International Seed Schemes, Membership and Affiliations
SANSOR is also an Associate Member of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), and Eddie Goldschagg has been the Chair of the ISTA Bulking and Sampling Committee since 2013.
There are two major categories of seed classification:
National Seed Certification
The National Seed Certification system is an official system supported by South African 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.
Simply put, this means that sellers can guarantee high quality seed to farmers and other growers – true to identity, high in purity and germination capacity and for specific crops, free from certain diseases.
1: OECD Seed Schemes
The OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) Seed Schemes is an inter-governmental organisation that strives to promote international trade in seed through simplification and harmonisation of documents, inspection methods and testing procedures of seed. It aims to promote the production and use of seed with ongoing high genetic quality of which the sources can be guaranteed. In 2019, 61 countries participated in one or more of the Schemes.
These countries were from Europe, North and South America, Africa, the Middle East, Asia, Oceania, New Zealand and Australia. Membership is voluntary. South Africa has been a participating country in the OECD Seed Schemes since 1961 and was accepted as a participating country in the Cereal Scheme as recently as 2010. Eddie Goldschagg of SANSOR represents South Africa at the Annual Meeting of the OECD Seed Schemes, and formerly served as Chair of the Schemes and on the Bureau of the OECD Seed Schemes.
The eight seed schemes for various agricultural crop groups are indicated in the table below, as well as the year in which South Africa was accepted as a participating country in the respective Schemes.
OECD Seed Scheme
SA Participation since
Grasses and Legumes
Brassicas, Oil and Fibre Crops
Cereals (small grains)
Subterranean clovers & similar species
AOSCA Seed Certification
The Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) is dedicated to assisting clients in the production, identification, distribution and promotion of certified classes of seed and other crop propagation materials. Established in 1919 as the International Crop Improvement Association, AOSCA now has a number of member Agencies across the US, plus Global member countries located in Canada, South America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.
The purpose of AOSCA is to assist its members in providing and promoting seed certification, quality assurance, identity preservation and other services which facilitate the production and distribution of seed, grain, and other plant products. Its members provide a global network of organisations with the experience and resources necessary to provide these important services to the seed industry and related businesses.
AOSCA member Agencies are allowed to issue seed tags that assure customers they are receiving quality seed and crop products that have met AOSCA’s exacting production and documentation requirements. SANSOR was accepted by AOSCA as an Official Seed Certifying Agency in 2011 and may, therefore, certify seed according to the AOSCA standards. Eddie Goldschagg represents SANSOR and the AOSCA Global Region on the AOCSA Board of Directors.
SADC Seed Certification
The SADC Regional Seed Certification Protocol has not yet been activated.
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