Senior Banana Breeder Job Vacancy at IITA

Full Time
  • Full Time
  • Arusha

Website IITA

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

Read here information about a Senior Banana Breeder Job Vacancy at IITA


The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) invites applications for the internationally recruited position of Senior Banana Breeder.

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a not-for-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, we improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resource integrity. IITA is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Please visit for more information on IITA.

IITA focuses on breeding of six very important crops in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA): cassava, yam, banana/plantain, maize, soybean, and cowpea. These breeding programs have been reviewed using the Breeding Program Assessment Tool (BPAT) ( and have had extensive interactions with the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding (EiB) platform. As a result, crop specific and cross cutting (institutional) improvement plans have been developed along with product profiles and market segmentation analyses. Implementing these plans will be a central part of the Accelerating Breeding Initiative of the OneCGIAR with active involvement and close collaboration with other Initiatives within the Genetic Innovation Science Area and bilateral projects.

The successful candidate will design, execute, and manage the maize breeding program, while also coordinating a breeding network targeting East and Central African banana prioritized market segments. The successful candidate will work closely with local partner organizations, including CGIAR and NARES institutions, as well as other partners, to establish a crossing and evaluation program aimed at delivering superior varieties that support rapid adoption by farmers. This position reports to Banana Breeding Program Lead.

Position Responsibilities

·      Breeding Strategy: Formulating breeding strategies aimed at achieving specific goals, such as increasing yield, improving stress tolerance, or enhancing nutritional content.

·      Product Design and Development: Implement an effective breeding strategy to develop elite breeding material and a product advancement process to identify new candidate varieties for targeted market segments and product profiles.

·      Demand-led Breeding: Support and contribute to revision of market segment definition and product profile development and seed system activities in the region.

·      Germplasm Development: Working with NARS and selected partners, identify, obtain and develop appropriate germplasm to sustain the breeding program.

·      Coordination: Coordinate the development of a stage gate multilocation product performance testing strategy, data analysis and advancement process, which is aligned with target market segments, TPEs or Agro-ecologies.

·      Optimization of Breeding Processes and Operations: Ensure cost effective breeding operations, and standard operating procedures that deliver agreed quality and performance indicators.

·      Collaboration and Partnerships:

o  Develop strong partnerships with national public breeding programs to collaboratively identify critical germplasm, product needs and define complementary breeding objectives.

o  Enable and actively support the regional crop network to collaboratively plan and implement breeding activities that optimize the development of individual and shared network germplasm products and builds capacity to share knowledge, best practices, training etc.

·      Capacity Building: Provide training and mentorship to breeding staff, partners and scholars on breeding techniques, methodologies, data analysis and scientific communication.

·      Resource Mobilisation: Contribute to or lead the development of research proposals and other fundraising activities.

·      Publication: Lead or contribute to publication of research results in international, refereed journals.

·      Reporting: Produce monthly and annual reports.


·      The candidate should have a PhD in plant breeding, genetics, or a related field.

Core Competencies

·      At least 10 years of experience in plant breeding.

·      Evidence of significant management skills including change management and management of successful breeding teams.

·      Experience applying quantitative genetics principles, genomics and latest breeding technologies is desired.

·      Experience working in the tropics will be considered favourably.

·      Experience with polyploid and perennials is an asset.

·      Strong networking and facilitating skills with focus on enabling and empowering others to succeed.

·      Demonstrated ability to work in multicultural and diverse environments.

·      Excellent interpersonal, analytical and organizational skills.

·      Successful experience and commitment to inclusive research design and implementation.

·      Evidence of experience in resource mobilization.

·      Excellent written and oral communication skills.


The contract will be for an initial period of three years. IITA offers an internationally competitive remuneration package paid in U.S. Dollars.

Applications: Applications must include a cover letter which should address how the candidate’s background/experience relates to the specific duties of the position applied for, curriculum vitae, and names and addresses of three professional referees (which must include either the Head of the applicant’s current or previous organization or applicant’s direct Supervisor/Superior at his/her present or former place of work). The application should be addressed to the Head of People and Culture. Please complete our online application form using this link:

Closing Date: 28th July 2024

IITA is an equal-opportunity employer and is committed to building a diverse workforce, particularly welcoming applications from women.

While all applications will be acknowledged, please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

How to Apply :


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