Richard Jones


Former, Deputy Director


Nairobi, Kenya

Richard Jones is an agronomist by training with over 25 years of experience working mainly in eastern and southern Africa. His career started in Botswana carrying out Farming Systems Research and Extension along the fringes of the Okavango Delta where two different ethnic groups practiced mixed farming under very variable rainfed conditions. The insights gained from understanding how people adapted to the agro-ecology were used in the design and participatory evaluation of improved agronomic practices. From there he worked with the Malawi Maize Commodity Team to evaluate maize intercropping systems under relatively favorable rainfall conditions, but where livestock were largely absent and continuous cultivation necessitated the use of purchased inputs to increase productivity. Despite the technological success of improved seeds and fertilizer in this environment, inappropriate policies and failure to address market and organizational issues has constrained broad-based adoption. For the past 10 years his research has been concerned with understanding markets, and how these can be used to create incentives for resource poor smallholder farmers to adopt seed-based technologies through viable seed systems. His research is now focused on how to address product, market, and organizational development so as to stimulate the development of innovation systems that can be sustained without continued external intervention.