Richard, has spent his working career in Africa divided between agronomic research, technology exchange and scaling up.
His career started in Botswana doing farming systems research along the fringes of the Okavango Delta that led to a PhD in 1989. Later that year he moved to Malawi as a post-doc with the Malawi Maize and Agroforestry Commodity teams doing agronomic research on maize and agroforestry with a strong emphasis on soil fertility.
In 1996 he took up an appointment as a Technology Exchange Specialist with the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) to promote improved pigeonpea varieties in eastern and southern Africa. This was followed by a stint with the International Fertilizer Development Center (IFDC) before taking up his current position with the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA).
All three assignments have been concerned with ensuring that smallholder farmers gain access to products generated from research including superior varieties, mineral fertilizers, and the knowledge needed for effective farmer management. His present assignment, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by AGRA, is focused on scaling up of seeds, mineral fertilizers and complementary inputs in ways that are commercially sustainable, which includes resolving policy constraints that hinder effective scaling.