David Mansfield currently works as an independent consultant, advising a range of bilateral, multilateral and non-government organizations, including the UK Government, the EC, the World Bank, GTZ, as well as various NGOs on both policy and operational issues with regard to illicit drugs in Afghanistan and on ‘alternative livelihoods’ in particular.

He has worked in overseas drugs and development issues since 1991 and has experience in each of the major drug producing regions of South and South East Asia, and Latin America. Additionally, he has worked in the design, appraisal, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation, of development and control projects.

Throughout his career he has taken a pro-active approach to the drugs issue, seeking to inform policy development through generating a clearer understanding of the dynamics of the illicit drugs industry and documenting the overlap between conventional development and drug control agendas. Since 1997 he has been undertaking fieldwork in rural Afghanistan that has played a pioneering role in understanding the role of opium poppy in rural livelihoods and the dynamics of the farmgate trade in opium. This work has been at the forefront of policy development in Afghanistan and represents an important source of primary data for many policy analysts and academics.

His published work has sought to contextualize drugs as a development issue, and in particular has focused on developing pro-poor approaches to rural livelihoods interventions in illicit drug producing areas.