Frequently Asked Questions

What is the World Seed Partnership (WSP)?

The World Seed Partnership (WSP) is a joint initiative of five international organizations to support the development of the seed sector in countries around the world.

  • Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)
  • International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)
  • International Seed Testing Association (ISTA)
  • International Seed Federation (ISF)
  • World Farmers’ Organisation (WFO)

Bringing together the knowledge and expertise of its partners, the WSP aims to provide guidance on the development of an appropriate and effective seed regulatory framework built on the following elements:

  • An effective system of plant variety protection to encourage plant breeding
  • Enhanced seed quality assurance for better performance
  • A reliable and internationally acceptable seed varietal certification system for seed movement
  • A vibrant seed industry to ensure farmers’ access to improved varieties and quality seed
  • The important role of farmers in sustainable agriculture


What is the purpose of the World Seed Partnership (WSP)?

The purpose of the WSP is to provide information on the aim of each organization and to explain how they help countries to achieve food security and further economic development in the rural sector.


What was behind the initiative to form the partnership?

Agriculture faces the challenge of providing food security in the context of population growth, urbanization, and climate change through sustainable production. The availability of an increasing choice of healthy, tasty and nutritious food at affordable prices relies on good quality seed and high-performing varieties that are adapted to the environment in which they are grown. Equally important, agricultural production needs to provide a viable income to farmers.

Each of the WSP organizations is working to address parts of these challenges facing agriculture but were acting independently in the past. It was realized that the organizations acted complementarily and that there were valuable synergies for stakeholders in the seed sector if they collaborate.


What kind of support can the World Seed Partnership provide?

The WSP website provides a focal point for guidance and information on the development of an appropriate and effective seed regulatory framework for the benefit of farmers. Contact us to discuss how the WSP and its member organizations can provide support.


What has the World Seed Partnership done so far?

The first step was to agree on how the WSP organizations could collaborate and then to establish the WSP website as a key point of contact.

The United Republic of Tanzania was the first country to benefit from the World Seed Partnership initiative. It is now a member of the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), has a national seed testing laboratory accredited by the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), is a member of the OECD Seed Schemes, a programme of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and has strong national seed and farmers’ associations in place.

In 2018, in Myanmar, the WSP organizations were present at a workshop with high-level policy makers to provide examples of how the coordinated implementation of effective seed systems and policies would be beneficial for agriculture and the development of the rural economy.

In 2019, the WSP organizations participated in a seed-focused Congress in Nigeria where the WSP organisations were able to meet a wide range of stakeholders from the political and agricultural sector, the seed industry, policy makers to farmers and seed producers. In the meantime Nigeria has a national seed testing laboratory, which is member of the International Seed Testing Association (ISTA), is an observer country to the OECD Seed Schemes


Who are the organizations in the World Seed Partnership and what do they do?

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

The OECD's slogan is better policies for better lives. In OECD work on agriculture, explanations are given on the need for policies that can improve the productivity, the sustainability and the resilience of agriculture.

The OECD Seed Schemes are one of the few areas where the OECD is engaged in standard setting. OECD wants to ensure that those standards are compatible with those broader objectives to develop the agricultural sector.

The seed schemes of the OECD provide an internally harmonized varietal certification system that facilitates the movement of seed both nationally and internationally.

» Learn more about the OECD


International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV)

UPOV’s mission is to provide and promote an effective system of plant variety protection, with the aim of encouraging the development of new varieties of plants, for the benefit of society. The main objectives of UPOV are, in accordance with the UPOV Convention, to:

  • provide and develop the legal, administrative and technical basis for international cooperation in plant variety protection;
  • assist States and organizations in the development of legislation and the implementation of an effective plant variety protection system; and
  • enhance public awareness and understanding of the UPOV system of plant variety protection.

» Learn more about UPOV


International Seed Testing Association (ISTA)

The International Seed Testing Association is an independent organisation supported by the non-profit cooperation of experienced seed scientists and analysts. ISTA is a science-based and Government-driven authority in seed science and technology, we have been developing seed testing methods since 1924. Objectives of ISTA:

  • To develop, adopt and publish internationally agreed standard procedures (Rules) for seed sampling and seed testing.
  • To promote uniform application of standard procedures for evaluation of seeds involved in international trade.
  • To provide international seed analysis certificates for facilitation of international seed trade
  • To award accreditation to laboratories.
  • To actively promote research and dissemination of knowledge in seed science and technology, for the sampling, testing, storing, processing and distribution of seeds and training courses.
  • To encourage variety (cultivar) certification.

» Learn more about ISTA


International Seed Federation (ISF)

The International Seed Federation is the voice of the seed sector at global level. ISF represents national seed organizations throughout the world, and whose members represent 96% of the international seed trade today. ISF members, through National Seed Associations, and more than 7,500 seed companies, work simultaneously around the world to make quality seed and new varieties accessible to all farmers everywhere in the world.
A key priority of ISF is to provide seed choice for farmers to improve food production and to improve capacity to address climate change and other challenges.

» Learn more about ISF


World Farmers Organization (WFO)

The World Farmers Organization believes that seed being the basis of all production is one of the key components to many of the issues that farming is facing.

Farmers have to meet the demands of a growing population and to encourage the development of distribution systems to get the food to the people that need it. With regard to innovation, how do farmers deal with enhancing production levels and ensuring that they have the capacity to be able to meet the needs of the consumers and the people to be fed in the world? It has always been the goal of farmers to continue to do that work, but it is going to take some of the technology innovation to make it happen as population continues to grow and faced with climate changes.

The World Farmers Organization ensures the participation of farmers in relevant discussions for ensuring farmers have access to the new plant varieties and sustainable and affordable seeds.

The World Farmers Organization represents farmers around the world, representing their interests and giving them a voice on key issues that impact farming.

With climate change becoming a real issue, farmers are going to need seed development to deal with the necessities to continue to grow based on what the climate changes do to each and every geographical region in the world.

» Learn more about WFO


How and where can I meet someone from the World Seed Partnership?

The World Seed Partnership contact persons participate in various regional and international activities. To find a WSP representative in your area or to find out more about how the partnership can help you and your country, please contact us.