Federal Seed Certification & Registration Department (FSC&RD) is an attached department of Ministry of National Food Security & Research, with the mandate to regulate quality of seeds of various crops. Seed quality being a key input in crop production plays a vital role for sustainable agricultural production and national food security. Brief activities performed by department are as followed:
1. Registration of Seed Companies
Central Seed Testing Laboratory, Islamabad
As per decision of the Working Group (for registration of new seed companies) in its 55th meeting, the registration of Seed Companies and other related issues were withheld till notification of Seed (Business Regulation) Rules, 2016.
The Gazette Notification of Seed (Business Regulation) Rules, 2016 took place on 28th September, 2016. The Registration to do seed business comes under Section 22B with prescribed amount of fee for Seed Certification and Registration Services that will generate a sustainable amount to the government exchequer.
Field Crop Inspection: A total of 199819.54 acres of different crops (wheat, cotton, paddy, maize, pulses, oilseeds, vegetables, fodders, barley and potato) offered by the public and private seed agencies were inspected for certification purposes.
Seed Sampling &Testing:
A total quantity of 428112 m.tons locally produced seed of major and minor crops was sampled and tested for purity, germination and seed health purposes.
Seed Quality Monitoring in the Markets:
Under the Seed Act Enforcement, 91 cases were filed in different Courts of Law against the seed dealers found selling substandard seeds and 24.69 m.tons seeds of different crops were seized.
Imported Seed Consignment :
A total quantity of 39.784 thousand m.tons of imported seed of various crops/hybrids (maize, paddy, sunflower, canola, fodders, potato, vegetables etc.) were tested under Seed (Truth in Labeling) Rules, 1991 at the port of entries i.e. Lahore and Karachi.
Central Seed Testing Laboratory (CSTL) Islamabad received approximately1126 seed samples from FSC&RD field stations through Quality Manager/Director. One thousand and thirty seven (1037) seed samples of different crops i.e. Wheat, Paddy, Cotton, Pulses and vegetables were tested for seed purity, seed moisture and other components. CSTL being International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) member laboratory participated in ISTA proficiency tests and CSTL received one sample (B. brizantha) from ISTA for seed purity, moisture determination and Other Seed Determination (OSD).
CSTL applied to ISTA through electronic communication for getting Accreditation status. Quality documents i.e. Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), quality forms and technical procedures were prepared in compliance with ISTA accreditation procedures. Formal application and quality documents have already been submitted to ISTA secretariat for pre-evaluation. CSTL has qualified this pre-evaluation and final evaluation would be done by ISTA audit team tentatively in April, 2017. CSTL has also submitted quality and technical manuals to Pakistan National Accreditation Council (PNAC) for final audit for getting national accreditation.
Seed Health Testing
Seed Health Testing Laboratory, FSC&RD has made headway towards laboratory accreditation by starting Inter Laboratory Comparison (ILC). Proficiency Testing (PT) or ILC with world renowned accredited laboratories is indispensable for laboratory accreditation. Subsequent upon the guidelines of ISTA, Seed Health Testing Committee, Department of DUS Testing and Seed Inspection, Centre for Seeds and Seedlings, NARO (NCSS), Japan has acceded to commence Inter Laboratory Comparison studies with Seed Health Testing Laboratory. In this connection, Seed Health Laboratory has received paddy seed samples infected with various diseases from Japan Laboratory. Results of the said analyses will be sent to Japan for ILC studies.
II. Updating of Seed Regulatory Framework
III. Distinctness, Uniformity & Stability (DUS) Examination
Plant Breeder Rights Act, 2016
Pakistan being a member of World Trade
Organization (WTO) is obliged to provide rights to the breeders of new plant varieties under Article 27.3(b) of Trade Related Aspects for Intellectual Property Rights (TRIP’s) Agreement. This protection to the breeders of new plant varieties in various countries is provided in the shape of Plant Breeders’ Rights Law.
The Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill, 2016 was passed by the National Assembly on 5th September, 2016 and transferred to the Senate. The Senate Standing Committee on National Food Security and Research approved the Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill, 2016 on 26th October, 2016. On 23rd November, 2016, the Senate passed the Plant Breeders’ Bill, 2016. The Plant Breeders’ Rights Bill, 2016 after being approved by both the houses of the Parliament, was signed by the President of Islamic Republic of Pakistan on 5th December, 2016.
Importance of the Plant Breeder Rights Act, 2016
In Seed Act, 1976, only the public sector was given the dominant role in seed development and registration processes and no role in this regard was assigned to the private sector.
- The promulgation of PBR law in the country will not only complement the recently passed Seed (Amendment) Act, 2015 but would also assist the seed industry to usher in a new era of research based innovations and technology led developments.
- At present the Plant Breeder Rights law is enforced in more than 74 countries of the world
- Many foreign companies are reluctant to invest in our seed sector due to lack of protection for their products because of the absence of an effective variety protection system.
- We are hopeful that after the promulgation of PBR law our seed industry would experience a quantum jump in terms of investment and transfer of modern technologies to harness the potential of hybrid plant varieties and other emerging technologies.
Formulation of Plant Breeders’ Rights Rules, 2017
An inter-ministerial and inter-departmental committee constituted by the Ministry of National Food Security and Research has finalized Draft Rules under the PBR Act, 2016, which have been circulated to concerned stakeholders to seek their viewpoints.
Passage and Implementation of Seed (Amendment) Act, 2015
After the passage of Seed (Amendment) Act, 2015 by the Parliament, Seed Rules, 2016 have been approved and circulated. Implementation of activities as a result of amendments in the Seed Act, are being expedited
e) Impact of Seed (Amendment) Act, 2015 Rules
- Private sector has been given larger role in all areas of seed testing, production, multiplication and processing.
- Accredited seed testing laboratories allowed to be established by public and private seed sectors to enhance internal seed quality assurance and to link with national and international seed markets for export.
- Effective deterrence is expected to be created by enhancement of penalties against sale of fake and substandard seed.
- To bring discipline in the seed industry, mandatory registration of seed business has been introduced.
The DUS trials are performed by the FSC&RD. The Breeders have to submit seed sample of candidate variety along with the following to the FSC&RD of DUS testing.
Application for registration of the new variety
Data regarding Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU)
Detailed botanical description of the variety along with comparable variety closely resembling to candidate variety. It also includes parentage and brief breeding history.
IV. Fruit Plant Certification
True specimens of plants of the variety and plant parts.
On receiving seed samples, crop variety registration trials are carried out for two years at suitable locations, to determine DUS characteristics of the variety according to the stabilized descriptors.
A total of about 57 new candidate lines have been studied for DUS trials.
V. FSC&RD Development Initiatives
FSC&RD has registered one new fruit plant nursery established at Quetta to promote production and dissemination of disease free and true-to-type nursery fruit plants.
Registration cases of ten fruit plant nurseries are in-process.
Minimum Fruit Plant Certification Standards for citrus, mango and guava have been drafted and submitted to National Seed Council for approval.
Minimum Fruit Plant Certification Standards for olive have been drafted and are ready for submission to National Seed Council.
Following two developmental projects have been drafted by FSC&RD and submitted to Ministry of National Food Security & Research for approval
VI. International Collaboration
Up-gradation and Accreditation of Seed Testing Laboratory, FSC&RD, Karachi
Up-gradation of seed certification services in Baluchistan.
For seed sector development in Pakistan, FSC&RD International Cooperation section was in the process of deliberations during the period FY 2016-17 (July-March) through different cooperation proposals with the following countries and international organizations; ECO, Jordan, Senegal, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Middle East, Germany, Bahrain, Qatar, Italy, FAO, Tajikistan, Japan, Thailand, Turkey, SAARC, China, Brazil, D-8 and Papua New Guinea.