In the frame of the Indo-German Project on Seed Sector Development a four-day International Webinar on “Seed Testing for Quality Assurance” was successfully conducted with more than 150 participants of the Northern Zone of India from July 6th – 9th, 2021 in cooperation with DAC&FW, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India and the ICAR–Indian Agricultural Research Institute in New Delhi.
The aim of this webinar was to present and discuss basic principles, methods and rules on seed sampling and testing with reference to the internationally agreed rules and methods of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) www.seedtest.org/en/home.html.
A Seed Testing Laboratory (STL) is the hub of seed quality control. Seed testing is required to assess the seed quality attributes of the seed lots which have to be offered for sale. These quality attributes are particularly physical and genetic purity, seed moisture content, germination and vigour, viability, freedom from seed borne diseases and insect infestation. This information is also needed for labeling and marketing / export purposes.
More than 150 Officials from Seed Department of DAC & FW, MOA, GOI, Officials of State Department of Agriculture, National Seed Corporation, State Seed Corporation, Private Seed Industry Associations (NSAI & FSII), ICAR institutes, SAU’s etc. have attended this webinar & participated in active discussions.
Dr. Ashwani Kumar, Joint Secretary Seeds at DAC&FW has given opening remarks on the first day, Dr. DK Yadavav (ADG Seeds) as zonal coordinator given a lecture on Importance of Seed Testing, Dr. Andreas Wais (Secretary General, ISTA) presented a lecture on International rules for Seed Testing and eminent scientists & subject experts from India, Germany and other countries (often members of ISTA Technical Committees) have chaired and co-chaired the four-day webinar for the general discussions and questions & answers sessions. Along with external experts, Dr. SK Chakrabarty (Head SST, ICAR-IARI), Dr. Sandeep Lal (Principal Scientist, ICAR-IARI), Dr. Shiv K Yadav (Principal Scientist, ICAR- IARI) and other staff of ICAR-IARI as well as Mr. Ekkehard Schroeder (Team Lead, Indo-German Project), Dr. Sowmini Sunkara & Dr. Raghavendra Kavali (National Project Coordinators, Indo-German Project) supported and attended the webinar.
A team of well experienced national and international experts/trainers from public and private sector covered various topics which include:
- Importance of seed testing in quality assurance system;
- Seed Testing Laboratory: Establishment and management;
- International rules for Seed Testing according to ISTA – Overview;
- Seed Sampling: Principles and procedures;
- Seed moisture testing and calibration of seed moisture testing equipment;
- Seed mixture analysis and weed seed identification;
- Physical purity testing: Principles and procedures;
- Thousand seed weight determination and testing seeds by weighted replicates for field planting value;
- Determination of seeds for Other Distinguishable Varieties (ODVs);
- Variety purity testing using morphological traits with special reference to potato, barley and wheat;
- Seed health testing: Principles and procedures;
- Detection of seed transmitted bacteria and viruses;
- Seed vigour testing: Principles and procedures;
- Seed germination testing: methods, special treatments, categories of seedlings in different crops;
- Testing of coated seeds;
- Biochemical tests for seed viability and genetic purity;
- Genetic purity: DNA based testing including genetically modified seeds;
- Calibration of different seed testing equipment- Frequency, precautions, record maintenance and pre- requisite for quality audit compliance;
- ISTA Certificates and Rules for its Issuance.
In addition, information on ISTA accreditation of seed testing laboratories and how to prepare for attaining and maintaining ISTA accreditation was provided.