Plantation & Sustainability Lead at NEI Ltd

Plantation & Sustainability Lead at NEI Ltd

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Natural Extracts Industries Ltd (NEI), a start-up social enterprise, is pioneering the sustainable, natural flavour manufacturing industry in Tanzania, starting with vanilla and other flavour extracts. The company works in all areas from cultivation, to post-harvest processing, value-add manufacturing and international sales and marketing. The value chain currently integrates over 3,500 farmers from Kilimanjaro, Kagera, Arusha and Morogoro regions, and through this sourcing model NEI aims to deliver long-term, sustainable income for each smallholder household. Current products include natural flavours, such as liquid extracts from vanilla, orange, cacao and coffee, and solid flavours like gourmet-grade bourbon vanilla pods, cocoa powder and nibs. The company was recently awarded the Nestle Creating Shared Value Prize, the Africa Enterprise Challenge Fund award, and has secured long term funding from international impact investors. It is embarking on a high growth trajectory, particularly by expanding its value chain, to reach over 10,000 farmers, and establishing a Vanilla Centre of Excellence, including a 150+ acre intercropped plantation and nursery.

The Plantation & Sustainability Lead will be responsible for the following activities:
• Overseeing all aspects of plantation management, particularly in regards to the vanilla crop; this will include:
o Managing all plantation labor (and their performance) and ensuring the security of the plantation;
o Coordinating the development of the plantation and related infrastructure;
o Establishing and running a nursery, and ensuring the successful propagation of vines within the plantation and to farmer out-growers;
o Ensuring the environmental and economic sustainability of the plantation (and farmer out-growers), including the development of financial and agronomic models, managing towards target harvest forecasts, and ensuring the quality and integrity of the harvest;
o Conducting trials and investigations of new vanilla varietals;
o Managing the training curriculum and development process for upskilling the local labor force and disseminating knowledge to relevant parties (e.g., staff, farmer champions, farmer out-growers, government extension officers) and related stakeholders, with a particular focus on youth development initiatives (e.g., through vocational training centers and academic institutions);
• Managing the regional farmer out-grower program (covering Kilimanjaro and Arusha), including supervising the relevant staff and related contractors (e.g., field officers, procurement agents, farmer champions, pollinators, etc.), ensuring cost-effective procurement of vanilla and other raw/input materials, and achieving targets (as set and approved by the board); further duties include:
o Adhering to, and improving upon, the standard field operations policies and procedures manual, the vanilla husbandry manual, and related documentation. Activities include training of trainers (farmer champions), farmer trainings, monitoring and problem solving on agronomic and operational challenges;
o Expanding the number of farmers in the out-grower scheme, in existing geographies and as feasible in other regions like Mbeya, Iringa, Tanga, Kagera and Morogoro;
o Ensuring an outstanding Company reputation and quality of service with farmers;
o Running farmer marketing campaigns to ensure NEI stays top of mind throughout the year and particularly leading to the harvest season;
o Managing a mobile-agriculture technology solution for smartphone-enabled extension team management;
o Ensuring the Company meets social impact indicators and targets, including farmers who sell to intermediate processors;
o Enforcing traceability systems and standards and, as the Company evolves, overseeing the implementation of international standards certification, e.g., EU/USDA organic, rainforest alliance, etc.;
• Liaising with relevant value chain stakeholders, e.g., government officials, farmer associations and processing groups, regulatory bodies (e.g., NEMC, Ward/District Councils), etc.;
• Conduct any other activities as may be required to ensure NEI’s success.
o For plantation and farmer out-grower topics, preparing for and following up on meetings of the Board of Directors and third parties;
o Assisting in the preparation of general paper work for submission to government entities, parastatal organizations, investors, donors and other parties;
o Furthering the company mission: to become a leading African manufacturer of premium natural flavour products for the specialty foods market, while providing sustainable, increased income for smallholder farmers;
o Adhering to and instituting the company values of Professionalism, Ambition and Teamwork;
Any other duties as may be required from time to time by your peers, the management team or the Directors.

• Bachelor’s degree or equivalent in Agronomy, Rural Development, or Agricultural Sciences, with a Master’s degree preferable;
• At least 10 years of experience in a managerial position, ideally with frequent interactions with executives, board members and/or investors;
• At least 5 years of experience in plantation and outgrower-based value chain management;
• Strong organisational and interpersonal skills, able to relate to multiple foreign cultures, and manage people effectively in difficult circumstances;
• Ability to negotiate effectively with 3rd parties, including government officials, contractors and farmer groups, following correct policies and procedures;
• Ability to communicate clearly and effectively, both oral and written, in English and ideally in Swahili;
• Highly skilled in computer productivity packages such as Microsoft Office, Google Apps and smartphone-based traceability systems;
• Demonstrated strong leadership, able to inspire and influence others, set their teams’ strategy and lead their work independently;
• A passion for social impact in the agriculture sector.

If you would like to apply for this role, please contact us at, including your CV and a brief message about your reasons for choosing our social enterprise.

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