TANZANIA Official Seed Certification Institute (TOSCI) in cooperation with seed stakeholders has developed seed certification standards for seed, seedlings, cuttings of tree, fruit and sugarcane crops.
The institute noted that the envisaged standards are currently on final approval by other authorities.
TOSCI’s Director General, Dr Patrick Ngwediagi said once the standards are approved then the state-owned Institute will immediately venture into the certification process of coffee, tea, sugarcane, pawpaw, cashew and grape vine crops.
“We’re working round the clock to ensure that all tree and fruit plant varieties for potential food as well as economic cash crops in the country are being professionally certified and registered,” he said.
Adding: “While we’re continuing with certification and registration of the tree, fruit and sugarcane crops, we have decided to embark on a vital exercise to train and register seed/seedlings/cuttings multipliers and sellers from across the country.”
He added that the TOSCI was working to assure all seed varieties that are certified and registered in the country are of high quality in terms of yields and resistance to diseases.
“Seed quality attributes are expressed in terms of germination, purity, vigor and seed health. During seed certification process crop varieties are tested based on those aspects,” he explained.
However, the TOSCI Director General detailed that during variety registration, the institute normally checks for Value for Cultivation and Use (VCU) whereby a variety is tested for its adaptability, yield, diseases and drought tolerances or any other point of merit stated by the breeder/applicant.
In a further effort to help improve performance and standards of the seed sector across the country, Dr Ngwediagi communicated that the institute had implemented a special programme to capacitate seed dealers across the country to deliver services in accordance with the Seed Act, 2003 and its regulations.
He noted that there were some dealers who marketed seeds that their germination validity had expired (of above 7 months), while others had embraced a negative tendency of opening seeds packages in order to re- measure and sell it in different quantities.
“After investigating and realizing over the said irregularities in seed marketing, we had patriotically decided to take a sober initiative to educate seed dealers so as to assist them to perform their business according to the Seeds Act and Regulations,” he stated.
Moreover, he briefed that some of the seed traders have marketed seeds without official TOSCI labels or labels for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).