Seed Services is an institute in the Department of Research and Specialist Services (DR&SS), responsible for administration of Seeds Act [Chapter 19:13] enacted in 1971, Seeds Regulations and Seeds (Certification Scheme) Notice 2000, and Plant Breeders’ Act [Chapter 18:16]. The legislation basically governs production, processing, labelling and marketing of certified seed in Zimbabwe. This legal mechanism was therefore put in place with the main objective of promoting ‘production and use’ of high quality seed of proven performance for the protection of farmers. Within the institute is the Official Seed Testing Laboratory that is accredited to the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) and conducts purity, germination and moisture tests on agricultural, vegetable, tree and flower seed.
Plant Breeders’ Rights (PBRs) Act entails the recognition of varieties and variety protection. Other than issues of safe guarding varieties from bio-piracy and meeting the requirements of WTO, PBRs are a form of Intellectual Property Rights which are important in seed industry development for the following:-
- Encouragement of investment in plant breeding;
- Multiplication of foreign varieties in a country;
- Development of varieties adapted to specific conditions of each country;
- Maintenace of varieties;
- Protection of own varieties against appropriation of their varieties
To provide an efficient and effective seed quality control and variety protection service that ensures industry – wide ethical conduct to the satisfaction of our clients and stakeholders.
Seed Services mandate is to administer the two Acts of Parliament, the Plant Breeders Rights Act and the Seeds Act and their enabling regulations – Plant Breeders’ Rights Regulations, Seeds Regulations and the Seeds (Certification Scheme) Notice 2000. The scope of administering includes seed testing and quality control, filed inspections, recognition of varieties and variety protection.
Research and Development Thrust
Primarily on Seed Technology and include the following major functions:
- Seed testing
- Field inspections
- D.U.S evaluations
- Post control evaluations
- Seed seller’s licencing
- Laboratory auditing and accreditation
- Referee test programme
- Legislation Administration – Plant Breeders’ Rights Act, Seed Act, Seed Regulations and Seeds (Certification) Scheme Notice 2000.
- Research on seed related issues