In 2008 India became the 56th country joining the OECD schemes of Certification of Variety Identity and Purity. This was a step taken by the government of India to support the seed industry and expand the scope of seed export by adopting a globally accepted system of seed certification. However initially more or less very limited activities (export under OECD seed certification) took place for the first 10 years of membership. OECD Seed Schemes is one of the international frameworks available for certification of agricultural seeds moving in international trade. The objective of the OECD Seed Schemes is to encourage use of seeds of consistently high quality in participating countries. The Scheme authorizes use of labels and certificates for seed produced and processed for international trade according to agreed principles. India participates in the following categories:
• Grasses and legumes;
• Crucifers and other oil or fibre species;
India has adopted OECD seed schemes, which should boost its export potential, but the staff conducting all steps of certification, including seed testing, lack necessary expertise in many states;
In India certification of seed according to OECD seed schemes will be more and more important to facilitate seed export to other countries. Several countries of the world are requesting OECD seed certification standard for import of seed. In Germany the national regulations of certification correspond to those of the OECD. Therefore, the national seed certification standard in Germany is equal to the OECD seed certification standard.
To prepare India for the export of seed, a training programme for international (OECD) seed certification for selected crops (sorghum, maize, paddy, sunflower) in Telangana was developed and successfully implemented in the state of Telangana with the support of the Indo-German project on Seed Sector Development. As part of the bilateral cooperation project, two one-week seminars (theory and practice including field inspection) on OECD seed certification were held in Telangana. Between 50-60 experts from the State Seed Certification Agencies, State and National Seed Corporations, SAUs/ICAR Institutes and private seed industry from 18 States across the country (directors and experts as future multipliers of seed certification bodies from the Indian federal states) participated in both training sessions. The training provided relevant know-how on the implementation of international standards in seed production and certification to the important Indian seed certification bodies and improved export opportunities for seeds from India.
Tentative activities of the bilateral project under this topic are during the ongoing phase:
• Follow-up training on International (OECD) seed certification is planned during the ongoing project phase;
• Preparation and implementation of training of Seed Analysts, Seed Inspectors and Certification officers (training of trainers).