Uniformity in seed quality evaluation worldwide
ISTA members, work together to achieve their vision of 'Uniformity in seed quality evaluation worldwide'. Our Association produces internationally agreed rules for seed sampling and testing, accredits laboratories, promotes research, provides international seed analysis certificates and training, and disseminates knowledge in seed science and technology. This facilitates seed trading nationally and internationally, and also contributes to food security.
Objectives of the Association
Following the Articles of the ISTA the objectives of the Association are:
(a) The primary purpose of the Association is to develop, adopt and publish standard procedures for sampling and testing seeds, and to promote uniform application of these procedures for evaluation of seeds moving in international trade.
(b) The secondary purposes of the Association are actively to promote research in all areas of seed science and technology, including sampling, testing, storing, processing, and distributing seeds, to encourage variety (cultivar) certification, to participate in conferences and training courses aimed at furthering these objectives, and to establish and maintain liaison with other organisations having common or related interests in seed.
Who we are
The International Seed Testing Association was founded in 1924 during the 4th International Seed Testing Congress held in Cambridge, United Kingdom. ISTA membership consists of member laboratories and sampling entities, personal members, associate members and industry members from more than 75 countries/distinct economies around the world. More than 130 of the ISTA Member Laboratories are accredited by ISTA and entitled to issue ISTA International Seed Analysis Certificates.
ISTA is independent and acts free from economic interest and political influence, it is unbiased, objective and fair. Furthermore, the hitherto unsurpassed expertise of ISTA is based on the non-profit cooperation of the international community of approximately 400 experienced, competent and energetic seed scientists and analysts.
What we do
As an authority in seed science and technology, ISTA continues its role as the developer of seed testing methods. Its major achievements and services provided to date are briefly the following:
- The ISTA International Rules for Seed Testing, guaranteeing worldwide annually updated, harmonised, uniform, seed testing methods
- The ISTA Accreditation Programme including Accreditation Standard, Proficiency Testing Programme and Auditing Programme guaranteeing worldwide harmonised, uniform, seed testing
- The issuing of the ISTA International Seed Lot Certificates by officially independent ISTA accredited and authorised laboratories
- The promotion of research, training, publishing and information in all areas of seed science and technology and cooperation with related organisations such as ISF, OECD, UPOV and many others
- Provides the basis for ensuring the trade of quality seed by developing standard seed testing methods
- Provides a platform for research and cooperation between seed scientists worldwide
- Promotes research and provides the opportunity for publishing and distributing of the technological data
- Guarantees worldwide harmonised, uniform seed testing through the Accreditation, Proficiency Test and Auditing Programmes
- Provides services and professional development programmes for furthering the education and experience of seed analysts around the world
- Provides an unbiased voice in the seed industry
The membership is a collaboration of seed scientists and seed analysts from universities, research centres and governmental, private and company seed testing laboratories around the world. ISTA values and promotes the diversity of membership, this being the basis for its independence from economic and political influence.
Management of the Association
ISTA is managed and directed by an Executive Committee, comprising of a President, Vice-President and 9 Members-at-large. All Executive Committee members are Designated Members of ISTA.
The finances and administration of the association is managed by the ISTA Secretariat, based in Switzerland. This is lead by the Secretary General with 8 staff members.
17 subject-focused Technical Committees are responsible for the development of new methodology for seed testing. The Technical Committees are made up of approximately 400 members, many of which are active in more than one committee. Each committee is headed by a chair and vice chair.
ISTA Technical Committees include Advanced Technologies, Bulking and Sampling, Flower Seed Testing, Forest Tree and Shrub Seed, Germination, GMO, Moisture, Nomenclature, Seed Health, Proficiency Testing, Purity, Rules, Statistics, Seed Storage, Tetrazolium, Variety, Vigour.