How you can make a difference in the fashion industry as a plant breeder

What is a Plant Breeder?

Ever wondered if it was possible to select plants with desirable characteristics and grow other plants from them? This is what plant breeders do. They conduct scientific research into plants meant for agriculture in order to develop disease and drought-resistant crops, while increasing yields to meet consumer needs. Simply put, plant breeding is the science of improving plants for better yields. You would have to work very hard in order to become a Plant Breeder. You need to get good marks, and get accepted to a university, as the courses offered for this profession are not very easy to do.

How does a plant breeder contribute to the fashion industry?

Plant breeders ensure that there are seed that will produce high quality crops which will produce quality textiles for the fashion industry. Not only does natural fibre look good for longer, but one cannot deny how great it feels on your skin. Natural fibre is more sustainable (and so good for the environment). Plant breeders make sure that plant can withstand stress caused by weather or diseases in order to maintain the growing, global demand for food, feed and clothing – in a sustainable way.

How to qualify as a Plant Breeder

In order to work as a plant breeder, you will have to pass Matric with flying colours, get accepted to a university, and work very hard. You need to get very good marks in Maths and Physical Science, plus an APS score of 26-32 (excluding Life Orientation).

After completing Matric, consider applying for a BScAgric (4 years) or BSc in Genetics and Molecular Cell Biology at one of South Africa’s universities. You can then move on to do your Honours in any of these two degree programs, and then MSc in Plant Breeding/Molecular Cell Biology. For more opportunities in the industry, you can go as far as completing your PhD in Plant Breeding/BSc Genetics or Molecular Cell Biology.

The Plant Breeding industry is a growing sector of the economy in South Africa, with high chances of getting a job when you graduate. There are many exciting opportunities available for young people who would like to learn how to grow crops in ways that increases yields and is sustainable for the environment. If you love working with plants and want to be part of the fashion industry as well, then this job is the right one for you! There are many different companies to choose from when applying for jobs, ranging from seed and biotechnology companies, government, universities, and cooperatives.


Plant breeders help improve plants for better yields, not only for consumption, but for the textile industry. They produce natural fibres that not only look and feel good but are also good for the environment. For more information follow SANSOR on Facebook or Instagram for this and developments in this industry.