Iowa State University’s Seed Science Center (SSC) is poised to inaugurate an online training program on the life cycle of biotech-derived seeds as part of its scope of work as a sub-awardee to a USAID grant.
The grant, of which the Program for Biosafety Systems (PBS) of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is the prime proponent, aims to foster an environment that enables the development and application of agricultural biotechnology to address global food security concerns. For its part, the SSC is charged with enhancing the training participants’ awareness of the life cycle of biotech-derived seeds as it transpires within the U.S. public sector. Trainees include members of national seed and biosafety advisory and regulatory committees, their legal teams, and other officials of seed and biosafety authorities of African countries that have been prioritized in the U.S. Global Food Security Strategy.
SSC’s work forms part of an integrated package of coordinated technical assistance. The goal is to develop national and regional capacity at every stage of the life cycle of biotech seeds—from their inception to their use. The online training will be followed by a two-week onsite internship of select participants on the ISU campus in Ames, Iowa in June 2024.
In addition, to help strengthen the seed systems of Ethiopia and Malawi, SSC is preparing national variety release procedure manuals for both countries that are aligned with regional seed and biosafety frameworks and technical agreements. These variety release manuals will be accompanied by procedure manuals for the certification of seeds, including those of genetically modified and genome-edited crops. This activity involves holding online workshops to review, finalize, and recommend the approval and implementation of the manuals with representatives of seed and biosafety authorities in each country.
“Our trainees’ increased capacities to manage and conduct research and development initiatives, as well as drive and implement critical policy reforms, will consequently foster conditions that buttress food security,” said Rodriguez, interim SSC director. “The Seed Science Center has had a long history of collaboration with IFPRI-PBS in conducting this type of work in critical food security target areas across the globe. These initiatives include fostering, wherever they are needed, a vibrant seed sector able to produce quality seeds and making them available to small-scale farmers. They also often entail understanding how biotechnology can be deployed to feed and nourish growing populations while sustaining the environment.”
“The SSC has an extensive history of global engagement and experience in this type of collaborative work,” Rodriguez explains. “We have footprint in 79 countries over the past 20 years, helping to expand producers’ access to quality seed, facilitate seed trade, and promote the growth of national seed systems.”
Dr. Lulu Rodriguez, Seed Science Center, 515-294-5363, email@example.com
Cynthia Hicks, Seed Science Center, 515-296-5386, firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Seed Science Center
The Seed Science Center, housed at Iowa State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in Ames, Iowa, improves the production, quality assurance, marketing, utilization and regulatory environment of seed through research, testing, teaching, outreach and international programs. Many of the roughly 800 private seed companies in the United States rely on tests conducted by this world-renowned Center to support claims about the quality and performance of their products. Over the past 20 years, the Center has implemented programs to improve seed research and innovation, enterprise development, policy and regulation, and the general capacity of seed systems in 79 countries.