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Formal Seed Production Advisor, Seeds of Life program

Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, East Timor
Location: Dili with travel to the districts.
Last Date: November 26, 2010

Duration: 3 years with possible extension of two years
Commencement date: 1 February, 2011
Closing date for applications: 26 November, 2010
Remuneration: A competitive package will be offered

Description of the organisation:
Seeds of Life (SoL) is a program within the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries (MAF) in East Timor (Timor Leste). The third phase of Seeds of Life (SoL III), 2011-2016, aims to improve food security in East Timor through increased productivity of food crops. The Governments of East Timor and Australia collaboratively fund the program. Australian funding is provided through the Australian Agency for International Development (AusAID) and the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) and is managed by ACIAR. The Centre for Legumes in Mediterranean Agriculture (CLIMA) within The University of Western Australia (UWA) coordinates the Australian funded activities.

SoL III will commence in February 2011 with a team consisting of more than 60 professional Timorese staff plus 9 international advisors. The Formal Seed Production Advisor (FSPA) will work closely with (i) the Director and staff of the National Directorate for Agriculture and Horticulture (NDA&H) involved in the production, processing and distribution of formal seed; and (ii) the District Extension Offices. Formal seed is produced to stringent specifications from foundation seed under Government supervision. The advisor will report to the SoL Australian Team Leader (ATL).

General description of position

The FSPA will:

• Take the lead in providing technical support to MAF for the implementation of Component 2 (Formal Seed Production and Distribution), ensuring it is implemented in accordance with the intention of the program design, plans and agreements;
• Establish and maintain a close primary counterpart relationship with the Director of the NDA&H, and through him work closely to build the capacity of the Directorate to manage the production, processing and distribution of formal seed of released varieties;
• Support the SoL ATL with the implementation of Component 4 activities (Seed System Management), as required.

Key tasks and responsibilities

The FSPA will:

• Establish a close working relationship with the Director of NDA&H as the primary counterpart, and actively guide and mentor staff of the Directorate involved in the implementation of Component 2 activities.
• Advise on the scope and implementation of formal seed production activities for true or botanical seed(e.g. maize and rice) in terms of required volumes (matched to demand projections taking into account the informal seed production activities supported under Component 3); production systems; preferred production locations; number of growers that need to be contracted; and contracting guidelines.
• Advise on the scope and implementation of activities for producing planting material of vegetatively propagated species (e.g. cassava and sweet potato) in terms of required volumes (matched to demand projections); number, size and location of nurseries to be established; production and distribution systems; and contracting guidelines.
• Provide technical advice on the requirement for and establishment of additional seed processing facilities, including location, capacity, technical specifications, and operating procedures.
• Design and oversee the implementation of quality assurance procedures covering the production, processing and distribution of formal seed and planting materials
• Advise on the distribution of formal seed and planting materials, including preferred recipients, distribution channels and distribution logistics.
• Identify the need for, plan and manage the implementation of targeted capacity building activities designed to support the professional development of MAF staff involved in the production, processing and distribution of formal seed and planting materials.
• Identify the need for and advise MAF on the development of new/ revised policies and institutional procedures/ systems for more effective and efficient implementation of formal seed production, processing and distribution activities.
• Plan, coordinate and monitor the activities of the 3 Regional Advisers insofar as they relate to implementation of Component 2 activities.
• Provide input as required for the development of improved variety technical and promotional materials.
• Assist the ATL with overarching activities designed to strengthen MAF’s capacity to manage the national seed system as required (i.e. Component 4 activities).
• Assist the ATL to establish and manage systems for planning, monitoring and evaluating program activities.

Skills and Experience

The successful candidate will have:


• A graduate university degree in agronomy and/or post-harvest handling.
• At least 5 years’ experience working in the seed industry, including long term implementation experience in a developing country.
• A sound understanding of the issues involved in producing and processing high quality seed in a developing country environment.
• Proven technical skills in the following areas:
o Seed production systems, including both true seed and vegetative propagation;
o Seed processing and handling, with an emphasis on use of technology that is appropriate in a developing country context;
o Implementation of quality assurance procedures covering seed production, processing and distribution;
o Development of national seed system planning and management systems; and
o Interfacing with extension support services for seed production and distribution activities.
• Demonstrated ability to establish strong working relationships with and coordinate a small team of national counterparts.
• Well developed skills in: inter-personal communication; report writing; numeracy; and networking.
• Basic computer literacy.
• Fluency in English.


• Experience in SE Asia or East Timor.
• Basic proficiency in either Tetun, Bahasa Indonesia or Portuguese.

Interested candidates can submit a short covering letter, CV, names of three referees and a document addressing the required skills and experience electronically to Dr Harry Nesbitt, Adjunct Professor, University of Western Australia ( ). Further enquiries can be addressed to Professor William Erskine, tel. (+61 8) 6488 1903. For further information on the SOL II program, SOL III design and Terms of Reference for advertised SOL III advisors positions see  .


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