Head of Farm Management 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: Head of Farm Management

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  • Ref. No: DDG-R4D/HFM/R/04/20
  • Location: Ibadan, Oyo


  • IITA has successful breeding programs on six very important crops in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA): cassava, yam, banana/plantain, maize, soybean and cowpea. In recent years, these have been reviewed based on the Breeding Program Assessment Tool (BPAT) (https://plantbreedingassessment.org/).
  • The programs have also had extensive interaction with the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding (EiB) platform during which crop-specific and cross-cutting (institutional) improvement plans have been developed along with product profiles and market segmentation analyses.
  • IITA plans to improve the quality of its field stations, farm operations, and plant growth facilities as part of the plans for, and in support of, improving crop breeding. To achieve this, an experienced manager with a strong background in research farm management and the ability to work closely with an Institutional Head of Breeding and breeding team leads is needed. This is a senior-level appointment and the appointee will report to the Director for West Africa.

Position Responsibilities

  • The Head of Farm Management will manage the research farms and plant growth facilities of IITA in support of activities of the Institute’s crop breeding programs.
  • S/he will have responsibility for all IITA research farms and plant growth facilities in sub-Saharan Africa, with 70% of his/her time in West Africa (especially at Ibadan, Ikenne and Kano stations in Nigeria) and 30% at IITA stations outside West Africa (e.g. in Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda). With support from station farm managers/superintendents and other staff, his/her activities will include the following:
  • Lead research farm teams in the implementation of field operations of breeding programs in collaboration with breeding team leads.
  • As lead for a Western Africa support network for field operations, develop a plan for running trials (at cost) for other CGIAR centres and national research programs and identify opportunities for sharing services with them.
  • Develop and implement improvement plans for irrigation and soil and pest management.
  • Ensure organization and regular maintenance and repair of farm machinery and equipment.
  • Ensure monitoring and control of farm operations efficiency.
  • Optimize procedures for material handling and workflow for seed processing and packaging.
  • Manage greenhouse equipment, fertigation, pest management, and environmental controls.
  • Define an investment plan for research farms and plant growth facilities in consultation with the head of breeding and breeding team leads.
  • Contribute to resource mobilization for upgrading farm infrastructure and equipment.
  • Manage the human and financial resources of the Research Farms Unit.
  • Develop the capacity of research farm staff and raise the quality of farm management at all sites, including increased mechanization of operations.
  • Establish a culture of continuous improvement of experimental stations and farm practices.
  • Promote a culture of maintaining healthy, safe and environmentally friendly stations.

Educational Qualifications

  • The candidate should have M.Sc in Agronomy or related field in Agriculture.

Core Competencies:

  • At least ten years’ experience in the management of research farms, preferably in support of crop breeding programs.
  • Ability to manage change in complex, multi-country operations.
  • Sound understanding of agronomy and proven experience in the management of soil fertility, irrigation systems, and mechanization.
  • Proficient in the use of software packages for managing projects and agricultural practices on research stations and farms.
  • Experience in the management of plant growth facilities.
  • Excellent work ethics and effective leadership, organizational, and communication skills.
  • Ability to adapt to longer work schedules when seasonally required and to operate under time pressure when needed.
  • Experience in research farm management in Africa will be an advantage.

General Information

  • The initial appointment will be for three years. IITA offers a competitive remuneration package paid in US dollars.

Method of Application
Interested applicant should forward their Applications include Covering Letter which should address how the candidate’s background/experience relates to the specific duties of the position applied for, Curriculum Vitae, names and addresses of three professional referees (which must include either the Head of the applicant’s current or previous organization or applicant’s direct Supervisor/Superior at his/her present or former place of work).

Click here to apply online

Application Closing Date
4th May, 2020.

Click here for more information (PDF)


  • The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.
  • IITA is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from women candidates.
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted


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