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It is a legally sanctioned system for quality control and seed multiplication and production. It involves field inspection, pre and post control tests and seed quality tests.

Objective ofseed certification

To maintain and make available to the farmers, high quality seeds and propagating materials of notified kind and varieties. The seeds are so grown as to ensure genetic identity and genetic purity.

Eligibility forcertification of crop varieties

Seed of only those varieties which are notified under section 5 of the seeds Act, 1966 shall be eligible for certification.

Breeder seed is exempted from certification. Foundation and certified class seeds come under certification. Breeder seed is produced by the plant breeder and seed technologist which is inspected by a monitoring team consisting of the breeder, representative of seed certification agency (Deputy Director of Agriculture), representative of State Dept of Agriculture, representative of National Seed Corporation (NSC, Deputy Manger), representative of State Seed Corporation and nominee of crop co-ordinator. The crops shall be inspected at appropriate stage.

Concept ofSeed Certification

Concept of seed certification was originated in Sweden during twentieth century by visiting agronomist and plant breeder to the progressive farmers, who took seeds from them, primarily with the objective of educating them on how to avoid contamination. This initiated field inspection process.

SeedCertification Agency

Principles for forming seed citification agency:

  1. It should not involve in seed production and marketing

  2. It should have autonomy

  3. Seed certification procedure adopted should be uniform throughout the country

  4. It should closely associated with technical institutes

  5. It should operate on a no profit and no loss basis

  6. It should have adequate technical staff and facilities for timely inpection of seed fields

  7. It should serve the interests of seed producers and buyers


  1. Verification of seed source

  2. Receipt and scrutiny of application/Farm-1

  3. Field inspection

  4. Supervision of post harvesting and Seed Processing upgrading operations and sampling

  5. Seed Quality analysis and genetic purity evaluation

  6. Seed Treatment

  7. Bagging and Tagging

  8. Grant of Certificate

  9. Issue of release order (Farm-II)


    Seed has to be verified for by seed certification agency before distribution of seeds. During his first inspection of seed farm the Seed Certification officer will verify whether the seed used to raise the seed crop is from an approved source.


    • Application for registration

      Any person, who wants to produce certified seed shall register his name with the concerned Assistant Director of seed certification by remitting prescribed fee per crop, per season. There are 3 seasons under certification viz., kharif (June - September), rabi (October - January) and summer (February - May).

    • Sowing report(Application for the registration of seed farm)

      The seed producer who wants to produce certified seeds shall apply to the Assistant Director of Seed Certification in the prescribed sowing report form in quadruplicate with prescribed certification fees along with other documents such as tags to establish the seed source.

      Separate sowing reports are required for different crop varieties, different classes, different stages and if the seed farm fields are separated by more than 50 meters. Separate sowing reports are also required if sowing or planting dates differ by more than 7 days and if the seed farm area exceeds 25 acres. The sowing report shall reach concerned Assistant Director of Agriculture Seed Certification within 35 days from the date of sowing or 15 days before flowering whichever is earlier.

      In the case of transplanted crops the sowing report shall be sent 15 days before flowering. The producer shall clearly indicate on the reverse of sowing report, the exact location of the seed farm in a rough sketch with direction, distances marked from a permanent mark like mile stone, building bridge, road, name of the farm if any, crops grown on all four sides of the seed farm etc., to facilitate easy identification of the seed farm by the seed certification officer.

      The Assistant Director, Seed Certification on receipt of the sowing report, scrutinises and register the seed farm by giving a Seed Certification number for each sowing report. Then he will send one copy of the sowing report to the Seed Certification officer, on to the Deputy Director of Seed Certification and the third to the producer after retaining the fourth copy.



    The objective in conducting field inspection is to verify the factors which can cause irreversible damage to the genetic purity or seed health.


    The seed certification officer authorized by the registering authority shall attend to field inspections.


    The number of field inspections and the stages of crop growth at which the field inspections should be conducted vary from crop to crop. It depends upon duration and nature of pollination of the seed crop.

    If the crop is grown for hybrid seed production, the number of field inspections during the flowering stage should be more than one in the case of self-pollinated / cross / often cross pollinated varieties.

    In hybrid seed production and variety seed production of cross pollinated crops the inspection during flowering should be made without any prior notice of the seed grower to judge the quality of operation undertaken by him to maintain the genetic purity of the crop. But in the case of self-pollinated crop the seed grower may be informed about the date of inspection.

    In the former case if prior notice is given to the seed grower, it may not be possible to detect the damage by the contaminants whereas in the latter case prior notice will lead to improvement of the quality of the seed production work and thus the quality of seed.

    The key points to be observed at each stage of inspection Stage of crop

    Key points to be observed at inspection

    Stage of crop

    Key points to be observed at inspection

    1.Pre flowering stage (Vegetative Stage)

    • Verification of seed source

    • Confirmation of acreage given in the report.

