Federal Seed Certification & Registration Department is taking different steps in respect of international cooperation and membership of international organizations. It is important to stay in touch with international organizations and different countries for having modern and updated developments taking place in seed industry world over. Currently FSC & RD is in consultation with the following International Organizations for Accreditation and membership.
1. ISTA (International Seed Testing Association).
a. ISTA (International Seed Testing Association), Switzerland is internationally recognized body for seed testing procedures and for framing the rules and regulations of seed testing.
b. FSC & RD is member of ISTA and follows the seed testing procedures of ISTA.
c. FSC & RD pays Annual Fee of ISTA which is approximately Rs. 500,000/-
d. FSC & RD participates in International Proficiency Tests (Seeds) of ISTA for Accreditation of Central Seed Testing Labs.
e. FSC & RD under process of getting ACCREDITATION from ISTA in near future.
2. Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD)
a. Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development (OECD) is an international organization based at Paris with 30 permanent and about 70 non-permanent member countries.
b. OECD has different Schemes (Sub-sector) under its Agriculture Sector.
c. OECD Seed Scheme is the largest scheme with 59 members.
d. The OECD certification provides for official recognition of "quality-guaranteed" seed, thus facilitating international trade and contributing to the removal of technical trade barriers.
e. Joining the OECD Seed Scheme may open the opportunity of seed export from Pakistan to other OECD seed scheme countries without any barrier and hindrances and thus earning foreign exchange for Pakistan through Seed Export. In current scenario of new legislation (Seed Act Amendment 2015 & Plant Breeders’ Rights’ Act 2016), joining the OECD seed scheme will facilitate the seed sector development in Pakistan.
3. ECO Seed Association & Its Seed Related Activities
Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) is regional cooperation organization of ten Asian Islamic countries. ECO countries such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, cover an area of the 7.9 million sq kilometer which about 5.9 percent of the total world and inhabited by more than 350 million people. FAO statistics show 49 percent of the total surface area of ECO is cultivable of which only 26 percent is being cultivated. The relatively low level of cultivated area in ECO region indicates the existence of opportunities to increase agriculture production. The cropping pattern in ECO countries is dominated by cereals (Wheat & Barley), rice. And cotton as major industrial crop in Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan, thus providing great opportunity for trade of agriculture commodities.
ECO Seed Association (ECOSA)
The formation of the new regional seed association was announced on by 10 member countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) region comprising of Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Islamic Republic of Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan.
The decision to form this association was made after an intense two-day consultative meeting amongst delegates, which was held on 17-18, 2008 July under the aegis of the ECO Secretariat as part of the intra-regional Technical Cooperation Project supported by FAO and implemented jointly with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA). ECO Seed Association (ECOSA) was formally established during February, 2009 at Turkey. The First ECO Seed Association (ECOSA) International Seed Trade Conference (ECOSA-2009) and 1st General Assembly Meeting of the ECOSA was held in Antalya on 1-4 December 2009. More than 230 private sector representatives and seed sector specialists from the 8 ECO member countries, various international organizations and institutions, companies from outside of ECO region participated in the Conference. The Conference was organized by Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Turkey and Turkish Seed Association in collaboration with ECO Secretariat, FAO and ICARDA. Turkey offered to act a coordinator for ECOSA. So far six ECOSA Seed Trade conferences and general assembly meetings have been held in Turkey (from 2009 to 2014). FSC & RD participated in 2009, 2011 & 2013 ECOSA General Assembly Meetings. Private Sector from Pakistan also participated in these meetings. Seed Association of Pakistan joined ECOSA as member in 2014.
4. UPOV (International Union for Plant Variety Protection).
a. UPOV (International Union for Plant Variety Protection) in an international body for implementation of Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBR’s).
b. Pakistan PBR’s is based on UPOV regulations 1978/1991 with few amendments.
c. Plant Variety Descriptors developed by FSC & RD are based on UPOV guidelines.
d. FSC & RD intends to join UPOV after implementation of PBR’s in Pakistan.
5. ITPGRFA (International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food & Agriculture)
a. International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resource for Food & Agriculture (ITPGRFA) enters into force on 29 June 2004 under the FAO Commission on Genetic Resources for Food & Agriculture.
b. The objectives of this Treaty are the conservation and sustainable use of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits arising out of their use, in harmony with the Convention on Biological Diversity, for sustainable agriculture and food security.
c. These objectives will be attained by closely linking this Treaty to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and to the Convention on Biological Diversity.
d. The Governing Body is the highest organ of the Treaty as established in Article 19. Composed of representatives of all Contracting Parties, its basic function is to promote the full implementation of the Treaty, including the provision of policy guidance on the implementation of the Treaty.
e. The Governing Body holds regular sessions at least once every two years, scheduled, when possible, to coincide with the meetings of the Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture.
f. Previous three sessions of Governing Body of ITPGRFA focused on developing rules and procedures for smooth working of the treaty despite lot of progress consensus could not be reached.
6. SAARC Regional Seed Bank- History & Present Status (Updated)
Seed is a vital input for crop production upon which; the efficiency of other agricultural inputs greatly depends. It is reported that by the supply of quality seed of modern varieties, productivity of different crops can be enhanced upto 20 percent. This shows that the supply of quality seed has enormous potential to enhance growth in the agriculture sector and ensures food security. Therefore, keeping in view the importance of seed, The SAARC has deliberated and identified seed sector as key factor in improving farm production and setting of SAARC Seed Bank to support seed sector of member states and small scale farmers.
