COPE Course Unit

9.1 Course Objectives


  1. To enhance understanding on plant variety development and maintenance.
  2. To enhance knowledge and skill on seed borne pests, seed health testing and seed treatment.
  3. To enhance knowledge and skills on seed production and certification.
  4. To enhance knowledge on seed processing, transportation and storage.
  5. To impart knowledge and skills in plant material disease cleaning and germplasm exchange

9.2 Course Outline


  1. Variety development, testing, release and maintenance
  2. Seed production and certification
  3. Seed health testing and treatment
  4. Seed processing, transportation and storage in phytosanitary systems
  5. Germplasm cleaning and exchange
  6. Seed import and export procedures

9.3 Course Content


1.1.1 Variety development, testing, release and maintenance (1 Hour)
  1. General plant morphology: important plant parts (provide examples of maize and beans), define seed, seed morphology, anatomy and physiology
  2. Overview of breeding methods, type of seed (vegetatively propagated and true seed), seed classes (breeders, pre-basic, basic, standard), seed bulking
  3. Distinctiveness Uniformity Stability (DUS) test: varietal characteristics (qualitative and quantitative, primary and secondary characteristics), descriptors and their use; importance of phenological stages in recording of varietal characteristics
  4. National Performance Trials (NPT): variety evaluation in varying agro-ecological zones (AEZ), variety release (National Performance Trials Committee (NPTC), National Variety Release Committee (NVRC), variety registration and National Variety List (NVL).
  5. v. Variety maintenance, joint observations (stage 1, 2 and 3), role of breeder(s) and inspector(s) in joint observations and maintenance programme.
1.1.2 Seed production and certification (2 Hours)
  1. Quality aspects of seed, site selection, grower selection, isolation, rogueing, off types, noxious weeds, seed borne diseases of selected crops and their management, physiological and harvesting maturity, seed harvesting, seed drying, handling and storage.
  2. Eligibility of varieties for certification, registration of seed merchants, growers and seed crops, seed classes, field inspection, processing, sampling, seed testing, sealing and labeling, pre and post control tests.
  3. Seed certification schemes: OECD, UPOV
  4. Seed associations: STAK, AFSTAK
  5. Seed standards: field and Laboratory standards, EAC, ECOWAS, ISTA, SADC, COMESA and others seed standards
1.1.3 Seed health testing and treatment (2Hours)
  1. Seed borne pests, mode of transmission,
  2. seed health testing methods: ISTA, ASTA, AOSA, AOSCA
  3. Seed certification standards for seed borne pests, recommended seed treatment methods, worker health and environmental safety.
1.1.4 Seed processing, transportation and storage in Phytosanitary systems (2 Hours)
  1. seed processing: seed processing equipment, processing facility inspection (seed shelling machines), drying processes, sieves, seed dressing machines, labelling and sealing, seed packaging,
  2. seed transportation and storage: type of transportation;, seed store space, ventilation, palletizing; separation of seeds from contaminants, freedom from pests; store conditions-temperature and humidity, storage materials)
  3. seed lot inspection, post control, seed re-sampling for testing
1.1.5 Germplasm cleaning and exchange (2 Hours)
  1. Germplasm cleaning: importance of disease cleaning, principles of virus cleaning
  2. Methods of disease cleaning: thermotherapy, meristem tip culture, chemotherapy, cryotherapy; mass multiplication, basic tissue culture techniques, testing for effectiveness of disease cleaning process, , re-testing
  3. Germplasm exchange: plant import and export regulations, procedures for moving disease mater
1.1.6 Seed import and export procedures (2 Hours)
  1. Seed import and export regulations: import and export procedures and requirements for example, SR14, plant import permit, Phytosanitary certificate, ISTA certificate, seed origin
  2. , commercialization: licensing of merchants, agents and seed sellers.
1.2 Case studies (2 Hours)

Maize seed certification, wheat seed certification; pulses seed certification or any other relevant crop to the country of training, showcase list of registered varieties for various countries

1.3 Exercises and practical – Part of field visits unit (10 Hours)

Field visit to seed company and seed laboratory

  1. seed field inspection and variety identification, post-control plot observation.
  2. seed sampling, seed health testing at seed testing laboratory,; meristem tip culture, tissue culture, including media preparation and inoculation).



  1. ISTA Handbook on Pure Seed Definitions, 3rd Edition, 2010
  2. International Seed Testing Association (2017), ISTA Handbook on Sampling, 1st Edition, Switzerland
  3. International Seed Testing Association (2017), ISTA Rules for Seed Testing, Switzerland.
  4. Seed processing and storage. Principles and practices of seed harvesting, processing, and Storage. temp/DG_SFSA_SeedProcessing and Storage.pdf
  5. Seed Certifica
  6. Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA).
  7. General Seed Certification Standa
  8. Minimum Seed Certification Standa tand.htm
  9. The International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV).
  11. Kenya Plant Health Inspectorate Service (2016), Seed Inspection Manual, Nairobi
  12. Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Seed Schemes; 2017th Edition, Paris
  13. Government of the Republic of Kenya, (2012) Seed and Plant Varieties Act, CAP 326, Kenya Law, Nairobi.
  14. Phytosanitary inspection procedures.
  15. Association of Official Seed Analysts (AOSA):
  16. Seed potato production and certification guideline
  17. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD):
  18. International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)
  19. Seed Trade Association of Kenya (STAK):
  20. African Seed Trade Association (AFSTAK):
  21. East Africa Community (EAC):
  22. Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS):
  23. International Seed Testing Association (ISTA):
  24. Southern African Development Community (SADC):
  25. Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa: (COMESA)
  26. Variety list