Seed Info No. 49
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Seed Info aims to stimulate information exchange and regular communication among seed staff in the Central and West Asia and North Africa (CWANA) region and beyond. Its purpose is to help strengthen national seed programs and thus improve the supply of high-quality seed to farmers. The WANA Seed Network provides information on activities relating to global and/ or regional cooperation and collaboration to facilitate the development of a vibrant regional seed industry. In this issue of Seed Info, we report on the regional seed courses organized by the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA) and the activities of the FAO sub-Regional Office for Central Asia’s (FAO-SEC) project Seed Sector Develoment in Countries of the Economic Cooperation Organization. In the NEWS AND VIEWS section, Niels Louwaars from the Dutch Seed Association writes about Royalty Payments and Collection on Farm Saved Seed. While the payment of a royalty in the certified seed use is widely accepted and included in the seed price, such payment for on farm saved seed (FSS) of protected varieties remains a contentious issue between farmers and seedsmen in several countries. The provisions of FSS were changed at the 1991 UPOV Convention. The new rules explicitly allow farmers to use FSS of selected crops, and explicitly outlaw sales of such seed to others. It also extends the breeders’ rights to the harvested material providing further options of collecting end-point royalties as a levy on the harvested product, with some exceptions for small-scale farmers. Royalty payment on FSS is now an established norm in some countries as a fair contribution for use of seed of protected varieties and practiced under different arrangements. The article highlights the basis of royalty payments on FFS and elaborates on the mechanisms for its enforcements and collections in different countries. Other news in this section comes from Ethiopia, Kenya, and Pakistan, as well as regional and/or international organizations, such as the International Seed Testing Association and International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). In Ethiopia, a quality declared seed scheme is introduced. In Kenya, a new online tool for informing farmers on seed selection is introduced, and from Pakistan, the on-going efforts to reform and update the seed regulatory framework are presented, including the amendment of Seed Act 1976 and the enactment of new laws on plant variety protection and biosafety. The section on SEED PROGRAMS presents news from Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Syria, and Tunisia on the release of new improved varieties of wheat, barley, chickpea and lentil by respective national agricultural research systems from the productive partnerships with ICARDA. Bangladesh continues with its successful lentil revolution with the release of micro-dense varieties rich in iron and zinc. Ethiopia is a major producer of cool season food legumes and wheat in sub-Saharan Africa but diseases remain major challenges for crop production. The report includes the release of a rust resistant lentil variety by Debre Berhan Agricultural Research Center and rust resistant wheat varieties for the highlands by Sinana ARC and for irrigated areas by Werer ARC. The RESEARCH section of Seed Info captures information on adaptive research or issues relevant to developing seed programs in the CWANA region and beyond. This issue features an article entitled ‘Impacts of Ultra-drying on Molecular and Ultra- structural Profile of Pearl Millet Genotypes’ by Vijay et al. from the Division of Seed Science and Technology of the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, India. The paper discusses the effects of different drying methods and moisture content on changes observed at the molecular and ultrastructural levels in pearl millets. Four different drying methods, namely silica gel, saturated salt of lithium chloride, concentrated sulfuric acid, and seed dryer were used and their effects analyzed. The results indicate that seeds can be dried safely up to 3% mc without affecting viability and structural integrity. Drying also increases the storability of the genotypes.