Agricultural Officer (Locust Monitoring and Forecasting)

  • Location:
  • Salary:
  • Job type:
  • Posted:
    5 days ago
  • Category:
    Agricultural, Audit and Oversight, Evaluation, forestry and fisheries
  • Deadline:


Organizational Setting
The Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP) enables the transition to MORE efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable plant production and protection through optimization and minimization. This requires the integration and harmonization of all appropriate crop production policies and practices in order to increase production in a sustainable manner in order to eradicate hunger while preserving the natural resources and environment for future use.

Transboundary Plant Pests and Diseases Team (NSPMD) provides advice, technical support and guidance to countries on the sustainable management and control of transboundary plant pests and diseases and locusts. The Team operates the FAO’s Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS) that uses the latest geo-spatial technologies in a geographical information system to monitor the weather, environmental conditions, and locust infestations on a daily basis and analyse a combination of field data from national survey and control teams, remote sensing imagery, and models in order to provide forecasts and early warning.

Desert Locust forecasting is an exclusive, niche subject that is not part of any university programme, as locust analysis and forecasting are not an exact science, much depends on intuition and experience. Instead, it is a learned on-the-job through a multi-year practical programme in order to obtain the necessary knowledge and experience on the relevant issues for making reliable and precise forecasts. A solid understanding and first-hand familiarity of the Desert Locust habitats and locust teams in each affected country is critical for success.

The position is located in the Locusts and Transboundary Plant Pests and Diseases Team (NSPMD) within the Plant Production and Protection Division (NSP) at FAO headquarters in Rome, Italy.

Reporting Lines
The Agricultural Officer (Locust Monitoring and Forecasting) reports to the Senior Agricultural Officer (Team Leader).

Technical Focus
Support the FAO’s Desert Locust Information Service early warning and forecasting system. The system monitors daily weather, environmental conditions, and locust infestations to provide forecasts and advice to affected countries for effective planning and implementation of monitoring and control operations.’

Key Results
Research, technical analysis, and project related services to support the delivery of programme projects, products, and services.

Key Functions
•    Researches and analyses technical, social, economic, environmental, institutional, and technology related information, data and statistics and/or related policy issues to support the delivery of programme projects, products and services.
•    Produces a variety of technical information, data, statistics and reports as well as input for technical documents and web pages.
•    Provides technical support/analysis to various assessments, studies and initiatives and provides technical backstopping to field projects.
•    Collaborates in the development of improved/updated tools, systems, processes, and databases.
•    Participates on multi-disciplinary teams, and/or leads working groups/teams collaborates with other FAO Centres/Offices/Divisions and agencies on work groups and committees and promotes best practices.
•    Collaborates in, provides technical backstopping to and ensures the quality / effectiveness of capacity development activities within member countries such as policy support, organizational development and individual learning events including preparation of related information, learning materials, on-line tools.
•    Promotes knowledge sharing and best practices at international meetings and conferences and influences partners in stakeholder consultations.
•    Supports resource mobilization activities in accordance with the FAO Corporate Strategy.

Specific Functions
•    Provides support in analysing locust, environmental, rainfall, meteorological, and remote sensing data using a custom geographic information system and Locust Data Cube.
•    Supports facilitating coherent management of all Desert Locust reports received from affected countries.
•    Contributes to the timely preparation of accurate locust situation assessments, summaries, and forecasts as monthly bulletins, supplemented by updates, briefs, alerts, and warnings.
•    Contributes to enhancing the locust early warning, monitoring, forecasting and reporting systems.
•    Liaises with FAO staff, the Desert Locust Regional Commissions Secretariats and national locust control units to improve data collection and reporting.
•    Delivers training programmes and undertakes field missions to join national locust teams for familiarization of Desert Locust habitats.
•    Provides technical support to the Desert Locust Regional Commissions Secretariats, FAO field projects, including emergencies, as required.
•    Performs other related duties as required.


Minimum Requirements
•    Advanced university degree in agriculture-related to Geographic Information Systems (GIS), pest monitoring and early warning systems or any related fields.
•    Five years of relevant experience in one or more of the following areas: geographic information systems, spatial analysis, meteorological and plant pest modelling and prediction systems, pest reporting, and management systems.
•    Working knowledge (proficient – level C) of English and limited knowledge (intermediate – level B) of one of the other official FAO languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish).

•    Results Focus
•    Teamwork
•    Communication
•    Building Effective Relationships
•    Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills
•    Work experience in more than one location or area of work, particularly in field positions.
•    Extent and relevance of experience in locust biology, ecology, weather and monitoring systems.
•    Extent and relevance of experience in advanced digital tools and systems, geographical information systems, remote sensing, data analysis, pest modelling and forecasting.
•    Ability to cooperate with the officials of national governments, intergovernmental organizations, and other partner institutions and networks.
•    Ability to work independently and in multidisciplinary and multicultural teams.
•    Excellent written and oral communications skills.
•    Limited knowledge (intermediate – level B) of French is preferable.