Product Manager for Clonal Crops (Ref. No: DDG-R4D/PM/CC/12/19)
Background: The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) invites applications for
the internationally recruited position of Product Manager for Clonal Crops.
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 http://www.iita.org/ for
more information on IITA.
IITA has successful breeding programs on six very important crops in sub-Saharan Africa
(SSA): cassava, yam, banana/plantain, maize, soybean and cowpea. In recent years, these have
been reviewed based on the Breeding Program Assessment Tool (BPAT)
(https://plantbreedingassessment.org/). The programs have also had extensive interaction with
the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding (EiB) platform during which crop specific and cross cutting
(institutional) improvement plans have been developed along with product profiles and market
segmentation analyses. Implementing these plans will require a strong focus on step changes to
improve efficiency of breeding and delivery of increased rates of variety turnover and genetic
gain. This has been identified as a high priority by IITA. To achieve this, IITA seeks an
experienced product development manager (product placement lead) with expertise in strategic
product decision-making, including market analysis and the development of product concepts
that deliver unique value based on customer demands. Through effective communication and
dissemination of product and market information between clients and the product design teams,
this position is a key component of the IITA/NARS breeding program and will ensure a
continuous improvement process. It will also contribute to better targeting of variety
development and supply of high quality planting materials in a timely and effective manner. The
appointee will report to the Head of Breeding and work closely with leaders of the crop breeding
The Product Manager will play a cross-functional leadership role, most notably between
breeding teams, clients and market stakeholders. S/he will also be part of a network with other
product managers inside and outside IITA (coordinated by the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding
The Product Manager will:
• Serve as a liaison between the IITA and NARS or commercial breeding teams, overseeing
strategic decision making in the product development and delivery process.
• Provide market intelligence and help with prioritization of breeding objectives to meet
• Set the roadmap for product design and delivery, in addition to the overall product strategy.
• Work with seed system partners (in the public and private sectors) to develop a strong and
streamlined route to market for new varieties of cassava, yam, banana/plantain.
• Coordinate product design activities between IITA and NARS to confirm clear product
• Work to properly position products for greatest impact and uptake after release.
• Provide feedback to the breeders as to how closely products will satisfy market demand.
• Establish a continuous improvement cycle in order to better focus the breeding product
design on the needs of the market.
• Contribute to resource mobilization to support crop breeding.
The candidate should have a finalised MBA or agri-business related degree with proven product
development and marketing focus OR MS/Ph.D. degree in agricultural sciences with knowledge
of product development and/or seed systems.
This is a high-level specialist appointment requiring knowledge of breeding, seed systems and
the market context for clonal crops (especially cassava, yam and plantain/banana) in sub-Saharan
The appointee will have:
• At least 10 years of experience in a similar position
• Private sector or government seed system knowledge and a proven ability to collaborate
• Demonstrated ability in product design, management, marketing, seed scaling and
• Ability to manage a cross-functional team as part of the product design process and the
development of product profile contracts
• Demonstrated successful delivery of product management strategies and the development of
a plan of multiple product pipelines across a multi-cultural and multi-country environment
• Excellent interpersonal, communication and organizational skills
• Skills and experience of markets and seed systems for clonal crops to complement the
breeding and research expertise currently in place
• Experience in working with breeding programs
Duty Station: IITA Headquarters, Ibadan, Nigeria
General information: The contract will be for an initial period of three years. IITA offers an
internationally competitive remuneration package paid in US Dollars.
Applications: Applications must include covering letter which should address how the
candidate’s background/experience relates to the specific duties of the position applied for,
curriculum vitae, 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, Human Resources Service. Please complete our online application form
using this link: http://www.iita.org/careers
Closing Date: The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.
IITA is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from
Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted