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Seed Certification

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Mission of the Seed Certification Division

'To contribute to the development of a sustainable and competitive agricultural crops sector by implementing relevant legislation particularly relating to certification for seeds and plant propagating materials'

What is Seed Certification?

Seed certification is a quality assurance system whereby seed intended for marketing is subject to official control and inspection. At its simplest, the system certifies that a sack, packet or box of seed contains what it says on the label and that the seed was produced, inspected and graded, in accordance with the requirements of a Certification Scheme.

The immediate objective of seed certification is to supply high quality seed to farmers and other growers, which is true to identity, high in purity and germination capacity and free from certain pests and diseases. Seed quality is most important in crop production, as high quality seed is essential for good crop yields and good returns, and minimises the likelihood of crop failure.

The Seed Certification system is an official system supported by EU and National legislation and International protocols to ensure that seed is produced, multiplied and marketed according to predetermined standards and systems while maintaining the genetic integrity of the product. It is part of a wider system including plant breeding and plant breeder's rights, plant genetic resources, biodiversity and international trade.

Legal Basis

As a member of the EU, Ireland is obliged to implement the EU Seeds Directives and Regulations. These provide for common standards for seed certification across the EU Member States, and, in general, the free movement of certified seed. Each EU directive must be transposed into national law. Under EU and Irish law, it is illegal to market non-certified seed. In addition, EU standards for seed production are aligned to similar OECD standards, which facilitate worldwide trade in seed.

The following sections explain how the seed certification system works:

  1. Seed Certification Scheme
  2. Tops Potato Centre
  3. Plant Breeders' Rights (National Catalogue)
  4. Conservation of Plant Genetic Resources
  5. Seed Statistics
  6. Growers Guide to Seed Certification - Combinable Crops (pdf 390Kb) 
  7. Links to Related National and International Bodies