Farmer-to-Farmer Agronomist

  • El Carmen, Ecuador
  • Contract

Company Description

The National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA) is the trade association for cooperative businesses in the United States and an international development organization. NCBA CLUSA provides cross-sector education, technical assistance, and advocacy that helps co-ops thrive. For nearly 100 years, NCBA CLUSA has sought to advance and protect cooperative enterprises, highlighting the impact that cooperatives have in bettering the lives of individuals and families. In the last 60 years, NCBA CLUSA has worked in over 100 countries in the areas of food security, agricultural development, strengthening of communities and farmer organizations, community-based health, natural resources management, and empowerment of smallholder farmers, women, and youth. We currently work in 21 countries in Africa, Latin America, and Asia.

NCBA CLUSA’s USAID-funded Farmer-to-Farmer program sends American farmers and agribusiness professionals on 2-4 week agricultural development assignments, promoting sustainable growth and agricultural development worldwide.  Volunteer technical assistance from U.S. farmers, agribusinesses, cooperatives and universities helps smallholder farmers in developing countries improve productivity, access new markets and conserve environmental and natural resources.  During COVID-19 we have shifted to a hybrid volunteer model that affords US volunteers and in-country volunteers the opportunity to continue to provide technical assistance.   Compensation in the form of lodging, transportation, per diem, is provided by NCBA CLUSA.  No salary/consultant fees are paid. For more information visit NCBA CLUSA Farmer-to-Farmer.

Job Description

NCBA CLUSA is currently seeking 2 (1- remote US volunteer and 1- volunteer based in Ecuador) qualified Farmer-to-Farmer volunteer candidates for the position of Agronomist to support Asociación de Exportadores de Plátano del Ecuador (ASOEXPLA) based in El Carmen, Ecuador.

ASOEXPLA was established in 2015 to represent the plantain exporting sector of Ecuador. They now represent 80% of the plantain sector in Ecuador. ASOEXPLA’s aim is to benefit their members through social and environmental responsibility. The provide their farmers with access to lectures and trainings to raise awareness of pests and diseases among other good agricultural practices. ASOEXPLA’s clients are located throughout Europe, the United States, Africa, and South America.

Despite this success, ASOEXPLA is having problems with soil management. The quality and productivity of the plantain fruit is poor in El Carmen. Farmers produce 1/4th of the fruit other regions’ farmers produce. In addition, only half of their fruit is eligible for exporting due to its damages or stains. These issues are stemmed from poor fertilizing practices. Most organic farmers do not apply anything to their soil and other farmers accept the recommendations of fertilizer suppliers often receiving products they do not need. ASOEXPLA needs their farmers to understand basic soil nutrition principles and the volunteer can help them achieve this.

Duration: 2 Weeks (January – June 2022)

 

ESSENTIAL AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY:

  • Analyze and provide constructive feedback about the association's current techniques and methods for fertilization and soil nutrition. 
  • Develop comprehensive training on plant nutrition (including the importance of macro and micro elements). 
  • Teach participants how to obtain soil and plant samples for analysis. 
  • Basic interpretation of soil analysis. 

Qualifications

SUCCESSFUL CANDIDATES WILL HAVE THE FOLLOWING QUALIFICATIONS:

  • The volunteer should have experience in soil management.  
  • Experience with the Musaceae family is desired. 
  • Background working with agriculture associations is a plus.  
  • Degree in agronomy or agricultural engineering. 
  • Available for virtual communications with Host Organization, Staff and Co-volunteer
  • US candidate must be legally able to work in the U.S. without sponsorship
  • Advanced English language skills; reading, writing, speaking.

Additional Information

All your information will be kept confidential according to EEO guidelines.

All application materials must be submitted in English.

Only candidates selected for an interview will be contacted. No phone calls, please.

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.