social Cohesion), to ensure program integration, synergy for optimum impact in all the operational areas of the program for the consortium partners to achieve the targets and outcomes. The post holder plans and coordinates jointly with the RFSP Field Area Coordinators at county level to plan, implement, monitor and evaluate and report on field-based activities in the sector.

Specific responsibilities

Program management

  • Oversee regular activities of agriculture and agro-enterprise teams based in six counties;
  • Lead the planning of agronomic, farming, and extension program activities in six counties with producer groups. Set quality performance targets ensuring adherence to technical standards, best practices in behavior change for producer groups and donor guidelines;
  • Ensure that all RFSP staff, FEAs and stakeholder are trained in accordance with RFSP’s objectives, especially through the adaptation and adoption of FFS and local farming systems;
  • Undertake periodic review of agricultural strategies and activities of the RFSP program, with support from the Livelihoods Team Leader and other sectors;
  • Participate in FSL cluster monthly coordination meetings at State level representing the program;
  • Provide leadership to and mentoring for FEAs and agriculture staff and stakeholder agronomists;
  • Provide technical supervision to RFSP field teams and FEAs to ensure efficient and quality implementation of project activities.
  • Mentor and coach national staff, assisting them to develop performance and development plans in line with the CRS/SS Performance Management System;
  • Work closely with project staff to develop annual, quarterly, and monthly work plans and achieve identified targets.
  • Proactively seek and promote appropriate training opportunities for staff.

Agricultural extension, agronomy and farming systems

  • Provide overall strategic guidance on agronomic, small scale irrigation, farming system, seed system and demonstration practices to achieve the intended food security objectives;
  • Guide agriculture project officers and FEAs in the multiplication of quality seeds;
  • Lead seed system security assessments and design contextualized evidential recommendations for multiplication;
  • Provide evidence-based recommendation to the farmers on optimal crop characteristics (eg drought tolerant, high yielding seeds, disease resistance, adaptation to soils and nutritional value:
  • Regularly assess staff and FEA training needs and provide training and guidance to meet gaps;
  • Provide technical support to seed producer groups in the production of high quality crop seed and facilitate local seed certification and inspection processes, market linkages and strengthening of producer capacity;
  • Build the capacity of farmer producer groups and cooperatives on improved, sustainable and cost-effective postharvest handling and storage practices
  • Coordinate state level FSL actors to implement effective strategies for the control of fall army worm (FAW) across RFSP operational locations;

Agro-enterprise, value chain development and access to finance

  • Plan and oversee institutional capacity building of producer groups, including communication, group organization, accountability and management of group assets and resources;
  • Develop and organize training for RFSP program staff and FEAs on producer group institutional strengthening and agro-enterprise;
  • Develop framework and protocol for graduating producer groups towards sustainable operation;
  • Identify the routes to formal registration within the state government (CBO, cooperative, small business etc.) and provide training and guidance to the consortium and to producer groups on practical steps to formal registration, as appropriate;
  • Plan and implementation training in business and agro-enterprise for men, women and youth within the producer groups;
  • Work with the program technical leads and county area coordinators to identify and develop profitable value chains;
  • Conduct value chain assessment and agro-enterprise potential mapping to develop an intervention plan in RFSP operational areas;
  • Identify value chains and market opportunities which are particularly accessible by women and develop training and other capacity development geared to maximise the participation by women;
  • Assess the capacities of agro-vet private sector suppliers and develop program for institutional capacity building to support RFSP’s strategic objectives;
  • Work with other RFSP sector leads to design, plan and implement an agro-enterprise intervention, including mobilization, group formation, savings, producer group institutional building, value chain identification and marketing, access to loans, business planning etc.
  • Support the development of savings and internal lending within producer groups and direct them towards the institutionalization of the SILC model as appropriate;
  • Provide technical guidance and facilitate the transition of SILC field agents to private service providers (PSP) to ensure sustainability of outcomes;
  • Support the development of market access and financial understanding amongst producer groups by the introduction of the SILC model, as appropriate in communities;
  • Participate with other technical leads in the setting of targets and indicators for SILC programs;
  • Oversee regular monitoring on SILC group performance using the CRS Management Information System (MIS) at POCU and field level;
  • Conduct regular evaluations of the SILC, agro-enterprise and institutional capacity building components and design appropriate tools to do so as well as participate in overall program reviews and evaluations.