    • Proceeding crop requirement

    • Planting ratio

    • Border rows

    • Isolation distance

    • Guide the grower in identification of offtypes, pollen shedder, diseased plants, shedding tassels etc.,

    2.Flowering Stages (May be II and III inspections when 50% of plants begin to flower).

    • Confirm the observation of plants inspection were correct.

    • Confirm whether grower had continued thorough rouging, after the previous inspection.

    • Verify the removal and occurrence of offtypes, pollen shedders, shedding tassels, objectionable weed plants and diseased plants.

    3.Inspection during post flowering and pre-harvesting stage.

    • Confirm the correctness of observations, made in earlier inspections.

    • Guide the grower on rouging, based on pods, earhead, seed and chaff characters such as colour, shape and size.

    • Explain to the grower when and how to harvest the crop and process.

    4.Inspection during harvest (This is the last inspection conducted on a seed crop).

    • Verify that male parent rows have been harvested separately.

    • Ensure complete removal of offtypes, other crops, weeds and diseased plants etc.,

    • Seal properly by the certification agency of the threshed produce after initial cleaning and drying.

    • Instruct the seed growers for sage storage and transportation.

    Field counts

    The purpose of field inspection is to find out field standards of various factors in the seed farm. It is impossible to examine all the plants in the seed farm. Hence, to assess the field standards of various random counting is followed.

    Points to be observed before counting

    1. All plants falling in each count must be examined for each factor

    2. In hybrid seed field the prescribed number of the field counts should be taken in each parent separately.

    Number of counts to be taken

    The number of counts taken and the method employed in taking counts vary from crop to crop. It is necessary to take minimum of 5 counts upto 5 acres and an additional count for every 5 acres or part of as given below.

    Area of the field (in acres)

    Area of field (in acres)

    Number of counts to be taken

    Up to 5










    Double count

    In any inspection. if the first set of counts shows that the seed crop does not confirm to the prescribed standard for any factor, a second set of counts should be taken for the factor. However, when the first set of counts shows a factor more than twice the maximum permitted, it is not necessary to take a second count.

    On completion of double count assess the average for the two counts. It should not exceed the minimum permissible limit.

    Number of plants for a count

    Sl No.


    Number of plant/head per count



    Soybean, Jute, Lucerne, Mesta, Breseem

    1000 plants

    Closely planted crops


    Beans, Cluster beans, Cowpea, Green gram, Black gram, Peas, Mustard, Sesame, Bengal gram, Safflower, Niger

    500 plants

    Medium Spaced Crops


    Bhendi, Brinjal, Chilli, Castor, Cole crops, Cotton, Cucurbits, Groundnut, Maize, Poato, Redgram, Tomato and Sunflower

    100 plants

    Wide spaced crops


    Bajra, Barley, Oats, Paddy, Wheat, Ragi, Sorghum

    1000 plants

    Tillering crops

    Sources of contamination or factors to be observed

    The contaminants are

    1. Physical contaminants-Inseparable crop seeds, other crop seeds, objectionable weed seeds

    2. Genetical contaminants- Offtypes, pollen shedders, shedding tassel Physical contaminants are inseparable other crop plants, objectionable weed plants and diseased plants. Genetical contaminants consists off-types, pollen shedders and shedding tassels.

      • Off type

        Plant that differs in morphological characters from the rest of the population of a crop variety.

        Off type may belong to same species or different species of a given variety. Plants of a different variety are also included under off types. Volunteer plants and mutants are also off types.

      • Volunteer plant

        Volunteer plants are the plants of the same kind growing naturally from seed that remains in the fields from a previous crop.

      • Pollen shedders

        In hybrid seed production involving male sterility, the plants of 'B' line present in 'A' line are called pollen shedders.

        Some times 'A' line tends to exhibit symptoms of fertile anthers in the ear heads of either on the main tiller or side tiller and these are called partials. These partials are also counted as pollen shedders.

      • Shedding tassels

        These plants which shed or shedding pollen in female parent rows. When 5 cm or more of the entire spike, which shed or shedding are counted.

      • Inseparable crop plants

        These are plants or different crops which have seed similar to seed crop

      • Objectionable weed plants

        These are weeds

        1. Whose seeds are difficult to be separated once mixed

        2. Which are poisonous

        3. Which have smothering effect on the main crop

        4. Which are difficult to eradicate once established

        5. Difficult to separate the seeds. These seeds cause mechanical admixtures

      • Designated diseases

        The diseases which may reduce the yield and quality of seeds are termed as designated diseases.

    Inspection report

    The seed certification officer after taking field counts and comparing them with the minimum field standards, the observations made on the seed farm field should be reported in the prescribed proforma to

    1. Deputy Director of Agriculture (Seed Certification)

    2. To the Seed Producer

    3. Assistant Director of Agriculture (Seed Certification) and

    4. Fourth copy retained with seed certification officer

    Assessment of seed crop yield

    It is necessary to avoid malpractice's at the final stage during harvest operation. The seed certification officer is expected to fix the approximate seed yield.

