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    By George Munene

    1.

    Position: Milk Procurement & Extention Manager Based

    Location: Kiambu County

    Recruiter / Employer: Kiambaa Dairy Farmers Co-operative Society Limited

    Salary: Sh45,000 gross 

    About the position: Provide the required support to drive an effective service delivery to both active and non-active farmers in order to achieve high quantity and quality on-farm productivity, and grow delivery of milk to the factory.

    Responsibilities: 

    • Build strong and loyal raw milk supply base from the farmers in the Society’s catchment areas.
    • Monitor and continuously grow milk volumes delivered to Society, and raise any concerns for timely interventions.
    • Offer extension services to the Society’s dairies farmers.
    • Develop and implement strategies on how to reactivate dormant farmers and onboard new farmers.
    • Advice the Management and the Board on ways of improving members’ services and members commitment.
    • Lead the extension department in developing, implementing and conducting comprehensive and effective farmers’ trainings, organized field visits and support services.
    • Coordinate with the Quality Control Officer on quality improvement of milk supplied by members and troubleshooting milk quality issues from the farmer level.
    • Take the lead in guiding the extension department to initiate new technologies for adoption by the Society’s dairy farmers e.g climate-smart dairy farming, use of ICT tools etc
    • Disseminate any relevant information to the members, especially on all services available to them.
    • Provide technical advice on design elements (extension model and relevant approaches) to strengthen and reform extension system.
    • Advice the Management and the Board on how to increase milk delivery by farmers.
    • Lead extension department in developing strategies to support the Society’s farmers to do dairy as a business; aspects of record keeping, reducing the cost of production etc
    • Structure work plan, targets, and reports for the extension department.
    • Coordinate with other relevant departments to support achievement of milk volumes and extension services to member.
    • Submit daily, weekly and monthly reports to the General Manager on activities done, results, challenges and recommendations.

    Related News: Agricultural extension juggles farmers’ enquiries in a demand-driven service

    Related News: Microsoft to deliver agri extension services through farmer’s phones

    Education/ Work Experience Requirements: 

    • Diploma or Degree in Animal Science, Animal Production, Agriculture extension, and education, or any other related field
    • Certificate of good conduct
    • 2 years valid driving license /Motorbike
    • With at least 3-4 years’ experience in Extension services

    How to apply: If you wish to apply for the position, please send your CV to BrighterMonday

    Application Deadline: 22nd November 2022 

     

    2.

    Position: Regional Agronomist

    Location: Nairobi

    Recruiter / Employer: KPLUSS Fertilizers Kenya Ltd

    Contract: Full time

    About the position: The core role of this position is to support and advise on the strategy execution in the emerging Eastern African market. This will be by developing products and markets with global agronomy expertise.

    Responsibilities: 

    • Develop market opportunities in Kenya, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Ruanda, Burundi (Sales & Market Development)
    • Market, product and competitor analysis – this includes pricing and product development
    • Coordination of Agronomy, Trials and Product development
    • Agronomical support in Eastern Africa with focus on K+S Downstream Development
    • Support in product registration and secure regulatory compliance in entire Eastern Africa territory
    • Identify and implement strategic partnerships with Agro Universities, private R&D sector in order to accelerate innovation aligned with K+S vision

    Education/ Work Experience Requirements:

    • Enthusiasm to work in a global leading fertilizer producing company
    • Degree in Agronomy, Horticulture, Plant Nutrition, Soil Science, Fertility Management or a related major is required.
    • Master of an Agriculture related program is a plus.
    • Minimum 5 years working experience
    • Bilingual English and a driver’s license required
    • Proven experience in MS office
    • Extensive negotiation and analytical skills

    How to apply: Career@K+S>

    Start Date: 1st January 2023

     

    3.

    Position: Technical Sales Agronomist

    Location: Nairobi

    Recruiter / Employer: KPLUSS Fertilizers Kenya Ltd

    Contract: Full time

    About the position: The core role of this position is to support and advise on the strategy execution in the emerging Eastern African market. This will be by strengthen the sales activities in Kenya combined with global agronomical expertise.

