About Plant Breeders Without Borders

Inspired after reading “The Coming Famine” by Julian Cribb, Australian plant breeder Anthony Leddin set out to find out what he could do to make a difference. Leddin soon came up with the concept of Plant Breeders Without Borders (PBWB).

Similar to the concept of Doctors Without Borders, PBWB encourages plant breeders, undergraduate and graduate students to volunteer their time for international breeding projects. PBWB then coordinates volunteers with selected projects in need of plant breeders. Projects to date have focused on advancing underdeveloped species where no breeding work is being done to avoid conflicts of interest.

PBWB goal is to match volunteer plant breeders, along with the undergraduate and graduate students, with local farmers and agronomists to educate them common plant breeding methodology. After spending a brief time on site mentoring the participants, eventually the community-based breeding projects will be run by the local farmers with the support of the volunteer plant breeder back in their home country.

This will nurture a new generation of plant breeders in the developed and the developing world, as young people will see how interesting plant breeding can be. Young plant breeders will gain experience from more senior plant breeders and their knowledge will shared with future generations. Volunteers will come back to their home countries being more practical and resilient breeders, a trait that is needed with the many cutbacks seen in plant breeding projects around the world.


To share knowledge and skills of plant breeding through experienced plant breeders, trainees, undergraduate students and people in developing and third world countries with the goal of decreasing poverty and increasing food security.


Give a person a vegetable seed, feed them for a year, give them a fruit tree feed them for many years, give them the knowledge to breed plants and feed them for a lifetime.