SADC Seed Certification and Quality Assurance System

The purpose of the SADC Seed Certification and Quality Assurance System is to ensure that seed varieties listed in the SADC Seed Variety Catalogue and traded among SADC Member States is of consistently high and known quality, and that movement of the seed is more efficient and less costly.

As the System is being adopted by stakeholders, it aims to:

  • Lead to better seed quality as a result of improved facilities and skills;
  • Save time and resources because importing countries no longer need to re-test the imported seed;
  • Allow more efficient movement of seed in the region through the use of a common seed certification scheme, terminology, standards, procedures, seals and labels; and
  • Facilitate better targeting of relief seed. As a result of the above, farmers’ access to quality seed will be improved.

All Member States are needed to participate in the System with their staff, facilities, and capacities. Designated NSAs license/authorize samplers, field inspectors and accredit/register laboratories, and inform the SADC Seed Centre about their availability. Seed inspectors and seed samplers to be authorized under the System must pass a prescribed seed technology course and participated in at least one season’s practical training under the mentorship of an already authorized specialist. The NSA must also register seed fields and inspection reports issued in accordance with the System and provide formats for SADC seals and labels to companies that are producing seed under the System.

The System has the following seed certification classes:

  1. Pre-basic seed
  2. Basic Seed
  3. Certified Seed (1st Generation)
  4. Certified Seed (2nd Generation)
  5. Quality Declared Seed (QDS)

Establishment and development of the SADC System does not imply that seed produced under other quality assurance systems cannot be traded in or between SADC countries. All samples are drawn from the seed lots by staff authorized under the System and in accordance with the Rules for Seed Testing of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA). Seed traded must meet the minimum laboratory standards as formulated under the System. To ascertain that the System operates satisfactorily, NSAs conduct post-control tests.

To learn more about the SADC Seed Certification and Quality Assurance System, visit Section 3 of the Technical Agreements on Harmonization of Seed Regulations in the SADC Region.

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