Seed Production System in India 


ln India seed programme largely to the limited generations’ system for seed multiplication in a phased manner. The system recognizes three generations namely breeder, foundation, and certified seeds and provides adequate safeguards for quality assurance in the seed multiplication chain to maintain the purity of variety as it flows from breeder to the farmer.

Genetic and Agronomic principles of seed production ...

Breeder Seed

Breeder seed is the progeny of nucleus seed of a variety and is produced by the originating breeder or by a sponsored breeder. Breeder seed production is the mandate of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and is being undertaken with the help of ICAR Research Institutions National Research Centres and All India Coordinated Research Project of different crops, State Agricultural Universities (SAUS) established in different States, Sponsored breeders recognized by selected State Seed Corporations and Non-Governmental Organizations. 

The indents from various seeds producing agencies are collected by the State Departments of Agriculture and submitted to the Department of Agriculture and Cooperation  (DAC), Ministry of Agriculture, Government of India, which is turn compiles the whole information crop wise and sends it to the Project Coordinator/Project Director of the respective crops in ICAR for final allocation of production responsibility to different SAUs/ICAR institutions. 

The allocation of responsibility for production of breeder seed is discussed in the workshop in respect of the particular crop and is made to various centres as per the facilities and capabilities available at the centres and the availability of nucleus seed of a particular variety. 

The details compiled and forwarded to ICAR in advance. To make the programme systematic, and for proper evaluation of the breeder seed production programme, monitoring teams have been constituted and reporting performance have been devised. The monitoring terms consist of breeder of the variety, the concerned Project Director or his nominee, representative of NSC and state certification agency. The production of breeder seed is reviewed every year by ICAR-DAC in the annual seed review meeting
The actual production of breeder seed by different centres is intimated to DAC by ICAR. On recipt of information from ICAR, the available breeder seed is allocated to all the indenters in an equitable manner. In the case of varieties which are relevant only to a particular State, the indents for breeder seeds are placed by the concerned Director of Agriculture with the SAUS/ICAR institutions in the State. The breeder seed produced is lifted directly by the Director of Agriculture or foundation seed producing agencies authorized by him.

Foundation Seed 

Foundation seed is the progeny of breeder seed and is required to be produced from breeder seed or from foundation seed which can be clearly traced to breeder seed. The responsibility for production of foundation seed has been entrusted to the NSC, SFCI, State Seeds Corporation, State Departments of horticulture and private seed producers, who have the necessary infrastructure facilities. Foundation seed is required to meet the standards of seed certification prescribed in the Indian Minimum Seeds Certification Standards, both at the field and laboratory testing. This will be ensured by Certification agency .

Certified Seed 

Certified seed is the progeny of foundation seed and must meet the standards of seed certification prescribed in the Indian Minimum Seeds Certification Standards. This will be ensured by Certification agency.

Standards of Different Type of Seeds 

Types of seeds                        Genetic Purity Standards (%) 
Breeder/nucleus                                                                          100

Foundation seeds                                                                         99.5

Certified seeds varieties                                                              98

Certified hybrid seeds                                                                  95

Certified hybrid cotton                                                                 90

Certified hybrid castor                                                                  85

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