Millenium Villages Ghana Jobs: Tree Crops Specialist

Posted on :

21 Mar, 2011

Category :

Agricultural Jobs in Ghana

The Millennium Villages Project, (MVP) is a joint initiative of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, the UNDP, Millennium Promise (a private philanthropy) and the governments of African countries, including Ghana. The MVP adopts an integrated approach to help populations in severely deprived villages to break the cycle of extreme poverty and realize the Millennium Development Goals. Secotrs within which the MVP intervenes include agriculture, infrastructure, environments, health, education and business development among others. In Ghana, the MVP operates in the Amansie West District of the Ashanti Region, and works with a cluster of 30 contiguous villages with an estimated total population of 30,000 people

Job Description

Unit: Millennium Villages Project (MVP)
Location: Manso Nkwanta, Amansie West District – Ashanti Region

This position will report to the MVP Science Co-ordinator, under the overall supervision of the Team Leader

Job Summary:
The role of the Tree Crop Specialist is to provide technical advice and support to Cocoa and Oil Palm farmers, to improve crop productivity and increase incomes. The incumbent will also provide technical support and advice to tree crop farmers on all agricultural interventions required to achieve the Millennium Development Goals at the Community level

Key Duties and Responsibilities:
The Tree Crop Specialist will focus on perennial tree crops such as oil palm and cocoa, and to develop sustainable tree crop programmes with the primary goal of increasing the contribution of tree crops to farmers’ incomes and reduce poverty among smallholder farmers.


The TCS will also have increasing responsibility that cuts across action oriented research coordination, project management and technical support, resource mobilization and new programme development, and personnel management. The TCS will also support the cultivation of maize and other staples aimed at improving nutrition and food security

The specific responsibilities for the Tree Crop Specialist will include:
1. Provision of Technical Support and Guidance to Farmers:

The incumbent shall assist farmers to access improved planting materials, fertilizers and other farm imputs in a timely manner. She/he shall also work closely with the District Directorate of the Food and Agriculture and other relevant institutions to increase the coverage of agricultural extension services in the project area
2. Develop/Strengthen Farmer Cooperatives:
Work with the Business and Community Development Co-ordinators, to identify and develop farmer co-operatives based on the major tree crops and other staples. This will include training and certification, with the view to making them profitable business units, capable of attracting grants and loans
3. Build Partnerships with Relevant Research Institutions and NGOs:
The incumbent will be expected to build partnerships with renowned research institutions and NGOs, particularly in the tree crop sector, to offer training and advisory services to farmers, to improve productivity and production
4. Using research findings to address local problems in farming systems:
Review the impact of the research programmes in successfully addressing technical production constraints. Review processing technology research, including processing of by-products and varying scales of processing capacity and research into farming and livelihood systems for communities and households where trees contribute a significant part of household income. Pay particular attention to small-scale technology packages suitable for small-holders. Design and cost a research programme for scaling-up
5. Assess constraints on and opportunities in processing and marketing:
Review international and local dynamics for tree-crop commodities, particularly relationships between production and processing capacity, and local and international supply and demand for these commodities. Review and update the report on marketing and processing of oil palm for sustainable management systems for Tree Crops development. Prepare a similar analysis for other major tree-crop commodities
6. Social, Poverty and Environmental Analysis:
Analyse expected impact of project interventions on poor communities, indigenous peoples, gender, involuntary resettlement, other stakeholders (including intermediaries and non government organisations, national and local governments). Assess the social impact, and estimate the distribution of project effects to the poor to determine the poverty impact. Also assess the expected impact of the proposed project interventions on the environment
7. Initiate production of planting materials for the investment programme:
Facilitate the establishment of nurseries in strategic locations to form the basis for distribution of improved planting material. Design the management and distribution systems for improved planting material for inclusion as a project component
8. Assess capital requirements of smallholders and sources of credit:
Assess the financial requirement of smallholder farmers in tree-crop production, especially those associated with replanting with improved genetic materials. Examine household cash requirements during replanting and include investment and working capital requirements of alternative intensification and diversification options available to farmers. Identify credit needs of smallholders, review previous smallholder credit schemes, and identify appropriate options, sources and mechanisms for providing credit to smallholders
9. Assess infrastructure constraints:
In collaboration with the Infrastructure Co-ordinator, the incumbent will assess the current state of infrastructure, particularly farm access roads, in the individual communities. Estimates the extent and cost of establishing a satisfactory road system for tree-crop areas in the selected areas, as well as cost- recovery mechanisms for regular maintenance of roads
She/he will works with the Business Co-ordinator to identify and promote suitable motorized and non-motorized transport, to minimize the drudgery associated with the haulage of fresh palm fruits from farms to final collection points.
Required Skills or Experience

The suitable candidate must have a minimum qualification of a Master’s degree in agriculture, natural resource management, forestry or the social sciences. However, other study areas will be considered
Have a minimum of 5 years working experience in tree-crop commodities, and in multi-cultural environments
Must possess strong leadership skills and be a team player
Must possess excellent oral and written communication skills, and able to communicate in English and Twi
Must have the ability to network and interact with government agencies, NGOs, and private sector at senior country level
Experience of working in a multi-disciplinary organisation would be an advantage

How To Apply

Interested candidates should submit a cover letter and detailed CV by electronic mail to [email protected] and copy [email protected] Please include “Application for ‘Tree Crop Specialist in the subject of the email. Late applications will be rejected.

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