22 Feb 2021

Business Advisor at Agriterra

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Piloting a new farmer-led business model in the Ngoma maize value chain 

Vacancy for ambitious and knowledgeable professionals with a passion for rural development
We are Agriterra, a Dutch agri-agency that provides business development services to ambitious cooperatives and farmer organizations in developing and emerging economies. We assist them with advice and training by locally based business advisors and by deploying practitioners from the Dutch, Spanish, and international farmer organizations and (cooperative) companies; the so-called AgriPool experts. We apply a three-track approach: We make cooperatives bankable and create real farmer-led companies, we improve extension services to farmer members and we enhance farmer-government dialogues. Our advisory practice covers the full range of services on management & organization, financial management, governance, business development, and lobby & advocacy.

Agriterra works from local offices in a large number of countries. We work with self-steering teams, so our employees are challenged to use every bit of determination, creativity, and strategy to achieve our compelling goals. Being a self-steering organization makes Agriterra an inspiring and challenging environment for professional growth and development. Agriterra is looking for a highly motivated business advisor to support the implementation of an out-growers service company model for organized soybean and maize farmers in Rwanda.

Out growers service company (OSC) model

The OSC model for maize and soybean in Rwanda is a pilot project that seeks to increase the soybean and maize productivity and supplies of raw materials for animal feed production. Several factories have been set-up in Rwanda to process animal feeds, but they all lack sufficient availability of domestic quality maize and soybean, forcing them to import their raw materials. Most maize and soya bean producers have organized themselves into cooperatives, but the efficiency of the cooperatives often requires further professionalization and upscaling. Having seen the situation, ENABEL initiated the Out grower Service Company model to provide solutions to challenges faced by both smallholder farmers and animal feed processors. Agriterra has designed a project, financed by ENABEL, to implement the model for a period of 3 years, starting in NGOMA district. Experiences and lessons learned from the pilot in NGOMA will be shared with cooperatives in Gisagara and Kirehe Districts in year 2 of the project.

Building on the farmer-led business expertise of Agriterra, the sustainability of the OSC will be based on basic economic principles: the economic interests of farmers and farmer cooperatives will be best served when they become and remain loyal members of the OSC, benefiting from better access to inputs, access to finance, insurance, extension services, and the farmer field school model. On the marketing side, the OSC will provide the members with the best marketing strategy, as the economies of scale and reduced post-harvest handling time will increase the access to remunerative formal markets. These services will be complemented by in-house expertise of logistics, post-harvest handling, and market linkages with reliable off-takers.

Position of business advisor

The Business Advisor will be based in the Agriterra Kigali office and will support the implementation of the Out-growers services company model in the maize and soybean value chains. The business advisor position requires an experienced person with multi-annual experience in cooperative development in the maize/soy sector, with a high degree of independence, integrity, and problem solving skills. The business advisor is expected to contribute to the overall management and implementation of project activities that include but are not limited to facilitate access to inputs, oversee farm operations on the field, provide business advisory services to the OSC and the member cooperatives and facilitate the access to market and finance. To ensure that the project objectives are achieved in full, the job holder will be required to establish a great cooperation and communication with OSC staff on the field, liaise directly with project partners (i.e. Enabel, RAB and local government), and other key maize and soybean value chain partners (farm inputs suppliers, financial institutions, crop insurance companies, off-takers and other services providers).


  • Provide business advisory services to the OSC and the affiliated cooperatives
  • Plan, implement and monitor project activities and progress
  • Support data collection for all project activities
  • Support the establishment of FFS
  • Create and maintain a good working relationship with all project partners, including the M&E expert, the OSC expert, the PHH&L expert, and OSC representatives.
  • Facilitate the access to finance of the OSC and the affiliated cooperatives
  • Facilitate the market access
  • Facilitate the training of farmers on post-harvest handling, storage, and logistics
  • Facilitate access to inputs
  • Provide advice to improve the extension services
  • Support the mobilization of farmers to grow soybeans
  • Facilitate the organization of meetings with partners
  • Prepare monthly and quarterly narrative and financial reports
  • Facilitate the drafting of the reports to Enabel and to the district
  • Work closely with district agricultural unit
  • Support the mobilization of cooperatives to join OSC
  • To carry out other relevant tasks as assigned by Agriterra Rwanda
  • Facilitate the training on governance and business development
  • Attending quarterly workshop to assess the achievement and progress of the project
  • Analyse the aggregation and sales achievement to provide adequate advice or recommendations

Expected results

  • Improved business performance of affiliated cooperatives

  • Professionally established and performing Outgrower Service Company, serving the economic interest of its members sustainably
  • Increased volumes of quality soybean and maize supplied to the animal feed industry
  • Increased number of farmers growing sobean
  • Increased area under soybean production
  • Improved access to farm inputs
  • Improved access to reliable and remunerative markets
  • Increased productivity of sobean and maize
  • Increased aggregation and sales volume
  • Reduced costs of production
  • Improved access to finance
  • Improved access to crop insurance
  • Great collaboration with all project partners
  • Improved governance and business development within cooperatives
  • Reduced post-harvest losses
  • Increased income for farmers

Education, experience, and skills

  • At least a Master’s degree in Agribusiness
  • At least 7 years’ experience in a comparable position in maize or soybean value chains
  • Demonstrable experience with the Farm to Market Alliance or comparable market coordination initiative in the maize sector
  • Demonstrable experience in coaching and coordinating field staff
  • Demonstrable experience in working for projects supporting smallholder farmers in maize and soybean value chains
  • Demonstrable experience in making assessments of farmer cooperatives
  • Strongly developed analytical abilities and commercial insight
  • Excellent communication and negotiation skills
  • A robust personality combined with the ability to work independently
  • Good command of Microsoft office and Agro-info.net
  • Good knowledge of two of the following languages: English and Kinyarwanda
  • Knowledge of the OSC model is an advantage

Performance evaluation

The advisor will work under the supervision of the country representative of Agriterra Rwanda and he will support and work closely with the Agriterra Business Advisors of the Rwanda and Great Lakes team. Evaluation of the performance of the advisor will be done by the country team, under the supervision of the manager agri-advice in The Netherlands, in order to establish areas of further development. A final evaluation will be done at the end of the contract period.

General conditions

  • The duty station is Kigali with frequent travels to the clients’ locations;
  • The advisor will be provided with a smartphone and laptop computer and access to Agriterra’s ICT network and systems. The smartphone and laptop computer will remain property of Agriterra and will be returned after the contract expires;
  • There will be close cooperation and communication with other business advisors of team Rwanda about planning and exchange of information.

Method of Application

 Are you interested in this position and do you fit the profile? Apply before the 10th of March 2021 with a cover letter, curriculum vitae, and academic certificate in one PDF file, by sending an e-mail to [email protected]  to the attention of Mr. Jasper Spikker, Agriterra Rwanda Country representative, with reference code ATRW-8706.

Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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