The concept of SAARC Regional Seed Bank is aimed that every member country has to allocate and declare one percent of its total seed available in the country as a SAARC Seed Bank contribution which will be available to any SAARC country at the time of need e.g natural disaster like flood. It does not need to establish a special facility for seed bank or seed storage.
Additionally SAARC Seed Bank would focus on;
a. Increase Seed Replacement Rate with appropriate varieties at a faster rate as far as possible so that the uses of quality seed for crop production can be ensured.
b. Provide regional support to national seed security efforts; address regional seed shortages through collective actions; and foster inter-country partnerships.
c. Act as a regional seed security reserve for member states of SAARC.
Development of SAARC Seed Bank in chronological sequence:
The details pertaining to development of SAARC Seed Bank in chronological sequence are summarized
The Regional Workshop on Quality Seed in SAARC countries: (Production, Processing, Legal and Quality Control and marketing System, held in New Delhi during 16-18 December, 2009) organized by SAARC Agriculture Centre with the approval of SAARC higher bodies and gave the recommendation of SAARC Regional Seed Bank.
The 16th SAARC Summit (Thimpu, 28-29 April 2010) and 37th session of SAARC Standing committee agreed for “expeditious action in Regional Collaboration in the seed sector in mutual spirit and benefit and based on the principle of collective self reliance….” & declared “directed early consideration of the concept of Regional Seed Bank, regional testing and certification of seeds and a framework for transfer of plant genetic material and seeds” with a view to ensure food security in the region.
The 6th meeting of the technical committee on Agriculture and Rural Development (TCARD) on 10-12 October, 2010 in Dhaka considered the concept paper on SAARC Regional Seed Bank prepared by Bangladesh.
Pursuant to the 6th Meeting of TCARD, Inter-Governmental Meeting of The Experts was called on 15-16 February, 2011 in Dhaka to consider and finalize the (I) draft SAARC Regional Seed Bank Agreement and (II) draft Material Transfer Agreement. (No representative from Pakistan & Maldives).
The experts meeting finalized the both draft and recommended it to place before the 3rd Meeting of The SAARC Agriculture Ministers Meeting on 1-3 March, 2011 in Dhaka (Meeting was postponed).
The both draft SAARC Seed Bank Agreement & Material Transfer Agreement were circulated among the member countries and the department submitted the comments on both drafts through devolved MinFA.
SAARC Seed Congress and Fair 2011 was held in Dhaka (10-12 April, 2011) which was basically an exhibition and research presentations. However SAARC Seed Bank Agreement was discussed stating that still comments have not been received from all the members.After the comments from all members, draft was finalized.
SAARC Seed Bank Agreement was signed during 17th SAARC summit held in Maldives on 11-14 November, 2011. Pakistan has ratified SAARC seed Bank agreement on 14th October, 2014.
7. BRIEF ON D-8 AND D-8 SEED BANK
D-8, also known as Developing-8, is an arrangement for development cooperation among the following countries:
The establishment of D-8 was announced officially through the Istanbul Declaration of Summit of Heads of State/Government on June 15, 1997.
The objectives of D-8 Organization for Economic Cooperation are to improve member states’ position in the global economy, diversify and create new opportunities in trade relations, enhance participation in decision-making at international level, and improve standards of living.
D-8 is a global arrangement rather than a regional one, as the composition of its members reflects. Organization for Economic Cooperation (D-8) is a forum with no adverse impact on bilateral and multi-lateral commitments of the member countries, emanating from their membership to other international or regional organizations.
1. D-8 Ministers of Agriculture Meeting on Food Security in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on 25th -27th February 2009 agreed to establish D-8 Seed Bank. It was also agreed that the activities for the establishment of D-8 Seed Bank would be leaded by Turkey in collaboration to Iran.
2. The Kuala Lumpur Meeting agreed on the following under the Three Priority Areas with the heading “The creation of seed banks to supply high quality seeds”.
Establish modalities for downstream seed production through the establishment of National Seed Banks and a D-8 Umbrella Seed Bank.
Create collaborative research and development programs between private and public sector organizations.
Standardize and harmonize seed certification and quality enforcement procedures among D-8 countries.
8. Other Organizations and All UNO member countries
Pakistan cooperates with following international organizations in respect of seed sector on behalf of the Government of Pakistan.
Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO)
Centre for International Wheat & Maize Research (CIMMYT)
Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Korea International Cooperation (KOICA).
Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
Asian Productivity Organization (APO).
OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID).
Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC).
Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) - Japan.
International Centre for Agriculture Research in Dry Areas. (ICARDA).
All UNO member countries.
Progress for 2015-16
For seed sector development in Pakistan, FSC&RD International Cooperation section was in the process of deliberations during 2015-16 through different cooperation proposals with the following countries and international organizations; ECO, Jordan, Germany, Bahrain, Qatar, Italy, FAO, Tajikistan, Japan, Kazakhstan, Turkey, SAARC, China, Brazil, D-8, Kyrgyzstan, Belarus, Afghanistan, Australia, Argentina, Russia, Turkmenistan, USA and Malaysia.