Agronomist – Oromia Seed Enterprise – Upscaling Access to Crowdsourced ‘Winner’ Seed Varieties


Oromia Seed Enterprise – Upscaling Access to Crowdsourced ‘Winner’ Seed Varieties

 ISSD Ethiopia aims to improve access to quality seed

The goal of ISSD Ethiopia is to improve female and male smallholder farmer access to and use of quality seed of new, improved and/or farmer preferred varieties to sustainably increase agricultural productivity. The project builds upon more than eight years of existing experiences in supporting the development of a vibrant, pluralistic and market oriented seed sector in Ethiopia. In its current (2016-2019), it will strengthen seed producers in three different seed systems (informal, intermediary and formal); enhance the performance of seed value chains within these seed systems; and contribute to the improvement of an enabling environment for seed value chains in the different seed systems. In addition, the project will strengthen the professional capacities for implementing the ISSD approach.

 ISSD Ethiopia is implemented in four regions of Ethiopia through multiple partnerships


The ISSD Ethiopia project is one of four projects united under the BENEFIT Partnership in Ethiopia. BENEFIT stands for Bilateral Ethiopia-Netherlands Effort for Food, Income and Trade. It is a partnership among four projects in the country, including ISSD Ethiopia, and with the Ethiopian agricultural sector itself, funded by the Dutch Government. ISSD Ethiopia is implemented by five regional ISSD units hosted at four universities (Bahir Dar, Haramaya, Hawassa and Mekelle) and Oromia Seed Enterprise in four regions of the country, supported by the ISSD-PMU and BENEFIT Partnership Coordination Unit (PCU), both located in Addis Ababa, and by Wageningen UR, the Netherlands. Regional implementing partners are: Bahir Dar University; Haramaya University and Oromia Seed Enterprise; Hawassa University; and Mekelle University, operating in Amhara region; Oromia region (divided into eastern and south & western, respectively); Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR); and Tigray region, in corresponding order of mention.

Vacancy for one full-time position with the Project on ‘Upscaling Access to Crowdsourced ‘Winner’ Seed Varieties and Embedding Crowdsourcing in Ethiopian Systems’ 

The position

The jobs advertised by this vacancy are for the position of Agronomist, for the duty stations hosted at the above-mentioned research partner. You will work in a small team of complementary expertise and support. You will be supervised by the Regional Manager on a regular basis. Additional expertise; guidance; project implementation strategy, monitoring and evaluation (M&E); and data management will be provided by the Addis Ababa-based Bioversity International Project Coordinator and Project Advisor from Wageningen University & Research (WUR) in the Netherlands. Research Partner activity planning will be conducted with the participation of Bioversity International and WUR. You will be an active participant in knowledge sharing and learning events with the teams based at other duty stations.

Key Responsibilities

  • Build the capacity of local seed businesses (LSBs) and/or community seed banks (CSBs) in selected woredas to (a) use the IT platform, and (b) build a biodiverse, climate-adapted, and nutritionally-rich seed product portfolio for smallholder farmers (SHFs) using crowdsourcing as the main tool to maintain portfolio quality and market relevance.
  • Strengthen the financial and managerial capacity of LSBs/CSBs to market high-quality seeds of the selected key food crops – durum wheat, chick pea and faba bean – to reach large number of SHFs by the project’s end.
  • Train key staff of (regional) agricultural research institutes (RARI) and selected woreda offices of agriculture on crowdsourcing so that they understand, endorse, and promote crowdsourcing with LSBs/CSBs as a key approach to maintaining a diverse, high-quality seed portfolio.
  • Integrate use of the digital IT platform in the seed system at RARI and selected woreda offices of agriculture to monitor seed flow (crops and varieties) and adoption.
  • Formalize and embed crowdsourcing in seed system with RARI and selected woreda offices of agriculture through developing MoUs.
  • Actively support LSBs/CSBs to contribute to project planning, monitoring and evaluation (M&E), and work with the project’s M&E team in data collection, management, analysis, and reporting.
  • Document and share experiences on seed multiplication, seed product development, crop and variety portfolio development, seed quality control, and variety and seed performance by LSBs/CSBs.

The project aim is to scale up use of crowdsourcing methodology[1] in the formal seed governance, policy, and market systems of Ethiopia, with the goal of creating sustainable access for hundreds of thousands of SHFs to a high-quality, nutritionally- and varietally diverse seed portfolio. We will improve seed systems at 2 critical stages:

  • Variety selection and testing (focusing on relevance of seed products to SHF needs and quality of seed portfolio) and
  • Distribution (multiplying crowdsourced seeds at scale to reach large number of farming households, particularly in Oromia region.

The kind of person we are looking for

An energetic and enthusiastic hard worker, who is a team player and who can also work independently. Good interpersonal communication, mediation and facilitation skills are required. Acting as a vital member of a dynamic team, staff members are expected to be flexible, reasonable, accommodating, and constructive and to actively contribute to making the working environment a happy one.

Report to: Regional Manager; and technically to Bioversity International Project Coordinator in Addis Ababa and to Project Advisor at WCDI, the Netherlands


The gross salary for the position is 27,000.00 ETB per month including all benefits and contributions. 

Experience, knowledge, and skills required

  • Practical experience in building the capacity of LSBs/CSBs in seed multiplication and quality control in relevant agro ecologies to the selected sites of the project is a prerequisite for this position. Having an existing professional network in the seed sector is a great asset in your favour. Demonstrated understanding and experience with Tricot/crowdsourcing, the concepts of local seed business (LSB) and community seed banks (CSBs), and the programme on Integrated Seed Sector Development in Ethiopia (ISSD Ethiopia) will be to your advantage.

The Agronomist should have knowledge, experience, and skills in:

  • Agronomy and crop improvement and their practical application in the multiplication of quality seed of crowdsourced winner varieties;
  • Specific knowledge on the agronomy of cereals and pulses, specifically durum wheat, chick pea and faba bean;
  • Good agronomic practices of seed multiplication (land selection, preparation and inspection; soil fertility management; pest and disease management/crop protection; pre-and post-harvest techniques in the management of seed quality);
  • Knowledge on the standards, procedures and organization of internal seed quality control and institutions of external seed quality assurance in Ethiopia and its regional states;
  • Assisting LSBs/CSBs and research and extension services in conducting crowdsourcing and the selecting winner varieties for seed multiplication;
  • Building strong relationships between LSBs/CSBs and relevant input and service providers, and with regulatory agencies in particular;
  • Building partnerships between LSBs/CSBs and research and extension services for the upscaling and institutionalization of crowdsourcing and crowdsourced winner varieties;
  • Working with and changing the mindsets of a range of stakeholders to facilitate to achieve this outcome, in part also by organizing meetings, workshops, and forums for experience sharing and learning;
  • Training, coaching, advising, motivating, and facilitating collaboration of farmers, researchers, extension workers and other entrepreneurs and professionals;
  • Planning, monitoring, reporting and working systematically.

Applicants must satisfy at least all of the following minimum requirements:

  • Masters (MSc) degree in agronomy, seed science and technology, plant breeding, or a related field;
  • A minimum of three years professional experience in related fields of work;
  • Documented proof of educational training and professional experience, along with the names and contact details for at least two referees with whom you’ve worked in the past three years;
  • Proficiency in written and spoken English, in addition to Afan Oromo
  • Proficiency in Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint packages.



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