AllisonAround the world, government and public funding of Plant Breeding at research institutes has virtually ceased. Today’s plant breeders need secure long-term funding to support their breeding programmes. Typically it takes 10 years or more from when a breeder makes an initial cross to the release of a new variety. A breeder may produce thousands of seedlings each year from these cross pollinations but ultimately only a tiny proportion of these will ever become successful new varieties.

SNFL was set up to support breeders over the long-term, and to work with them to develop exciting new varieties that appeal to both consumers and commercial growers. Today SNFL South Africa functions as the sole agent for Sheehan Genetics LLC, Sheehan Genetics Australia and ITUM breeding programmes in South Africa

TimpsonThe successful development of these new varieties requires dedication and specialised management. Apart from providing long-term funding for breeding programmes, SNFL manages the testing and evaluation of potential new varieties, with trial blocks in major table grape producing regions. Once the decision has been made to release a new variety, SNFL then manages the international protection of the breeders’¬†intellectual property through Plant Breeders Rights, and the worldwide licensing of the commercial growers who will plant the new varieties.

SNFL has now evolved into a group of specialist companies engaged in the development of table grape varieties. With its headquarters near Cambridge in the UK, the group now has a dedicated team based in some of the world’s major fruit production regions – Spain, South Africa, California, Chile and Australia.


  • To bring improved new varieties to the market, faster and to generate increased customer interest and sales through innovation.
  • To support key breeders financially and to develop a wider grower base for their new varieties.
  • To use our diverse gene pool of parental varieties to create new varieties with truly exceptional flavour.
  • To provide the best growers with access to the best new varieties, and to help these growers achieve profitable results.
  • To develop a coherent marketing strategy for the new varieties for the benefit of all stakeholders: Retailers – Breeders – Growers