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Producer Organization (PO) Specialist

Producer Organization (PO) Specialist

NCBA CLUSA is currently seeking three qualified candidates for the position of Producer Organization (PO) Specialist for an upcoming agricultural program in Malawi. S/he will lead a systematic identification and selection of Producer Organizations (POs) that will participate in an incubation process and develop commercially viable business plans. S/he will be experienced in supporting the commercialization of agriculture through farmer producer groups at the Primary level and Secondary/Marketing Cooperative level. S/he will have specialized skills in helping POs successfully develop and implement Business Plans with strong emphasis on improving PO governance resulting in greater aggregation of production, improved PO member services, higher product quality based on market needs/standards, and higher volumes of trade with agribusinesses. S/he will support program staff in developing and implementing Productive Alliance (PA) Strategies that foster the growth of business clusters, including POs, input suppliers, buyers, and financial institutions. This program will emphasize a Learning and Adapting approach. The candidate should be knowledgeable in improving PO governance, integrating smallholder farmers into value chains, and market development indicators, data collection, and M&E and supporting a learning agenda, in addition to being an experienced trainer and PO specialist. The positions will be based in rural areas of the South, Central and Northern regions.



  • Lead the incubation and selection of POs and the PO Business Plan development in coordination with other technical staff;
  • Design and deliver training sessions on PO Business Plans and PO governance (e.g. business management, logistics, production aggregation, and market specifications);
  • Improve PO business skills, management, and services to ensure farmer organization structures increase membership benefits, incomes and loyalty;
  • Strengthen PO decision-making and business operations working with their Boards, members, managers and staff and through their governance structures (e.g. Annual General Meeting, Board of Directors, and Supervisory Board/Committee);
  • Improve members’ ability to hold their leaders accountable and POs’ responsiveness to members’ needs through services, transparency, participation and inclusively;
  • In coordination with technical staff, identify and strengthen women and youth-led POs and their ability to integrate into value chains;
  • Work closely with Agribusiness Specialists in supporting market assessments, meetings between POs and buyers/inputs suppliers, and PO Business Plans that directly address market needs (e.g. product standards, food safety, certification, aggregation, logistics, transport, and other value chain needs identified);
  • Work closely with Financial Specialists to ensure that PO Business Plans and capitalization plans result in the mobilization of resources internally and externally (loans/grants);
  • Work closely with the M&E team to improve PO performance tracking (e.g. profits, dividends, and member services);
  • Support the identification of Productive Alliances (business clusters) that link POs with input suppliers, buyers and financial institutions;
  • Work with the program staff on interpreting results and presenting findings, recommendations, and lessons learned for publications, quarterly reports, program events/workshops, and when responding to periodic NCBA CLUSA HQ or donor requests.


  • Bachelor’s Degree, with a minimum of 5 years’ experience with donor funded agriculture programs and 6 years’ experience in helping farmer organizations commercialize agriculture;
  • Demonstrated understanding of PO governance, cooperative development, business planning, market analysis, and cost-benefit analysis (e.g. calculating costs, income and gross and liquid profits);
  • Experience in developing manuals, training and assisting POs in governance, internal organization, member relations, and productive capacity;
  • Experience in helping POs design, negotiate, and execute Business Plans, resulting in commercialized production;
  • Experience in improving PO recruitment, retention and member services (e.g. inputs, credit, crop aggregation, training, and other benefits), especially at the Secondary level;
  • Experience in strengthening social capital and internal organization of POs and the ability of PO members to engage in collective action to solve problems;
  • Experience in helping Primary Cooperatives form and register as Secondary Cooperatives;
  • Previous work involving the World Bank’s Environmental and Social Standards (ESS) with farmer organizations preferred;
  • Ability to work with people and willingness to support and train others;
  • Very high degree of social, political and cultural sensitivity;
  • Reporting writing and data analysis skills;
  • Strong written/oral communication;
  • Ability to travel to project sites nationwide.

NCBA CLUSA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer with a commitment to diversity.  All individuals, regardless of personal characteristics, are encouraged to apply; all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, political affiliation, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, disability, protected veteran status, genetic information, age, and legally protected characteristics for non-merit factors. 



To apply, please email your CV and cover letter indicating the position(s) and region(s) to which you are applying.


Applications will be accepted through the closing date of Friday, 27th March, 2020. Interviews will be conducted on a rolling basis. Only those applicants who qualify will be contacted. No Phone Calls will be accepted. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.


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