LEGAL ASPECTS OF SEED QUALITY MANAGEMENT

11.6.1 SEED LEGISLATION

In India, the first and foremost law pertaining to seeds is The Seeds Act, 1966. It was followed by formation and notification of The Seeds Rules in 1968 and the Act was implemented in 1969.

11.6.2 OBJECTIVES

To regulate seed quality of notified kind or varieties for sale and for matters connected to it.

To create an environment in which seed producer or traders could operate effectively and to make good quality seed available to growers.

11.6.3 DETAILS OF PROVISIONS IN THE SEEDS ACT, 1966 AND THE SEEDS RULES, 1968

The list of the events in seed legislation in India is as follows (Table 11.1):

  • • 1966: The Seeds Act
  • • 1968: The Seed Rules
  • • 1972: The Seeds (Amendment) Act
  • • 1983: The Seeds Control Order
  • • 1988: New Policy on Seed Development
  • • 2001: PPV& FRA
  • • 2004: The Seeds Bill
  • • 2008: Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member

TABLE 11.1 Details of Provisions in The Seeds Act, 1966 and The Seeds Rules, 1968.

Sr. No.

Section/Rule

Activity/Pro visions

1

Section 3

Establishment of Central Seed Committee

2

Section 4

Establishment of central and state seed testing laboratories.

3

Section 5

Notification of kind or varieties

4

Section 6

Power to specify minimum limits of germination and purity

5

Section 7

Regulation of sale of seeds of notified kind/variety

6

Section 8

Establishment of seed certification agency in the state

7

Section 8A

Establishment of seed certification board

8

Section 9

Grant of certificate by a certification agency

9

Section 10

Revocation of certificates

10

Section 11

Appealing against the decisions of seed certification agency

11

Section 12

Seed analysts

12

Section 13

Seed inspector

13

Section 14

Powers of seed inspector

14

Section 15

Procedure to be followed by seed inspector

15

Section 16

Report of seed analyst

16

Section 17

Restriction on export or import of seeds of notified kind/variety

17

Section 18

Recognition of seed certification agencies of foreign countries

18

Section 19

Penalty

19

Section 20

Forfeiture of property

20

Section 21

Offense by companies

21

Section 22

Protection of action taken in good faith

22

Section 23

Power to give directions

23

Section 24

Exemption

24

Section 25

Power to make rules

25

Rule 6(a)

Certifying seeds of notified varieties only

TABLE 11.1 (Continued)

Sr. No.

Sectiou/Rule

Activity/Pro visions

26

Rule 15

Sowing report - Application

27

Rule 6(d)

Verification of seed source and purchase bill

28

Rule 16

Collection of fees

29

Rule 6(c)

Maintenance of breeder list

30

Rule 6(k)

Inspecting seed farms to assess the field standards

31

Rule 6(b)

Harvesting, sealing and sending to seed processing units

32

Rule 6(f)

Inspecting seed Processing plants

33

Rule 6(e)

Drawing samples and sending for analysis

34

Rule 17-A

Certifying seeds in accordance with IMSC Standards

35

Rule 6(i)

Certifying the quality seeds

36

Rule 17(i)

Affixing tags on Seed containers

37

Rule 17(H)

Contents of seed certification Tag

38

Rule 9

Affixing labels along with tags on the containers

39

Rule 17

Granting of certificate (Form II)

40

Rule 6(j)

Maintaining Registers and records

41

Rule 17(vi)

Maintaining Registers and records by seed producers

42

Rule 6(g)

Expediting Seed certification works

43

Section 9

Grant of certificates by certification agency

44

Rule 6(h)

Imparting training

11.6.4 SEED CERTIFICATION

Seed certification concept originated in the early 20th century owing to the increased concern for rapid loss of varietal identity in production cycles. Field evaluation of seed crop was initially started by Swedish workers. They started it with the visits of plant breeders and agronomists to the farmers’ fields where new varieties have been grown. Field inspection, thus, was started primarily with a view to educate farmers about seed production. Subsequently, it was modified to inspect fields and was found veiy helpful in maintaining varietal purity in the production chain. In 1919, scientists from USA and Canada met in Chicago and established International Crop Improvement Association that was renamed as Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies in 1969 and this was the beginning of systematic seed certification in the world.

