Program Manager, Commercialization of Biofortified Crops at the 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 are recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title:  Program Manager, Commercialization of Biofortified Crops

Ref: IITA-HR-NRS2020-006
Location: Ibadan, Oyo
Contract: 2-year renewable contract
Selected Crops: Cassava, Yam, Maize, Rice, Cashew

Successful candidate will among other things perform the following duties:

Supply and demand stimulation for biofortified seeds and processed foods:

  • Identify and engage promising SMEs with high willingness to invest in the biofortified seed sector, with focus on credible farmer associations/groups and aggregators
  • Identify and strengthen capacities of SMEs in processing and value addition to become primary off-takers of vitamin A cassava and maize
  • Work with breeders and seed producers to identify and deploy best seed varieties for multiplication and production by location
  • Facilitate the establishment and strengthening of seed sales outlets to ensure increased farmer access to biofortified seeds
  • Work with relevant regulatory agencies to ensure quality control of processed products to engender consumer trust and ensure repeated purchased by consumers
  • Work with relevant teams to map existing and new product distribution outlets and link information to aggregator and distributor networks
  • Define and analyze systems that are of major importance in developing the markets for biofortified seeds, crops and foods
  • Identify and engage already tested and committed extension agents/systems to address capacity gaps among seed producers and aggregator networks
  • Evaluate in detail all existing assessments and literature on consumer demand for gari and fufu in the chosen geography to determine more context-specific opportunities to strengthen demand
  • Support the identification and hiring of a mix of creative agencies to design and implement campaigns building on opportunities already identified and if necessary, from new insight generation activities
  • Support the development of a strategy/plan for managing communications to counter public (and government) perceptions of linkages to GM crops
  • Convene/attend events to announce and publicize the partnership and the project and host focus group discussions to review and understand consumers’ perceptions of campaigns
  • Strengthen the Nutritious Food Platform as a Biofortification Alliance to further develop and refine an approach to consumer engagement and awareness-raising
  • Monitor biofortified crops and food value chains to identify market failures and pressure points, and ways to make the chain more functional and efficient
  • Carry out regular assessment of biofortified crops and foods value chain including market development opportunities, market prices, demand and supply interactions
  • Work with the MELA Specialist to design and implement a robust data collection plan covering all value chain activities and actors including monitoring of market price, product quality, demand and supply linkages and differentials
  • Work with the MELA Officer to regularly review scope and targets for operational planning in alignment with the program Theory of Change (ToC), monitoring framework, results from pathway and indicators
  • Participate in results measurements including baseline studies, periodic evaluative studies and impact assessments

Advocacy and policy engagement:

  • Define policy constraints that hinder the commercialization of VAC and VAM building on assessment reports
  • Map and engage key influencers within government (executive and legislative, national ad state) and key government officials in the key ministries (FMARD, FMITI, Health, and Finance)
  • Convene/attend events to announce the partnership and the project to key stakeholders and set out the policy influencing agenda
  • Create and implement the plan for engagement with influencers including key messages to help build a coherent narrative around VAC and VAM across all of government policy areas

Catalytic financing for seed and processed food SMEs:

  • Identify companies (input supply and processing) in the growth phase and carry out in-depth financing needs assessment to understand and characterize their key constraints
  • Develop a tailored business support/accelerator package to support a priority set of these businesses for investor readiness
  • Connect promising companies to facilitate B2B linkages for the supply of inputs, processing, and offtake to build the case for repayable finance (through the Biofortification Alliance engine)
  • Support suitable companies to pitch to the Nutritious Foods Financing Facility or similar blended options focused on nutritious and safe foods
  • Perform other duties assigned by the Country Manager


  • Master’s degree in Business Administration, Agricultural Economics, Procurement and Supply Chain Management, Marketing, General Agriculture, or related discipline with minimum of six (6) years’ work experience in activities related to agricultural commodities and rural development

The ideal candidate should have:

  • Proven knowledge of agricultural value chain players (especially cassava and maize) and support service institutions in Nigeria
  • Understanding and interest in how markets and value chains work
  • Strong project management expertise, exposure to implementing technical assistance projects, and ability to bring together sector stakeholders
  • High degree of motivation, initiative, independence, reliability, adaptability, and professional maturity
  • Strong commitment to gender-sensitive, pro-poor development work and an ability to work in a multi-disciplinary and multi-national team
  • Strong interpersonal/people management skills and excellent oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent problem solving, analytical skills, networking, and relationship-building skills
  • Working experience with DFID, BMGF, and USAID funded programs
  • Experience in working in Northern Nigeria and fluency in the Hausa language is added advantage

We offer highly competitive salary with equally attractive benefits and excellent working conditions in a pleasant campus environment.

Application Closing Date
29th January, 2021.

How to Apply
Interested and qualified candidates shouldapply to the Head of Human Resources, by submitting a copy of their Curriculum Vitae (including the selected crop he/she is applying for), names and addresses of three referees.
Click here to apply online

Click here for more information (PDF)


  • Only selected candidates will be contacted and then asked to submit a financial offer to be negotiated with IITA.
  • IITA is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from women candidates.
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