Senior Agricultural Officer - Tenders Global

Senior Agricultural Officer

Food and Agriculture Organization




The Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP) enables the transition to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable plant production and protection through optimization and minimization. This requires the integration and harmonization of all appropriate crop production policies and practices to increase production in a sustainable manner in order to eradicate hunger while preserving the natural resources and environment for future use.

The Senior Agricultural Officer (Seed Systems – Team Leader) will lead the Seeds and Plant Genetic Resources Team (NSPGD), one of the six teams that make up NSP. NSPGD’s work contributes to NSP’s overarching goal of resilient and sustainable plant production and protection systems by supporting the enhanced timely access of farmers to affordable quality seeds and planting materials of the preferred, well-adapted, productive and nutritious crop varieties that are resistant to biotic and abiotic stresses. Working with countries and other partners to safeguard plant genetic resources for food and agriculture (PGRFA), to use them in breeding progressively superior crop varieties and to deliver the quality seeds and planting materials to farmers, are means to achieve this aim.

The post is located in the Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP) at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.

The Senior Agricultural Officer (Seed Systems – Team Leader) reports to the Director, NSP.

Seed sector development, which requires the strengthening of global, regional and national institutional and human capacities for diverse seed delivery mechanisms; crop varietal development and adoption; and the conservation of PGRFA, through normative mechanisms and operational interventions.

Leadership and technical policy expertise for the planning, development and implementation of divisional programmes of work, projects, products and services in accordance with the FAO Strategic Framework.

  • Plans, manages, or leads highly specialized or multidisciplinary teams; leads, coordinates and/or participates in Organization-wide, cross-divisional committees, project teams, and working groups, and/or provides technical leadership/secretariat services on technical networks and/or international technical policy and standard setting bodies.
  • Analyses global and country specific requirements and relevant technical issues to provide critical input into the FAO Strategic Framework, Programme of Work, work plans and the supporting budgets and/or resourcing strategies.
  • Implements and monitors programmes of work involving the development of approaches, evidence-based strategies, and related tools, methodologies and the supporting system/database, monitoring and reporting frameworks.
  • Conducts, designs and oversees research and analysis activities to support the development of technical standards, international instruments, innovation, technical reports, publications and/or on-going programme development as well as the provision of technical and/or policy advisory services.
  • Provides technical and policy advisory services to Member Nations and technical support to Decentralized Offices in the development and implementation of their programmes of work.
  • Leads and/or collaborates in, provides technical backstopping to, and ensures the quality/effectiveness of capacity development and knowledge sharing activities within Member Nations such as policy support, organizational development and individual learning events, including preparation of related information, learning materials and on-line tools.
  • Represents the Organization at international/inter-governmental meetings and conferences, advocates strategic partnerships, best practices and increased policy dialogue and develops and negotiates effective working relationships/consensus and agreements with international and national partners.
  • Leads or participates in resource mobilization activities in accordance with the FAO Corporate Strategy.

Specific Functions:

  • Contributes to the programmatic and administrative operation of the Division, with responsibility for the seed systems component of the Division’s work on sustainable crop production systems, which encompasses plant germplasm conservation, plant breeding and seed delivery.
  • Manages efficiently the team’s human and material resources to deliver high quality results and products that constitute an integral part of NSP’s contribution to the implementation of the Organization’s Strategic Framework, through leadership in strategic planning, organization of work, direction to staff and the judicious use of funds.
  • Provides oversight and quality assurance for the Organization’s work in Member Nations pertaining to the conservation of crop germplasm; plant breeding and genetics; and seed systems, including development and emergency modes of interventions.
  • Identifies and integrates context specific innovations in FAO’s support to its Members to enhance the efficiencies of plant breeding, e.g. genome editing and marker-aided selection; seed production, e.g. precision seed treatment and machine-readable codes; and of germplasm conservation and characterization, e.g. cryopreservation and molecular genotyping.
  • Leads the development of interventions that use the seed value chain to address Members development needs relating, in particular, to enhanced productivity; climate change adaptation and mitigation; nutrition; conservation of biodiversity; and input use-efficiency.
  • As the Secretary of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITWG-PGRFA) of FAO’s Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA), through which Members agree on common norms and practices for the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA, organizes its sessions and manages intersessional work, in particular relating to the implementation of, and reporting on, rolling global plans of action on the conservation and sustainable use of PGRFA and prepares  periodic reports as applicable.
  • Participates in FAO’s cross-sectoral initiatives, in particular relating to climate change, nutrition, biotechnology and biodiversity, and contributes expertise in crop improvement and sustainable crop production systems.

Candidates Will Be Assessed Against The Following :

Minimum Requirements:

  •  Advanced university degree in agronomy; plant breeding and genetics; seed science and technology; plant genetic resources; or related fields in crop and plant sciences.
  • Ten years of relevant experience in plant genetic resources, plant breeding and seed systems, involving the use of normative and operational approaches, while working at public or private sector institutions, international organizations and/or civil society in developing country contexts.
  • Working knowledge (proficient – level C) of English and limited knowledge (intermediate – level B) of another FAO official language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).

Technical/Functional Skills:

  • Work experience in more than one location or area of work, particularly in field positions, is essential.
  • Expertise and leadership: Expert knowledge and demonstrated leadership of high performing multidisciplinary teams in, the development and management of the seed sector, especially of food security crops in developing countries, encompassing the continuum of the conservation of crop genetic resources; crop varietal development and adoption; and seed delivery systems, and involving the use of efficiency-enhancing methods, such as biotechnologies, are required.
  • Research and innovation: Demonstrated leadership in result-oriented research and development related to, any or combination thereof, of the fields of the conservation of PGRFA; crop varietal development and adoption; and diverse seed systems, in particular using biotechnologies and other innovative approaches, is required.
  • Development focus: Leadership in the strengthening of institutional and human capacities, at global, regional and national levels, for the conservation of PGRFA; breeding and adoption of progressively superior crop varieties; and/or context-specific seed systems, in particular in developing country contexts, including through normative processes and technical support, is highly desirable.
  • Advocacy: Strong written and verbal communication skills, which are required for advocacy and to effectively transmit to, and receive information from, a variety of audiences, including policymakers, development partners, farmers and other stakeholders, are required.
  • Partnerships: Leadership in developing and fostering networks and synergistic partnerships with diverse partners, such as governments, the private sector, research and academia, civil society, philanthropies, and farmers and grassroots organizations, to pool and leverage resources, enhance impacts and promote innovation is highly desirable.






To help us track our recruitment effort, please indicate in your cover/motivation letter where ( you saw this job posting.

Job Location