The National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI), has been giving precedence to determine the viability of seeds through laboratory testing, as seeds with low yield capacity are predicaments in agriculture. Seed testing has been developed to minimize the risk by assessing the quality of seed before it is sown.
According to Ms. Yohana Ghirmay, a laboratory technician in NARI, the Ministry of Agriculture launched Seed testing laboratory in 2001. Ms. Yohana also stated that, the seed testing laboratory conducts three main tests namely; seed purity analysis, seed germination capacity and seed moisture content.
Seed Quality Testing has had different attributes which interest different segments of the industry; the producers, processors, traders, farmers, the regulatory authority and the government or agency responsible for seed control.
Seed Purity Analysis
Seed Purity Analysis determines, as its main objective, the percentage composition by weight of inert particles of the sample and by inference of the seed lot. As the working sample is separated into pure seeds, other seeds and inert matter; the percentage of each part is then determined by weight. The size of the working sample should weigh at least 2500 seed units.
According to Ms. Yohana, the duration of the test of individual species differ from crop to crop. Usually the test of cereals and legumes takes 7 days and for vegetables and fruits the test takes 15 days. She also indicated that the service is given to different partners like farmers; regulatory authorities of the government or agencies that are responsible for seed control.
Continuing her explanation, Ms. Yohana recommended; ‘Seed is a living biological product and its behavior cannot be predicted with certainty compared to the testing of inert or non-biological material. Therefore, seed analysis is important as seed moves across international frontiers. In all cases, the ultimate objective of making test is to determine the value of seed.’’
Finally, Ms. Yohana called upon farmers and other agricultural institutions to make best use of this classic laboratory technology prior to planting to boost their production and productivity.