Developing a career in agriculture doesn’t have to mean raising crops and taking care of livestock. Agriculture is a growing industry, with many agribusinesses, social enterprises, and nonprofits doing new and exciting work to help the world dramatically increase crop production to feed a population of 9 billion people by 2050.
One Acre Fund is now working with more than 800,000 smallholder farmers in Sub-Saharan Africa to eradicate hunger. Operating an organization of this size is a mammoth, cutting-edge effort that requires input from staff with a wide variety of skill sets and expertise. Here’s a look at just a few of the types of professionals we look for:
Engineering is a popular field of study among top students in Eastern and Southern Africa, and programs teach many useful skills, such as problem-solving, analytical thinking, data processing, and project management. These qualifications transfer easily to jobs in the agricultural industry. At One Acre Fund, we employ engineers in a number of job roles, including product design, innovations, and logistics management. Our staff engineers conceptualize and build tools to make farming easier for smallholders, and lead teams that determine what products to offer farmers and where to expand our services.
At large agricultural organizations, navigating issues around taxes, contracts, personnel management, government licenses, and international trade can be incredibly complex -- and lawyers can help! One Acre Fund is currently working in six countries and employs more than 5,000 staff, so it’s a big effort to ensure that we’re meeting all of our legal requirements across many different jurisdictions. Staff lawyers are crucial for keeping our operations running and allowing us to provide continuous service to farmers.
One Acre Fund provides trainings to hundreds of thousands of farmers in multiple countries and languages on a weekly basis. These trainings cover a host of subjects, including how to plant crops and apply fertilizer, how to plan household finances, and how to ensure adequate family nutrition. One Acre Fund employs graphic designers to create printed handouts for these trainings that explain information simply and visually to farmers, regardless of their ability to read. Designers also make catalogs that help farmers choose seed varieties, fertilizer, and life-improving products like solar lights, and create a wide variety of guides and graphics for our global teams and social media.
It take a lot of financial planning to keep an organization of One Acre Fund’s size running, and our accountants and financial experts are in charge of keeping us on track. Our finance team oversees a variety of crucial operations, including setting budgets, managing farmer loan repayments, organizing payrolls, and helping with compliance and taxes. Ayanda Mngadi, our Chief Financial Officer, talks about what it's like to lead our Finance team in this blog.
Technical support is critical for any large organization, and that’s especially true for One Acre Fund, which employs a large staff and handles client data for more than half a million farmers. The organization’s IT team sets up and repairs hardware, such as the laptops and tablets, maintains computer networks and implements new technologies to better serve farmers. Programmers also build software to help us collect and process information from clients.
One Acre Fund employs agronomists, biologists, and chemists to run a number of crop research stations and laboratories in several countries. Agronomists conduct field trials on different seed varieties and farming techniques, so we can introduce the most impactful products and practices to farmers. We also have a soil analytics laboratory in Kenya that’s studying the chemical composition of our clients’ soil to evaluate the impact of our program on the land.
Consultants are experts at conducting research and providing strategic advice on a wide variety of subjects. One Acre Fund has its own internal consulting team, tasked with evaluating and providing data-driven proposals to our teams about how best to serve farmers. Our internal consulting staff has a variety of experience and educational backgrounds -- including in economics, public policy, government, and international relations -- and they’re all critical thinkers skilled in analyzing and processing data.