    Responsibilities:

    • Develop sales opportunities in Kenya (irrigated/field crops) - this includes:
      • new customer acquisition,
      • relationship management,
      • quoting/price management,
      • securing new orders and sampling
    • Market, product and competitor analysis – this includes pricing and product development
    • Support on agronomy advisory in Kenya with focus irrigated/field crops

    Education/ Work Experience Requirements:

    • Enthusiasm to work in a global leading fertilizer producing company
    • Degree in Agronomy, Horticulture, Plant Nutrition, Soil Science, Fertility Management or a related major is required.
    • Master of an Agriculture related program is a plus.
    • Min. 5 years working experience
    • Bilingual English and a driver’s license required
    • Proven experience in MS office
    • Extensive negotiation and analytical skills

    How to apply: Career@K+S>

    Start Date: 1st January 2023

    Related News: Digicow app connects over 20,000 farmers to extension workers

    4.

    Position: Postdoctoral Researcher in crop modeling for Regenerative Agriculture in East Africa

    Location: Helsinki, Finland

    Recruiter / Employer: University of Helsinki

    Contract: 24 months-Full Time

    Compensation: Salary based on the salary system of Finnish universities. The gross salary of a starting post-doctorate scientist is typically about 3 200 – 3 400 € per month.

    The University of Helsinki invests in the welfare of its employees by offering preventative occupational health services and general medical care. Read more about the employee benefits at the University of Helsinki and why the University of Helsinki is an excellent career choice: https://www.helsinki.fi/en/about-us/careers

    About the position: We are recruiting a Postdoctoral Researcher, who will be part of the international research team working on Regenerative agricultural systems for climate resilience in agroecological gradient in East Africa (REACT) project funded by Academy of Finland

    Responsibilities: 

    • The objective of the Postdoc project is to quantify crop water stress based on field measurements and evaluate feasible drip-irrigation strategies at smallholder farms in Kenya. 
    • You will set up small-scale drip irrigation test sites and analyze drip-irrigated and rainfed agricultural fields using a crop model. 

    University of Helsinki has a research station in the Taita Hills, Kenya (www.helsinki.fi/taita-research-station) which serves as a logistic base for the field studies in the area. The project involves longer working durations in Kenya.

    Education/ Work Experience Requirements:

    • PhD in a suitable field, such as agricultural sciences, hydrology, meteorology, geography, or equivalent. 
    • Successful candidate is assumed to have previous experience in ecosystem or agricultural modeling.
    • Demonstrated capacity in data analysis.
    • Experience in carrying out research independently and working in a team
    • Excellent written and oral communication skills in English
    • Good time management and project management skills 

    How to apply: THEunijobs

    Application deadline: 15 December 2022 (23.59 EET)

     

    5.

    Position: Postdoctoral Researcher in agricultural sciences for Regenerative Agriculture in East Africa

    Location: Helsinki, Finland

    Recruiter / Employer: University of Helsinki

    Contract: 38 months-Full Time

    Compensation: Salary based on the salary system of Finnish universities. The gross salary of a starting post-doctorate scientist is typically about 3 200 – 3 400 € per month

    About the position: We are recruiting a Postdoctoral Researcher, who will be part of the international research team working on Regenerative agricultural systems for climate resilience in agroecological gradient in East Africa (REACT) project funded by Academy of Finland.

    Responsibilities: 

    • Examine effects of cropping, tillage, and water management systems on the dynamics of water balance, crop growth and soil organic carbon. 
    • The chosen postdoctoral researcher will participate in field and laboratory measures, data processing and analyses, and preparing the scientific publications. 
    • She/he also interacts with local stakeholders to co-create regenerative agricultural systems and disseminate the results. 

    University of Helsinki has a research station in the Taita Hills, Kenya (www.helsinki.fi/taita-research-station) which serves as a logistic base for the field studies in the area. The project involves longer working durations in Kenya.

