In the frame of the Indo-German Project on Seed Sector Development a further four-day International Webinar on “Seed Testing for Quality Assurance” was successfully conducted with more than 75 participants of the Eastern Zone of India from July 13th – 16th, 2021 in cooperation with DAC&FW, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Govt. of India and the ICAR- Indian Institute of Seed Science (IISS) in Mau, India. 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)

More than 75 Officials from Seed Department of DAC & FW, MOA, GOI, Officials of State Department of Agriculture, representatives of Seed Production in National Seed Corporation, State Seed Corporation, representatives of private and public Seed Testing Laboratories (STLs), senior scientists from ICAR institutes, professors from SAU’s etc. have attended the webinar & participated in active discussions. Dr. Sanjeev Kumar, Director, IISS, Mau has given opening remarks on the first day. Dr. DK Yadava (ADG Seeds) has given a lecture on Concept of Seed Quality and Importance of Seed Testing for Quality Assurance. Dr. Andreas Wais (Secretary General, ISTA) presented a lecture on International Rules for Seed Testing. Experts from Germany like Prof. Dr. Michael Kruse (University of Hohenheim), Dr. Andreas Jonitz (Head of ISTA accredited Seed Lab LTZ Augustenberg/Germany), Dr. Axel Goeritz (Head of ISTA accredited Seed Lab LUFA Nord-West/Germany) and Ms Christine Herzog (ISTA Technical and System Auditor) provided presentations and shared their experience. Several Indian experts from public and private sector like Dr. G.V. Jagadish of Indo American Hybrid Seeds Company in Bangaluru contributed with excellent presentations to the success of the webinar. Eminent scientists & subject experts like Dr. Malavika Dadlani, Dr. M. Bhaskaran and Dr. S. Rajendra Prasad have chaired the four-day webinar for the general discussions and questions & answers session.

Along with external experts, Dr. Arvind Nath Singh (Principal Scientist, ICAR-IISS), Dr Sripathy (Scientist, ICAR-IISS), Dr. Uday Bhaskar (Sr. Scientist, ICAR- IISS), Dr. Somu Gupta (Scientist, ICAR-IISS) and Dr. Vinesh Banoth (Scientist, ICAR-IISS) as well as Mr. Ekkehard Schroeder (Team Lead, Indo-German Project), Dr. Sowmini Sunkara & Dr. Raghavendra Kavali (National Project Coordinators, Indo-German Project) supported the successful organisation of the webinar.

A team of well experienced national and international experts/trainers from public and private sector covered various topics which include:

  • Concept of seed quality and importance of seed testing in quality assurance;
  • National and International Scenario- Seed Quality Assurance Regime;
  • International rules for Seed Testing according to ISTA – Overview;
  • Seed Quality Assurance in GM Crops;
  • Seed Sampling: An Overview;
  • Physical Purity Analysis of Seed Lots: An Overview;
  • Seed Moisture Estimation: Concepts and Methodology;
  • Other Seed Determination: Emphasis on Weed Seed Identification;
  • Detection of Insect Infestation in Seeds;
  • Elucidation on Seed Germination Testing & Seedling Evaluation;
  • Seed Viability Testing: Standard Operating Protocols;
  • Seed Moisture Testing and Calibration of Seed Moisture Testing Equipment;
  • Introduction to Seed Vigour Testing Methods and Setting up of Electrical Conductivity Test in Soybean;
  • Genetic Purity Testing: Objectives, Principles and Methods;
  • Heterogeneity Testing and Deliberations on Tolerance Limits in Seed Testing;
  • Maintenance of Laboratory Equipment, Development of Visual Aids and Storage of Guard Samples in Seed Testing Laboratories;
  • Principles of Seed Health Testing;
  • ISTA Accreditation of Seed Testing Laboratory;
  • Comprehensive Outlook on Seed Legislations and Regulations;
  • Handling of samples, coding and maintenance of records in seed testing laboratory;
  • ISTA Certificates and Rules for its Issuance.

The webinar provided useful information and discussions on the internationally agreed standard procedures & rules for sampling and testing of seeds for quality assurance on various specific areas. In addition, information on ISTA accreditation of seed testing laboratories and how to prepare for attaining and maintaining ISTA accreditation was provided.