Crop variety development is the main domain of public sector organization in the provinces. At a federal level, PARC coordinates for all research pertaining to variety evaluation and testing and provides funding to some specific projects which are unique and not carried out by provinces previously. Research on cotton crop is exclusively carried out by PCCC. No doubt multinational seed companies after conducting local trials started submitting their hybrid varieties of sunflower, maize, sorghum for registration etc. but they enjoy privilege of trading seed under Seed (Truth-in-Labeling) Rules, 1991.
Plant breeders test their promising strains in micro varietal trials, breeding stations, sub-stations and the zonal varietal trials for a sufficient number of years. When a breeder selects a variety after sufficient years of testing, he submits it to PARC for evaluation of its value for cultivation and use. Simultaneously, breeder submits a seed sample of that variety to FSC&RD for evaluation of distinctness, uniformity and stability (statutory obligation for registration).
Variety registration and release
A variety that meets the requirements of VCU and DUS is accepted for registration by the FSC&RD. The department submits its DUS report to Federal Seed Registration Committee. The committee evaluates the report regarding DUS and VCU and recommends its registration. The National Seed Council approves the registration and release of a variety. Notification is issued by Federal Government. All the decisions are made based on consensus of opinion by the experts. A number of agencies are involved in the process of variety development, evaluation, maintenance, registration and release.
Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department keeps the record of variety registration along with all morphological characters. The varieties registered, released and notified through the process, can be multiplied under seed certification system.
Seed Certification System
Certification system is a legal and regulatory mechanism. It is performed by the Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department, an attached department of the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock. To maintain and make availability of genetically pure seeds of improved varieties, the whole process is done at two main stages.
1. The crop raised for the production of seed is inspected by FSC&RD for genetically purity.
2. The seed samples are drawn after harvest of the crop and analyzed in the laboratory for evaluation on the basis of prescribed seed standard (analytical purity).
In addition to this, pre and post control plots are laid out to ascertain the genetic purity of the seed and seed-borne diseases. In Pakistan, seed certification system has four recognized categories.
1. Pre-basic seed. 2. Basic Seed. 3. Certified seed. 4. Approved seed
The purpose of crop inspection is to determine whether or not the crop is suitable for the production of seed of the standard required. The genetic purity of seed crop is assessed through field crop inspection. Inspection is carried out only for notified varieties based on physio-morphology characteristics develop through DUS studies. Before carrying out crop inspection, the following preliminaries are verified
- Verification of the source from the labels, seals, bags or receipt of seed purchased
- Acreage and location of the seed field.
- Cropping history of the field where the seed crop is grown.
- Isolation distance of seed crops from other crops.
- Condition and health of the crop to carry out crop inspection properly. Crop must not be very much weedy or damaged.
- Application from grower or seed agency, requesting for crop inspection.
If all the above conditions are found satisfactory then a detailed assessment of the crop is carried out to determine the following factors:
Agencies Responsible for Variety Development, Evaluation and Maintenance
a) Admixture with other cultivars.
b) Admixture with other species
c) Presence of weeds particularly obnoxious weed plants.
d) Presence of seed-borne diseases.
Plant exploration and introduction Germ plasm bank Variety development Crop variety testing and approval Variety registration Crop variety testing and approval Basic seed production Certified seed production BNS & Pre-basic seed 25 After the crop inspection, the grower or seed company is informed about the decision/recommendations or other measures, necessary to bring the crop up to the prescribed standards. At final inspection, a certificate is issued by the department on the prescribed form.
Seed testing is carried out to assess the analytical purity of seed lot. The following steps are taken to ensure quality of seed lot.
Submission of application for sampling
Seed samples are drawn from the produce whose fields have been certified subject to the prescribed written request by the grower. Three samples are drawn from each seed lot by the officer of the FSC&RD according to the method as prescribed in ISTA rules (1990). One sample is given to the respective seed testing laboratory and 2nd is handed over to the grower or seed agency. The 3rd sample is submitted to the central seed testing laboratory for post control check.
Requirement for seed lots to be sampled
It should be ensured before seed sampling that seed lot must be homogeneous. Credibility of results depends on the representative samples. Number of seed samples are drawn according to the size of seed lot.
Working samples are made from the submitted samples in the laboratory. Each seed of the working seed samples is physically examined using magnifying lens. Doubtful seeds are further examined under stereo-microscope. Every crop seed is examined for purity on the basis of morphological characters of particular crop variety. Seed sample is analyzed for the assessment of the following factors.
Issuing of seed analysis certificate and temporary labels
- i) Purity (pure seed).
- Mixture of the crop seed (other distinguishable varieties).
- Presence of weeds.
- Inert matter.
- Seed-borne diseases.
- Moisture test.
- Thousand seed weight.
- Seed lots are rejected or accepted on the basis of seed standards prescribed by the National Seed Council for individual crops.
After the seed analysis in the laboratory for the above mentioned factors, certificate of fitness is issued by the department and temporarily labels are also issued. These labels carry the following information printed on it:
Seed sampling during processing and issuing of final labels and seals
- Federal Seed Certification and Registration Department.
- Reference number
- No. of bags/containers
- No. of bags/containers
All the seed lots are processed at processing plants/units by the seed agency. During processing, seed samples are drawn and analyzed in the laboratory. After this, a certificate is issued on the prescribed form and final labels and seals are also issued on the spot.
Re-testing of seed lots
To assess any deterioration during storage, a re-test sample is drawn from each lot at two months prior to its actual distribution/sale. Seed samples are analyzed for all the factors as mentioned above. Finally, the seed agencies are allowed to offer seed lots cleared by the FSC&RD.
Checking of Seed lot During Marketing and Import / Export
To check the sale of deteriorated, inferior and low quality seed, the Federal Seed Certification Department monitors the quality of seed during distribution and marketing.
The department has established a system of seed testing under the Seed (Truth-in Labeling) Rules, 1991 and also in accordance to the guidance of import policy 1999. Seed samples are drawn from all the seed consignments and tested for their analytical purity and germination. The label placed on the containers is verified. If the seed lot does not match with the information given on the label, the consignment is not allowed to sale as seed in Pakistan.