    Education/ Work Experience Requirements:

    • PhD in a suitable field, such as agricultural sciences, agricultural engineering, crop sciences, soils sciences, or equivalent. Successful candidate is assumed to have previous experience in agronomy, managing field experiments and automatic continuous measurements or carbon and nitrogen cycle studies. Experience in agricultural modeling is considered an advantage.
    • Experience in working with large datasets
    • Experience in carrying out research independently and working in a team
    • Good project and time management skills 
    • Good written and oral communication skills in English

    How to apply: THEunijobs

    Application deadline: 15 December 2022 (23.59 EET)

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    Picture 2 696x440

    By George Munene

    Agriculture and Climate Risk Enterprise Ltd (ACRE Africa), is spearheading smart insurance for Kenya's smallholder farmers through Picture Based Insurance (PBI) insurance. This will enable farmers to access insurance courtesy of images taken via satellite and smartphones. 

    According to Worldbank estimates only about 1 per cent of African farmers are insured. Despite the continent having 17 per cent of the world's pastures and arable land, data from the center for financial inclusion shows the value of premiums for agricultural insurance in Africa represents less than 0.7 per cent of the world's total.

    The PBI project offers farmers an affordable, innovative, inclusive, climate-smart agriculture solution. It's easy to join – farmers simply dial a USSD code and choose the type of crop they want to cover, after which they are automatically enrolled in the scheme.

    Farmers pay insurance premiums right before planting at the beginning of long and short rains. This enables crop monitoring in case of extreme weather events.

    Related News: The Sh50 scratchcard pioneering microsinsurance for Kenyan farmers

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    To support PBI uptake and enhance trust levels around insurance, ACRE Africa has also established a network of 'champion farmers in Kenya. These individuals are "key opinion shapers in the villages in which they reside," explained Waithaka. Two-thirds of champions are women – and it's been found that female champions are more likely to successfully recruit new women farmers to the PBI scheme.

    ACRE Africa's approach is proving successful. So far, the champion farmers have collected over 60,000 field images from over 7,300 farmers signed up for the PBI scheme. Of women farmers offered PBI, over half take it up – including Elizabeth, a 42-year-old mother of three living in Machakos County. "In 2021, she took out insurance cover by paying a premium of US$2," shared ACRE Africa’s Lilian Waithaka. Following a drought later that year, which saw many farmers lose their crops, "Elizabeth was able to get US$15 in compensation through her insurance – which she used to buy three bags of seeds to plant the following season."

    At the heart of the PBI approach lies imagery, with photographs taken of farmers' crops collected using satellites and smartphones – with champion farmers using an app called SeeItGrow to "take images of registered farmers' crops throughout the season, which are then used in the evaluation process at the end of the season," revealed Waithaka.

    The project which is supported by the International Development Centre (IDRC) in partnership with the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) has developed three different machine learning models to help process the images collected, classifying crops according to their growth stage, type of damage, and extent of the damage. At the end of the season, a panel of experts – comprising insurance companies and agronomists – evaluate the images to give them a 'score', which forms the basis from which farmers can make claims.

    Smallholder farmers, who make up 80 per cent of Kenyan farmers, traditionally have low crop yields. Climate change is not only increasing the incidence of pests and diseases but heightening the risk of more frequent extreme weather events, including drought and flooding. "Reports state farmers lose up to 90 per cent of their expected yield due to climate risks," stated Waithaka.

    Despite this, insurance,  which can help cushion smallholder farmers from crop and financial losses that occur as a result of climate change remain underutilised by these farmers.

    Related News: Cooperative insurer launches new project to cover over 250,000 Kenyan farmers with livestock microinsurance

    According to Waithaka, the three main prohibiting factors include: Affordability: traditional insurance schemes are too costly for smallholder farmers, Trust: a lack of trust in insurance products among farmers prevents them from securing insurance premiums and an Isolated approach: farmers often do not engage with other technologies and practices that can support resilience, such as the planting of stress-tolerant crop varieties, adherence to advisories, and implementing good agronomic practices.

