‘Agency did not cancel any seed testing lab’s licence’
The seed testing facilities in India are by and large fair and following the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) guidelines and the agency did not cancel any seed testing lab’s licence in the country in the recent past, secretary general of ISTA Andreas Wais said here on Tuesday.
Speaking to The Hindu after an interaction with the Telangana government officials and seed companies representatives on the arrangements for the International Seed Congress slated here in June-July next year, Mr. Wais said there was need to bring uniformity in seed testing by standardising the methods of seed sampling and application of procedures following the ISTA guidelines.
“Uniformity in seed testing can be brought about by standardising methodologies, assessing the member laboratories’ performance, exchange of scientific research and standardisation of reporting of seed testing results”, the ISTA secretary general said adding that the international congress scheduled for the next year here would help in that direction. On being asked whether the ISTA has an established system to test the genetically modified organisms (GMO), particularly in the backdrop of proliferation of unapproved genetically modified (GM) traits in cotton crop in India during the last few years, Mr. Wais said they had no mechanism but have plans to widely discuss the issue of testing prevalence of GM traits in non-GM varieties of seed at the next year’s congress.
Earlier, Mr. Wais and ISTA in-charge for events, membership and documentation, Olga Stoeckli, interacted with the State government officials including Principal Secretary (Agriculture) C. Parthasarathi, Commissioner of Agriculture M. Jaganmohan and Director of Telangana State Seed and Organic Certification Authority K. Keshavulu, who is also a member of the executive committee of ISTA, on the issue of venue, participation fee and other preparations for the next year’s congress.
Representatives of the seed industry including M. Prabhkar Rao (Nuziveedu Seeds), G.V. Bhaskar Rao (Kaveri Seeds), R. Rajendran (Rasi Seeds) stressed the need for developing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for seed testing in India since the results of testing of same seed lots by different labs were varying. They also suggested developing the advanced seed testing methods to identify GMOs in non-GM seed.
The ISTA team is likely to meet Union Agriculture Secretary S.K. Pattanayak and other officials in the Ministry in Delhi on April 26.