Land O'Lakes Venture37: is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to helping communities around the world build economies by strengthening local agriculture, helping agribusinesses create jobs and linking farmers to markets. Since 1981, it has implemented over 315 integrated dairy, livestock and crops development programs in nearly 80 countries — creating lasting impact by linking farmers, businesses, and the public and private sector in local and global contexts. Land O’Lakes Venture37’s long-standing affiliation with Land O’Lakes, Inc. sets it apart. Land O’Lakes, Inc. is one of America’s largest farmer-owned cooperatives. It supports Land O’Lakes Venture37 project implementation with nearly 100 years of expertise in dairy, animal nutrition, crop inputs and agricultural insights and technologies. This gives Land O’Lakes Venture37 development projects a unique global view of agriculture, food, and the power of well-functioning market systems. Land O’Lakes, Inc. supports these efforts as part of its enterprise purpose of Feeding Human Progress at home and around the world.
Land O’Lakes Venture37 is the lead project implementer for the Nourishing Prosperity Alliance (NPA) project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The purpose of the NPA project is to establish commercially viable and sustainable forage markets that equitably strengthen the regional competitiveness of the dairy industries in Kenya and Ethiopia. Forage markets will be developed through the implementation of integrated activities that drive demand for and use of optimized forage varieties among small-scale dairy producers, as well as improve the supply of climate-smart forage rations that are marketed to small-scale producers. Activities also aim to strengthen the enabling environment for forage market development over the life of the project, from July 2023 to June 2028.
The Forage Service Development Officer is responsible for implementation of NPA activities related to capacity building of micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and the private sector across the forage value chain and increasing business skills of smallholder dairy and forage producers. The project will be implemented in key dairy counties in the Rift Valley and Central regions, which show the highest potential for forage market growth with additional sites and adaptive research plots in Western and Eastern regions.
The Forage Service Development Officer will collaborate with the private sector to build the capacity of different actors along the value chain, including smallholder dairy and forage producers and MSMEs servicing them, in strengthening their business skills. In addition, s/he will lead activities that enhance demand for quality forage among livestock producers, including developing pricing models and cost of production modeling. S/he will also facilitate the establishment of forage market linkages that lead to commercially viable and sustainable forage markets in the project’s target areas. S/he will also have a keen understanding of the policy/regulatory landscape impacting forage businesses, such as forage variety registration, and contribute to implementation of improved regulations. The Forage Service Development Specialist will also contribute to positive working relationships with different stakeholders, including farmer organizations, women’s groups, cooperatives, government bodies, and other development projects in the livestock sector so that it strengthens the enabling environment for forage market development.
• Design and implement demand building activities (e.g., develop training materials, lead training of trainer activities with businesses, design communication campaigns) for nutrient-dense cultivated forage by addressing the primary barriers to adoption, and emphasizing approaches to increase producer income from dairy by utilizing improved forage varieties.
• Develop and support implementation of business development models for forage production and input/service providers, identify opportunities for smallholder forage and dairy producers to enter local and regional forage markets and develop linkages with digital financial service providers to support business growth.
• Identify datasets relevant to the forage value chain, including agronomic, business intelligence, and early warning system information, to improve access and use of data in business decision-making.
• Provide training on business development skills to smallholder forage producers, aggregators, and MSMEs along the forage value chain.
• Facilitate forage market linkages among producers, collectors, retailers, and consumers.
• Collaborate closely with private sector partners for smooth implementation of activities
• Ensure integration of women- and youth-inclusive approaches in business development activities, working with the GESI Specialist to ensure inclusive program implementation.
• Map the enabling environment for forage in the country to identify in greater detail the key policy gaps and opportunities for forage market development.
• Support in ensuring improved regulations and implementation by regional and federal governments conducive to a thriving climate-smart forage market system.
• Travel to implementation areas as needed to support the above activities.
• Perform other duties assigned by the Program Director for the achievement of project objectives.
Reporting & Supervision:
• The Forage Service Development Officer will report to the National Coordinator, Kenya.
• Bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics, Agricultural Extension, Animal Production, Animal Nutrition, Forage Agronomy or other relevant field.
• At least four (4) years of relevant experience in the sector.
• Demonstrated expertise in business management in the livestock (dairy/cattle) industry, preferably with the private sector.
• Experience working with smallholder livestock producers in different agro-ecologies, with demonstrated interest and knowledge of forage.
• Experience in organizing and facilitating workshops, meetings, and roundtables with the business community.
• Demonstrated understanding of the policy/regulatory landscape impacting forage businesses, such as forage variety registration.
• Experience in working with different partners and farmers, particularly women and youth, demonstrating effective communication and professionalism with people of different backgrounds and viewpoints.
• Ability to collect and analyze data and information and draw valid conclusions.
• Good verbal and written communication skills in English.
• Demonstrated proficiency in Microsoft Office applications.
• This position is open to Kenyan nationals only and is compensated according to Venture37’s local compensation plan in Kenya. This position is not eligible for international compensation, allowances, or international benefits.