In India, the need for quality seed was felt with the advent of high yielding varieties of wheat and few other crops that lead to the Green

Revolution. In India, field evaluation and certification of seed crop was started in 1963 with the establishment of National Seeds Corporation. However, seed certification attained the legal status with the enactment of The Seeds Act, 1966 and formulation of Seed Rules, 1968. The Seeds Act, 1966 provided the momentum needed for the establishment of State Seed Certification Agencies. Maharashtra was the first state in India to establish Seed Certifications Agency under the Department of Agriculture as early as 1970. However, Karnataka established the first autonomous Seed Certification Agency in 1974.

Thus, legally sanctioned system for QC, seed multiplication, and production consisting of field inspection, pre- and postcontrol testing and seed quality analysis. In most of the countries, including India, seed certification is voluntary and labeling of seed is compulsory.

  • 11.6.4.1 OBJECTIVES OF SEED CERTIFICATION
  • • Seed certification focuses on ensuring the minimum standards of seed quality.
  • • The systematic seed multiplication of improved varieties.
  • • The identification of new varieties and their rapid multiplication under appropriate and generally accepted names.
  • • Continuous supply of seed by carefiil maintenance of quality.
  • 11.6.4.2 PHASES OF SEED CERTIFICATION

This includes seed certification procedures described step by step as described below.

  • • Receipt and scrutiny of application;
  • • Seed source verification, class and other requirements of seed to be sown for raising mother seed crop;
  • • Field inspections to verify compliance to prescribed minimum field standards;
  • • Supervision of postharvest operations such as processing and packing;
  • • Verification of conformity to prescribed minimum standards by seed sampling and analysis of genetic purity and/or seed health;
  • • Issuance of certificate and certification tags, tagging, and sealing.

11.6.4.3 INDIAN MINIMUM SEED CERTIFICATION STANDARDS

IMSCS were formulated and published in 1972 and revised in 2013 to include more crops especially horticultural, plantation and spices, etc. These standards are grouped as general and specific seed certification standards to various crops. The former is applicable to every crop and their varieties eligible for certification, whereas the latter are specifically applicable to field and seed of individual crops.

According to IMSCS, a certified seed must conform to minimum standards of genetic purity. These standards for minimum genetic purity for foundation seed is 99%; for certified seed of varieties, composites, synthetics, and multilines is 98%; for certified hybrid seed is 95%; certified seed of hybrids of cotton, true potato seeds, muskmelon, brinjal, and tomato is 90%; and for hybrid castor is 85%. These standards must be maintained unless crop-specific standards are not separately described.

The crop-specific standards include field and seed standards. Field standards include isolation requirements, limits of olf-types, infected plants, and inseparable plants, etc. The seed standards describe limits for pure seed (min.), inert matter (max.), other crop seeds (max.), other distinguishable varieties (max.), weed seeds (max.), germination (min.), moisture content for normal container and vapor-proof containers (max.), etc. The lists of designated diseases and pests, objectionable weeds and cross-compatible crops, and plants are also included. These standards are required strict compliance for production certified seed classes, that is, foundation and certified seeds.

11.6.4.4 TRUTHFUL LABELING

Being limited application of the certification system, there is the provision of other class namely truthfully labeled seed (TLS). The production of TL seed does not require to undergo seed certification procedure, however truthful labeling and compliance to minimum limits of germination and purity need to be fulfilled. This type of seed can be produced to all types of released cultivars of crops irrespective of its notification status. Truthful labeling, unlike certification, is compulsory for all classes of seeds.

11.6.4.5 OECD SEED SCHEME

The OECD, Paris, France was established in 1958 as a multinational organization act as a multilateral forum where policies related to economic and social issues can be discussed, developed, and reformed. Promotion of sustainable economic growth and generation of employment and rising living standard and trade liberalization is the mission of this scheme. It established a framework for certification of seed in international trade. OECD comprises of seven agriculture Seed Schemes listed below.

  • • Cereal crops
  • • Maize and sorghum
  • • Crucifers and other oil or fiber species
  • • Grass and legume species
  • • Fodder beet and sugar beet
  • • Subterranean clover and similar species
  • • Vegetable crops

The major objectives of these schemes are as follows:

  • • To encourage use of “quality-guaranteed” seed in member or participating countries of OECD;
  • • To authorize use of labels and certificates for international trade as per principles for ensuring identity and purity of seed;
  • • To facilitate overseas seed trade by issuing passports and removal of technical trade barriers;
  • • To develop guidelines for seed multiplication abroad and for accreditation to control activities of private stakeholders.
 
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