Program integration and cross-cutting themes

  • Plan and implement the sequencing, layering and integration of activities at field level with program sectors in livestock, DRR, WASH, nutrition, social cohesion and adult learning;
  • Ensure at least 40% participation of women in sector activities and inclusion of women in decision-making on all interventions;
  • Coordinate with other program sectors to identify and implement agricultural livelihood activities targeting rural unemployed youth;
  • Facilitate the participation of producer groups and SILC in adult learning in literacy and numeracy;
  • Coordinate with the nutrition team to introduce varieties of crops with improved nutritional content;
  • Coordinate with WASH and DRR sectors to promote multiple uses of water and sustainable natural resources management;

MEAL and program documentation

  • Lead the compilation of field data and success stories to produce project reports (monthly quarterly, annual,) to comply with donor reporting requirements;
  • Coordinate with the other sectors and MEAL team to regularly compile and update ITT and IPTT;
  • Coordinate with FACs to ensure that agriculture achievement is regularly capture in the monthly ITT by the MEAL working groups,
  • Lead in the updating of the agriculture results in the program database;
  • Lead in identifying and documenting key learning from the sector and provide quarterly success stories for submission to the donor;

Agency-wide competencies (for all CRS Staff)

These are rooted in the mission, values and principles of CRS and used by each staff member to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.

  • Integrity
  • Accountability and Stewardship
  • Build Relationships
  • Develops Talent
  • Continuous Improvement and Innovation
  • Strategic Mindset

Program manager competencies

These are rooted in the mission, values and principles of CRS and used by each program manager to fulfill his or her responsibilities and to achieve the desired results.

1. Sets clear goals and manages toward them
2. Collaborates effectively with staff and stakeholders
3. Manages financial resources with integrity
4. Applies program quality standards to project design and organizational learning

Supervision and coaching/mentoring responsibilities

The Agriculture and Agro-enterprise PM directly supervises agriculture, agro-enterprise and SILC staff based at POCU. The post also provides mentoring and technical supervision to all field-based agriculture agro-enterprise and SILC staff working at county level across the consortium.

Key working relationships

  • Internal: COP; DCOP; Livelihood team lead, and other sector technical leads, managers and Field Area Coordinators, Regional Technical Advisors;
  • External: Jonglei State government ministries and lower level administration officials and community leaders, local/international NGO offices, UN agencies,

Qualifications, experience and skills required

  • Master’s degree from a recognized university in agricultural sciences (agronomy, plant/crop production, agri-business or a related field); Additional experience may substitute for some education.
  • Minimum of 2 years of relevant field-based experience in coordinating or managing light to moderately complex projects required, preferably with an international NGO.
  • Demonstrated experience in practical, farm-based agronomic practices;
  • Sound management skills, including a minimum of five years project management experience in an international post- conflict setting, preferably in Africa;
  • Demonstrated ability to work closely and effectively with government structures in a developing country context;
  • At least 2 years’ experience in managing agriculture and value chain project and program;
  • Skill in managing partnerships and coordination across several sectors;
  • Practical experience of crop value chain development and local private sector strengthening and engagement;
  • Demonstrated experience in documenting and reporting of project achievement and outcomes;
  • Strong cross-cultural skills and a demonstrated ability to influence change without direct authority, and to work successfully with farmers and professionals;
  • Experience working on farm demonstration, trial and seed multiplication
  • Demonstrated experience in seed system and agronomic research.

Personal and professional requirements

  • Strong leadership and teamwork skills;
  • High level planning, coordination and information sharing capacities;
  • Excellent written and oral communication skills
  • Vision, and ability to think strategically and innovatively;
  • Ability to explain advanced topics simply and clearly;
  • Strong survey and research skills;
  • Ability to respond practically to challenging situations and tolerate basic field conditions in remote sites;
  • Good listening ability and strong interpersonal and diplomacy skills, and ability to be diplomatic when the situation demands

Mental and physical requirements

1. Ability and willingness to travel and work 40-60% of the time in field locations in Greater Jonglei;
2. The position is based full-time in Bor, South Sudan. This is a non-family post in an insecure location with limited amenities;

NOTE: Applications will be accepted until the position is filled.

About the Organization

Catholic Relief Services was founded in 1943 by the Catholic Bishops of the United States. Our mission is to assist the poor and disadvantaged, leveraging the teachings of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to alleviate human suffering, promote development of all people, and to foster charity and justice throughout the world. Working through local offices and an extensive network of partners, CRS operates on five continents and in 98 countries. We aid the poor by first providing direct assistance where needed, then encouraging people to help with their own development. Together, these approaches foster secure, productive, just communities that enable people to realize their potential. As the official international relief and development agency of the U.S. Catholic community, CRS is also committed to educating the people of the United States to fulfill their moral responsibilities toward our global brothers and sisters by helping the poor, working to remove the causes of poverty, and promoting social justice.

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