Breeding Specialist

Job Posting : 18/Mar/2019
Closure Date : 01/Apr/2019, 9:59:00 PM
Job Type : Non-staff opportunities
Type of Requisition : Consultant / PSA (Personal Services Agreement)
Grade Level : N/A
Primary Location : Gambia-Banjul
Duration : 11 months
Post Number : N/A
IMPORTANT NOTICE : Please note that Closure Date and Time displayed above are based on your personal device date and time settings

FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender and nationality
People with disabilities are equally encouraged to apply
All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality
The incumbent may be re-assigned to different activities and/or duty stations
depending on the evolving needs of the Organization

Organizational Setting
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations through its Country Offices assists governments to develop policies, programmes and projects to address hunger and malnutrition, and provides technical support for the sustainable development of their agricultural, fisheries and forestry sectors. The activities carried out by the FAO Country Offices include the design and implementation of country-tailored field programmes, liaison with local donor representatives, and active public awareness-raising as well as other outreach activities related to FAO initiatives such as the World Food Day.
The project titled “Agriculture for Economic Growth Project” is funded by the European Union and aims to contribute to sustainable growth in the agricultural sector and reduce food insecurity and malnutrition, in order to create an enabling environment for improved economic growth. Agriculture is one of the main drivers of Gambia’s GDP growth. It employs 80.7 % of the rural working population. The sector typically contributes up to 31 % of GDP. This project aims to invest in a market stimulation approach by strengthening key market related infrastructural development and equipment supply to ensure that the required services are adequately equipped. A Senior Breeder is required to contribute to this project as a consultant.
Under the overall supervision of the FAO Representative and the technical guidance of the project’s Lead Technical Officer (LTO) and in close collaboration with the Project Coordination Unit (PCU), the International Consultant (Senior breeder) will contribute to (i) capacity building of the different entities in Gambia involved in the development and dissemination of improved crop varieties (ii) the production of early generation seeds (EGS) and (iii) adoption of new varieties by the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), National Seed Secretariat (NSS), Department of Agriculture (DoA) and National coordinator for Network of Farmer Organization in The Gambia (NACOFAG).
Reporting Lines
The Breeding Specialist reports to the FAO Representative in The Gambia
Tasks and responsibilities
  • Develop breeding plans for rice, groundnut and maize;
  • Develop breeding manual for rice, groundnut and maize;
  • Coordinate the teams of the three main breeding programmes (rice, groundnut and maize) and support breeder seed production;
  • Supervise research activities on the management of breeding programmes and genetic improvement in Gambia
  • Facilitate/ensure the capacity development of technical staff in breeding, especially on  basic principles in conventional breeding;
  • Ensure adequate arrangements are in place for variety maintenance and breeder seed production;
  • Ensure the breeding programme activities are well documented and managed through a database system adapted to breeding procedures;
  • Ensure timely publication of research/development results and improve NARI visibility;
  • Facilitate/ensure scientific mentorship for young researchers within the breeding programmes;
  • Strengthen partnership with international research institutions, National research institutions in the sub-region, the WAAPP centres of excellence working on rice, groundnut or maize research/development and with key farmers’ associations, the private sector and projects involved in seed and grain production in the Gambia;
  • Identify infrastructure and equipment required for the modernization of research in breeding and genetics of the three crops, especially molecular breeding and advise on their acquisition and utilization;
  • Assist local staff in writing competitive research proposals to be submitted for grant opportunities at national, regional and international levels;
  • Identify academic databases relevant for NARI area of work and advise on their access giving priority to open access databases and journals;
  • Support the NARI’s Crop Research Directorate in assessing needs and strengthening human, technical and infrastructural capacity in planning and production of the required quantities of quality breeder seeds;
  • Demonstrate to stakeholders (farmers, public and private sector) the benefits and options for profitably investing in variety development and quality seed production through demonstration plots and other appropriate mechanisms;
  • Collaborate with different actors of the value chain of each crop to ensure good product profiling is integrated in the selection process leading to increased demand for improved seeds.
Minimum Requirements
  • Advanced university degree in Agronomy, Agricultural or Biological Sciences, with specialization in plant breeding, crop improvement, crop genetics;
  • At least 10 years experience  managing a breeding programme on one of the three crops (rice, groundnut and maize) in public or private institution. Strong publication background in internationally recognized journals in the area of plant breeding and genetics;
  • Working knowledge of English (at least Level C) and good working knowledge in French (at least level B).
FAO Core Competencies
  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement
Technical/Functional Skills
  • Relevant experience in using a software or database for managing breeding programmes;
  • Experience in regional or international collaborative breeding programmes;
  • Experience in molecular breeding.
  • Field experience, preferably in developing countries;
  • Proven experience in managing a breeding team and mentoring young scientists in developing countries;
  • Proven experience in resource mobilization for research activities.