Seed Systems Specialist

TThe Pacific Community (SPC) invites applications for the position of Seed Systems Specialist located at its regional office in Suva, Fiji.


The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 26 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our organisation works across more than 20 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

The Land Resources Division (LRD) provides advice, technical assistance, research and training support to Pacific Island countries and territories on all aspects of agriculture and forestry. This includes plant protection, conservation, plant genetic resources, animal health and production, agroforestry, biosecurity and trade facilitation, and sustainable systems for agriculture, forestry and land management. This work has two objectives: improved food and nutritional security, and resilient communities. The division's services are provided through seven technical/thematic teams: Animal Health and Production; Plant Health; Biosecurity and Trade Facilitation; Forest and Agriculture Diversification; Crop Production and Extension; Genetic Resources; and Forests and Trees.

The role - Seed Systems Specialist is responsible for the provision of strategic and technical support for the development, implementation and operationalisation of an effective seed systems program, and will lead the management of the Pacific Seed for Life programme (PS4L). This role will establish a strong functional link with the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) to ensure conservation and use of crop genetic resources are intrinsically connected. The Specialist will also be operationalising SPC's strategy to enhance the Pacific Community's adaptation to climate change and reduce the impact of the burden of non-communicable diseases by increasing of choice in healthy food systems to the Pacific region.

The key responsibilities of the role include:

  • Strategic and policy advice
  • Scientific and technical advice
  • Coordination and partnership support
  • Finance and reporting

For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the job description provided.

Key selection criteria


  • Post-graduate degree in a relevant field such as agriculture, economics, development studies, climate change or forestry

Knowledge and experience

  • At least 10 years of experience managing donor funded programme/projects related to agriculture development in developing countries
  • Knowledge and experience on seed systems and seed development work

Essential skills

  • Budget management skills
  • Ability to build and maintain professional, client-focused relationships and mutually beneficial partnerships
  • Negotiation skills
  • Creative thinker with ability to take initiative

Language skills

  • Excellent English communication skills (oral and written)

Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness

  • Strong interpersonal skills
  • Ability to coordinate efficiently with multiple partners and staff in a multicultural, inclusive and equitable environment

Salary, terms and conditions

Approximate Start Date - August 2020

Contract Duration - Three years

Remuneration - The Seed Systems Specialist is a Band 11 position in SPC's 2020 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 3,015?3,769 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately FJD 8,986-11,233 (USD 4,161-5,202; EUR 3,709-4,636). An offer of appointment for an initial contract will normally be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration given to experience and qualifications. Progression within the salary scale will be based on annual performance reviews. Remuneration of expatriate SPC staff members is not subject to income tax in Fiji; Fiji nationals employed by SPC in Fiji will be subject to income tax.

Benefits for international employees based in Fiji - SPC provides a housing allowance of FJD 1,353-3,025 per month. Establishment and relocation grant, removal expenses, airfares, home leave, medical and life insurance and education allowances are available for eligible employees and their recognised dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave and 30 days of sick leave per annum, and access to SPC's Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution).

Languages - SPC's working languages are English and French.

Equal opportunity - SPC is an equal opportunity employer. Recruitment is based entirely on merit; in cases where two short-listed candidates are judged to be of equal rank by the selection committee, preference will be given to Pacific Island nationals.

Child protection - SPC is committed to child protection, irrespective of whether any specific area of work involves direct contact with children. SPC's Child Protection Policy is written in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Police clearance - Successful candidates will be required to provide a police clearance certificate.

Application procedure

Closing Date - 27 May 2020 - 11:45pm Fiji time

Applicants must apply online at

Hard copies of applications will not be accepted.

For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:

  • an updated resume
  • contact details for three professional referees
  • a cover letter detailing your skills, experience and interest in this position
  • responses to all screening questions

Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.

Applicants should not attach copies of qualifications or letters of reference. These documents may be requested at a later stage.

For international staff in Fiji, only one foreign national per family can be employed with an entity operating in Fiji at any one given time. The Pacific Community does not support dual spouse employment.

Please ensure that you respond to all the screening questions. If you do not respond to the screening questions, your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage.

Screening Questions:

  1. The potential benefits of robust seed systems are enormous. In the Pacific region however, farmers have not yet been able to benefit from its advantages due to a combination of internal and external factors. Please provide a few examples of these internal and external factors, and describe what strategies are needed to develop and operationalise robust seed systems in Pacific Island countries? Who should be the key stakeholders and what should their roles be in strengthening seed systems?
  2. A key component of robust seed systems is based on sustainable availability and access to diverse quality seeds. What are the key factors influencing sustainable availability and access to diverse quality seeds, and how can the Pacific region strengthen capacities at regional and national levels to ensure sustainable availability and access to diverse quality seeds?
  3. Why is the "conservation" of seed critical to establishing and developing a seed system. What kind of conservation systems would you propose for grain seed and for clonal propagated crops?

published: 29 April 2020     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.