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EUROPEAN-SEED.COM I EUROPEAN SEED I 11 of the rules to ensure an effective and efficiently operating system. The NDAs in participating countries are responsible for the implementation of the schemes and also for ensuring compliance with the rules and regulations as well as guidelines for control plot tests and field inspection of seed crops. Seed production is one of the most regulated sectors in most countries. Many countries have adopted strict laws and regulations that govern plant breeding production distribution and marketing of seed at the national and international level. In this context it is critical that national legislation is fully in line with international requirements. Stakeholders along the value chain work together to ensure that quality standards are maintained enhanced and consistently applied over time. The OECD Seed Certification Schemes consist of seven schemes with the admission to each scheme independent but subject to meeting the specific technical requirements. The schemes are 1. Grass and legume seed 2. Cereal seed 3. Crucifer and other oil or fiber species seed 4. Maize and sorghum seed 5. Sugar beet and fodder beet seed 6. Seed of subterranean clover and similar species and 7. Vegetable seed. The Maize and Sorghum Seed Scheme is the largest of the seven and accounts for over 50 per cent of all varieties listed in the OECD varietal List. The rapid growth in hybrids has been the main driving force behind this increase. SCHEMES AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL Seed schemes are administered by the NDA which is primarily respon- sible for ensuring that the rules are correctly and properly implemented. The NDA is normally appointed by the member countrys Ministry of Agriculture and can be part of the ministry or an agency authorised by the ministry. For seed to be traded with an OECD label the variety must be registered on the official OECD Varietal List. In order for this to occur a number of technical criteria must be first satisfied. Firstly only those varieties that are officially recognised as satisfying a test for distinct- ness uniformity and stability DUS and have an acceptable agronomic value in a participating country can be considered. Secondly all the certified seed produced must be related directly through one or more generations to authentic basic seed of the variety. Thirdly post-con- trol tests are conducted in order to assess if the implementation of the schemes are operating satisfactorily. Finally the variety must be listed on the official national certification catalogue of the country. The schemes facilitate imports and exports of seed by the removal of technical barriers using labels recognised globally which in effect act as a passport for the seed traded. The rules also set the technical speci- fications for seed multiplication outside the country and this is becoming more important in the northern hemisphere to ensure adequate supplies of high-quality seed of the variety during the sowing season. While the OECD schemes set the quality standards for seed that is traded internationally more and more countries are now adopting these standards for their domestic seed production and domestic markets. The schemes are built on the participation of all stakeholders along the supply chain including regulators plant breeders seed producers traders and farmers in participating countries. Frequent meetings allow for a multi-stakeholder dialogue to exchange information and to find solutions to contentious issues. An effective and efficient national and international regulatory system is critical to ensuring that farmers have access to the best varieties of seed that are available globally. A further feature of the implementation relates to the close and constructive interaction between public and private stakeholders which has facilitated the issuing of official certificates and labels and resulted in the fast growth in trade of certified seed between countries. FAST FACTS THE VALUE OF THE GLOBAL SEED MARKET IS ESTIMATED AT ABOUT US45 BILLION INTERNATIONAL SEED TRADE IS VALUED AT ABOUT US9 BILLION ANNUALLY THE OECD SEED CERTIFICATION SCHEMES ARE USED BY 59 MEMBER COUNTRIESOnly varieties that are officially distinct uniform and stable and with an acceptable agronomic value can be registered. PhotocourtesyOECD