Improving the Capacity of Lab Analysts: to enhance seed quality control and assurance

Lab analysts practical training

Despite the efforts of many seed sector actors and partners, the results fell short of expectations, notably in terms of ensuring the production and availability of improved seeds to farmers. There are a lot of challenges which continue to limit the sector’s performance to respond effectively to the growing demand for improved seeds.

One of the key areas of the sector that needs support and improvement is the seed quality control and assurance system. Any variety that is released must meet the required specifications and be tested by a qualified and regulated seed laboratory. However, most seed laboratories in the country are not equipped with adequate logistics and lack qualified lab analysts.

ENSP focused on enhancing the capacity of selected seed laboratories throughout the country, recognizing the need of improving seed quality control and assurance. ENSP conducted a blended training on Seed Laboratory Testing techniques and procedures as part of this initiative. The training was organized at Asela Seed Laboratory. The training’s main goal was to equip participants with the necessary seed testing skills that would allow them to undertake practical assignments to a satisfactory standard. It also aims to enhance their comprehension of the fundamental principles underpinning various seed testing criteria, particularly the ISTA standards and procedures.

The training was more focused on practical seed health tests, such as pathogen (fungi detection, for example) and seed sampling, germination and purity tests, and tetrazolium and phenol tests. Because the training was conducted in a real laboratory setting, participants were able to put what they had learned into practice. This helped trainees in acquiring basic seed testing skills by allowing them to learn by doing.

The training was organized for four days from April 27th -30th, a total of 20 seed analysts drawn from Amhara, Oromia, SNNP, Benishangul-Gumuz regions and federal central laboratory participated.