School of Agricultural, Earth and Environmental Sciences

About Us

There is a wide gap between food production and population growth and therefore food demands in Africa. There is also a growing formal seed sector in sub-Saharan Africa encouraged by Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA) and other donors. This emerging seed business requires a cadre of plant breeders that can not only develop improved varieties but can manage the production and release of quality seeds of these improved varieties. Unfortunately, a significant number of the plant breeding PhD graduates have been employed by the CGIAR systems (such as CIMMYT, CIAT) and AGRA etc., and academic institutions, and have also been promoted to levels of administration responsibilities in the home institutions, thus leaving inadequate number of active and practical plant breeders in the private sector and public programs.

UKZN is responding to the need for industry-ready, middle level, graduates in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries. UKZN proposes to train 30 postgraduate students at MSc degree level to advance the uptake of improved varieties using: a new curricula jointly developed by Iowa State University (ISU) and African partner universities (Makerere University and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, i.e., KNUST), a different approach to training, emphasising modern breeding and data management technologies, and a 6-month internship to increase genetic gains and practical exposure of postgraduate students to the seed sector, respectively.