    Liable For Rejection Report (L.F.R)

    If the seed crop fails to meet with any one factor as per the standards, Liable for Rejection report is prepared and the signature of the producer is obtained and sent to Deputy Director of Agriculture Seed Certification within 24 hours.


    For the factors which can be removed without hampering the seed quality, the producer can apply for re-inspection to the concerned Deputy Director of Agriculture Seed Certification within 7 days from the date of first inspection order. For reinspection half of the inspection charge is collected.

  4. Supervision of post harvesting and Seed Processing upgrading operations and sampling

    The post harvest inspection of a seed crop covers the operations carried out at the threshing floor, transport of the raw seed produce to the processing plant, precleaning, drying, cleaning, grading, seed treatment, bagging and post processing storage of the seed lot.

    Pre-requisites for processing

    1. Processing report should accompany the seed lot

    2. Seed should be processed only in approved processing unit.

    3. ODV test for paddy should be done at the time of sealing and issue of processing report or before processing. If the result exceeds 1% of the produce may be rejected.

    4. It should be correlated with the estimated yield

    5. Field run seed should be brought to the processing unit within the 3 months from the date of final inspection. Processing and sampling should be done within 2 months in oil seed crops and 4 months for other crops from the date of receipt in the processing unit. In cotton the kapas from the passed lot should be moved to the ginning factory within 5 days from the date of issue of processing report. The ginning should be done within 3 months from the date of final harvest inspection report. Ginned seeds should be moved to seed processing unit within in 5 days of ginning. Inspection and sampling should be done within 3 months after ginning.

    Intake of raw produce and lot identification

    The seed certification officer in-charge of the seed processing plant may, after verification of the above stated documents and total amount of seed accept the produce for processing. After verification he should be issue a receipt to the seed grower. Each seed lot has tobe allocated a separate lot number for identification.

    Processing of seed lot

    1. It is done to remove chaff, stones, stem pieces, leaf parts, soil particles etc from the raw seed lot.

    2. Grading to bring out uniformity in the seed lot.

    3. Seed treatment to protect it from storage pests and diseases.

    Processing inspection

    1. The processing should be done in the presence of concerned seed certification officer.

    2. The recommended sieve size should be used for grading

    3. The recommended sieve size should be used for grading

      This is done by conducting a float test. Take 400 seeds from the processed seed and put in to a tumbler of water. Count the floating paddy seeds. Maximum float admissible is 5%. If the float seeds exceed the limit, adjust the air flow or feeding to perfect the processing.

    4. In maize before shelling the cobs should be examined for off type and off coloured kernels. Individual cobs should be examined with reference to its vareital characters. The cobs of off types and off coloured kernels should be rejected.

    5. Seed sorting in cotton.

    The ginned seeds will be evaluated for its quality. A maximum of 3 % for the following factors can be taken into accounts.

    1. Immature seeds

    2. Ill filled seeds

    3. Broken seeds

    4. Stained seeds and

    5. Over fuzzy seeds

    Seed sampling

    During packaging Seed Certification officer will draw samples according to ISTA Procedure and send the sample to Assistant Director of Agriculture (See Certification) concerned within a day of sampling.

  5. Seed quality analysis and genetic purity evaluation

    The ADASC will in turn send the sample to the Seed Testing Laboratory within 3 days of receipt of the sample to testing seed standards viz., physical purity, germination, moisture content and seed health as prescribed. The Seed Testing Officer will communicate the result to the ADASC concerned within 20 days.

    On receipt of the analytical report the ADASC will communicate the result to the producer and Seed Certification officer.

    For foundation seeds and hybrids genetic purity test has to be conducted by GOT test.

  6. Seed Treatment

    Seeds has to be treated with specified chemical/ recommended chemical to that crop.

  7. Bagging and Tagging

    After receiving the seed analytical report the Seed Certification officer will get the tag from the ADASC and affixes labels (producer's label) and tags (blue for Certified Seed and White for Foundation Seeds) to the containers and seals them to prevent tampering and grants certificate fixing a validity period for 9 months. Tagging should be done within 60 days of testing.

  8. Grant of Certificate

    After receiving the seed analytical report the Seed Certification officer will get the tag from the ADASC and affixes labels (producer's label) and tags (blue for Certified Seed and White for Foundation Seeds) to the containers and seals them to prevent tampering and grants certificate fixing a validity period for 9 months. Tagging should be done within 60 days of testing.

  9. Issue of release order

    Certification agency will issue release order and seed can be released for market based on that order

    Resampling and reprocessing

    When a seed lot does not meet the prescribed seed standards in initial test, on request of the producer Seed Certification Officer may take resample.

    If the difference in germination analysed and required is within 10, then straight away resampling can be done. If it is >10, reprocessing and resampling may be done.

    The producer should request the Seed Certification Officer concerned in writing within 10 days from the receipt of the result. No charge is collected for resampling.

    When a seed lot, fails even after free sampling reprocessing can be taken upon special permission from Deputy Director Seed Certification. For such reprocessing a fee of Rs.20/- Q and lab charges Rs.10/- Q is collected.

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