    The team at ACRE Africa is taking action "to link smallholder farmers to risk mitigation and climate adaptation solutions so they can comfortably invest in their farms," revealed Waithaka.

    Farmers who take out PBI are also supported in other climate-related aspects. For instance, ACRE Africa continually provides farmers with training on how to protect their crops against climate shocks, connects them to companies that sell stress-tolerant seed varieties, and uses information services to encourage them to adhere to good agronomic practices and advisories. "By helping build the resilience of smallholder farmers," stated Waithaka, "we're supporting individuals but also trying to foster economic growth and food security."

     

    ACRE Africa: Ground Floor, Zep Re Place, Longonot Place, Upper Hill Nairobi

                          +254 719 249 615/ +255 767 200 012

                          This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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    Hybrid corn Yellow Springs Ohio 65 1 25

    By George Munene

    First introduced and adopted in the United States in 1996, Bt maize was among the first genetically modified (GM) crops grown commercially. These GM plants are not lab engineered but rather produce toxins gotten from the soil bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), hence the common name "Bt maize".

    “Bt maize is a maize variety that has been modified to have an inherent ability to fight back when crop pests come to feed on it. This has been developed by harnessing a very basic bacteria that is present in soil and is safe for humans and we have often taken it with our vegetables and salads without any problem,” said Dr. Joel Ochieng, Head of Agricultural Biotechnology at the University of Nairobi

    He further asserts that in the formulation of GMO crops scientists can never use an item that doesn't have a long documented history of safety.

    According to the Kenya Agriculture and Livestock Research Organisation (KALRO), Bt-maize protects itself against insect pests, specifically the stem borers species, and partially but significantly controls the fall armyworm (FAW). These are the most damaging maize pests capable of causing up to 100% yield loss if uncontrolled.

    Related News: Researchers find genetically modified maize safe for environment

    Related News: 11MT of GMO maize to be planted on 500,000 acres early next year

    These insect pests are very expensive to control, with farmers spending up to Sh12,000 per acre on pesticides alone. They significantly contribute to low maize productivity and production in Kenya which currently stands at 7-10 (90kg) bags against the potential of 22-35 bags per acre.

    “Bt maize protects itself not from all pests but specifically from the corn borer, so bees landing on that maize plant aren't affected. It is similar to a drug like Malaria Quill in humans: You'll take Malaria Quill, it doesn't harm you but rather hunts down a specific Plasmodium falciparum that causes malaria it doesn't even kill the bacteria in your tummy.

    I have found that people are under the misconception that any large maize cob, tomato fruit, or chicken that has been injected with hormones is GMO. GMOs strictly refer to crops that have been modified genetically,” Ochieng explained.

    In 40 years; from its research through to its adoption he said there hasn't been scientifically backed evidence of it being harmful to humans or the environment.

    Sub-Saharan Africa faces serious food security risks because its demand for cereals is expected to increase by 300 per cent by 2050. Maize is one of the most important food crops in the region, with over 300 million Africans depending on it as a staple food source.

    South Africa was the first African country to approve commercial cultivation of GM crops in 1997.

    Related News: Genetically modified Bt cotton pilot farmers report increased yields & profits

    According to a study by the Agricultural Research Council in South Africa and universities in the US and Belgium from 2001 to 2018, the country earned Sh84.6 billion ($694.7 million) from the cultivation of GM white maize.

    This has helped enhance food security in the country which produces an average of 4.6 million additional white maize rations annually and in 2022/2023 exported 3.2 million metric tons of maize. 

    It has also improved smallholder farmers' earnings significantly and reduced environmental damage by applying less maize crop pests.

    It has also meant less land can be dedicated to the cultivation of crops as the additional land size required to keep up with these improved rations would be 1,088 ha in 2001 to 217,788 ha in 2014 if farmers were sorely cultivating conventional hybrid maize varieties. 

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