Maize Seed Systems Specialist, Southern Africa

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The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT®, is not-for-profit agricultural research for development organization with partners in over 100 countries. Please refer to our website for more information:

CIMMYT is seeking a dynamic and results-oriented Maize Seed Systems Specialist for Southern Africa.The selected candidate will work as a member of CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program (GMP) and will work in close other relevant programs at CIMMYT.

The position will be based in Lusaka, Zambia.

Specific duties:

  • Oversee deployment of the seed of climate-resilient maize cultivars in maize-based systems in southern Africa, especially Zambia, Malawi, and Tanzania, in active collaboration with the relevant public and private sector institutions.
  • Expand and support the functions of institutions engaged in maize seed systems in the target countries in southern Africa, including private seed companies, public seed agencies, and NARES.
  • Provide technical support and strengthen the capacities of SME seed companies for designing and implementing seed road maps for targeted improved maize varieties, leveraging digital tools and other ICT innovations, undertaking market segmentation, territory planning, Quality Assessment/Quality Control (QA/QC), and gender- and socially inclusive deployment of improved seed.
  • Support seed systems work emanating from CIMMYT Southern Africa Maize Breeding Hub in terms of parental inbred lines and single-cross evaluation to generate and disseminate seed producibility data.
  • In collaboration with the CIMMYT Maize Seed Systems team in ESA, ensure that the seed company and NARES partners access high-quality seed (breeder’s, pre-basic and basic seed) of parental lines of CIMMYT-derived hybrids through appropriate channels and according to established germplasm sharing policies and procedures.
  • Foster partnerships with relevant public and private sector institutions for scaling certified seed production of CIMMYT-related maize varieties, and implementing field-based activities for stimulating demand.
  • Collect data on scaling of CIMMYT-derived maize varieties in southern Africa to determine the aggregate impact of CIMMYT’s maize germplasm, assess partner’s compliance with the diligence obligations related to hybrids provided under license, and identify success stories as well as areas for further improvement to inform CIMMYT’s breeding strategies and priorities.Work with partner organizations involved in harmonizing the seed sector in southern Africa.
  • Support the development of impactful CIMMYT maize products, including implementation of regional on-farm trials originating from the Southern Africa hub.
  • Document the work through high-quality technical reports to achieve project objectives and to ensure meeting the donor requirements.
  • Analyze existing and new data to generate market intelligence and get market feedback to support product design by the breeding and seed systems teams.
  • Proactively develop new project proposals in high-priority areas, and contribute to the visibility of CIMMYT’s research, partnership, and impacts.

Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • Sc. or PhD. in agriculture/agri-business, or similar field, with at least eight years of relevant experience in improving seed systems in a developing country context.
  • Demonstrated ability to excel in complex multidisciplinary research or development projects.
  • Track record of publications in recognized peer-reviewed journals.
  • Good partnership-building skills, including the ability to effectively interact with funding agencies and local partners.
  • A high degree of personal organization and ability to work under pressure.
  • Ability to work with different nationalities and disciplines as a member of a diverse work team.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Proactivity, Problem Solving and Decision-making, Negotiation, Conflict Resolution, and Teamwork.

The position is for an initial fixed term of three (3) years, after which further employment is subject to performance and the continued availability of funds. CIMMYT’s internationally competitive salary and benefits include housing allowance, car, comprehensive health, and life insurance, assistance for children’s education, paid vacation, annual home travel airfare, contribution to a retirement plan, and generous assistance with relocation shipment.

Candidates must apply online for IRS22153_Maize Seed Systems Specialist. Screening and follow-up of applications will begin on Thursday, 22nd December 2022. Applications must include a CV, with contact details (telephone and email address) of 3 work-related references along with the confirmation that we can contact them) and a cover letter. Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration. For further information on the selection process, please contact Yessica Castillo, at

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

This position will remain open until filled. 

CIMMYT is an equal-opportunity employer. It fosters a multicultural work environment that values gender equality, teamwork, and respect for diversity. Women are encouraged to apply.

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