Project Officer – Agriculture Irrigation

SNV Zambia

Position Name: Project Officer – Agriculture Irrigation

Sector/Program: Agriculture

Position Location: Lusaka

Reports to: Project Manager, M-DIP

Responsible for: Establishment of suitable water harvesting and irrigation solutions

Key contacts:  WARMA, MOA, MoFL, DAZ, Dairy cooperatives, milk processors, input suppliers

Expected Start Date: 1st February 2017

Project background:

Climate change is altering rainfall patterns around the globe, causing extended periods of drought as well as higher risks of floods. Smallholder farmers in developing countries are particularly vulnerable to the increasing variability in water availability as they often depend on rain-fed agriculture for their livelihoods. At the same time global demand for water is increasing due to growing populations and changing consumption patterns, posing severe pressure on the world’s finite water resources. Water scarcity is already manifest in several areas, leading to drying rivers and falling groundwater tables. The FAO estimates that by 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, and two-thirds of the world population could be under stress conditions.

Zambia, like the rest of Southern Africa is affected by climate change and associated land degradation which is altering rainfall patterns, causing extended periods of drought as well as higher risks of floods. Extreme short-term variations result from periodically recurring El Niño weather anomalies. Expected long-term impacts from Climate Change due to global warming act in the same direction (SADC 2012,). These changes will alter the environment for farming and engender negative impacts on the success of currently applied farm operations as well as increase the stress on natural resources such as water, soils and vegetation. Most of the country’s farms, located in central, south, and southwestern Zambia, have become increasingly prone to drought and have received low, unpredictable, and unevenly distributed rainfall over the last 20 years. As agricultural and livestock production are largely dependent on rainfall, the country’s high rainfall variability and limited irrigation capacity makes farmers more vulnerable to climate change.

To contribute towards the reform of the water sector in Zambia, SNV with funding from GIZ will be implementing the “Intergrated Water Resource Management Project”. The aim of the project is to support small scale farmers in Magoye and Monze of the lower Kafue catchment to adopt better water use practices to contribute towards increased water security. The plan is to bridge dry spells in the rain season through improved water retention and use. Actions to improve land and water management practices will be implemented in order to boost yields on existing cropland. This includes a suite of on-farm practices where farmers manage natural resources in order to maintain and increase soil organic matter content, recycle soil nutrients, reduce rainfall runoff, and generate other benefits. These practices include agroforestry (where perennial trees and shrubs are planted intermixed with crops), conservation agriculture, rainwater harvesting, and beyond.

The project will ensure sustainable water products and services by promoting farmer-led and market-based smart water products and services. These will also help to reduce labour and inputs, mitigate weather and climate related risks, and promote off-season production opportunities. By bringing stakeholders together in ‘Water user Groups the project aims to facilitate a model that can be up-scaled for smart water innovation in Monze and Mazabuka districts.

Job Purpose

The Project officer will be responsible for coordinating the project work with government extension ministries such as ministry of agriculture and ministry of Fisheries and Livestock at district level. They will also work directly with the farmers on the ground on the formation of WUAs and the establishment of demonstrations on appropriate irrigation and water harvesting technologies.

Main Tasks and Responsibilities:

  • Compile and collate existing baseline data, including available climate scenarios and impact information in Monze and Mazabuka districts
  • In consultation with WARMA, GIZ and the government of Zambia identify vulnerable sites to climate related risks in relation to water shortages in the targeted areas of Monze and Mazabuka district
  • Prepare problem analysis and identify options to climate risk reduction and cost-effective water mobilisaton/ harvesting options for rainfed farming and pastoral livelihoods in targeted areas.
  • Identify, formulate and implement a range of methods and technologies of water harvesting to be applicable and cost-effective in the context of the Monze and Mazabuka district.
  • Bring best regional and international experience in cost-effecitve water harvesting methods that can be customised in the targeted districts, including traditional methods that are being practiced in the country;
  • In the context of technological review consider those that contribute to groundwater recharge and can secure additional water resource to the existing irrigation systems as well as outside of irrigation systems;
  • Identify service and financial mechanisms that can stimulate and develop water harvesting as an integral part of water sector; these mechanisms include micro loans, government grant programmes and investments; as well as necessary legal and regulatory framework and procedural arrangements that are necessary to develop for the sustainability of water harvesting sector;

Specific activities include the following:

    • Mobilize farmers at Cooperative and household levels
    • Organize and coordinate field level activities including trainings, field days, brokerage events e.t.c.
    • Conduct Regular follow ups to farmers at household and cooperative levels and participate in regular project reviews.
    • Develop annual project work plans; set milestones and benchmarks to achieve project objectives related to rain water harvesting and irrigation
    • Provide strategic technical assistance to the project manager and Farmers on rain water harvesting and micro irrigation
    • Facilitate and coordinate  field level activities in liaison with other project staff
    • Prepare and submit progress reports on project activities
    • Collaborate to facilitate regular participatory project self-review and planning by project groups.
    • Develop and promote best practice examples and ensure documentation of experience and lessons learned.
    • Visit project sites on regular basis for monitoring and proper execution of activities
    • Advise and assist in designing and updating appropriate animal records, maintain detailed records and up to date paperwork for all duties as per current operating formats
    • Write precisely and submit timely all the periodical reports required to produce as per agreed formats

Competencies, Capabilities and Attributes: (Skills/behavioral (Special Training or Competence) :

  • Familiarity with the water sector reforms in Zambia
  • Experience working with local communities
  • Ability to work independently
  • Ability to work under pressure and to deliver quality products that meet deadlines and requirements
  • Team player
  • Relationship builder
  • Ability to work with a wide range of actors from different backgrounds (smallholder farmers, private sector companies, government, and NGOs)

Academic & professional qualifications, Knowledge and Experience: (detail Knowledge (Education & Related Experience)

  • A BSc a subject related to water management, agriculture irrigation or integrated water resources management.
  • At least 3 years experience in implementing activities related to natural resources governance, namely water resource.
  • Knowledge of the Zambian water sector
  • Experience with private sector development
  • Excellent written English and ability with standard Office packages – Excel, Word, Powerpoint

Working environment: (The officer is expected to Spend 30% time in office and 70% field work) They will be based in the SNV Field office in Mazabuka, but will be required to travel extensively to project sites within Southern Province.

Applications should be send [email protected] and copy in [email protected] by 20th January, 2017.

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