ISTA sounds alert on entry of suspicious seed into India

The International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) has cautioned the Indian government about smuggling of suspicious and unrecognised (spurious) seed into the country through e-commerce entities following such incidents in the USA during the past one week.

Director of Telangana State Seed and Organic Certification Authority (TSSOCA) K. Keshavulu, in his capacity as the vice president of ISTA, has stated that ISTA has received information that people in Washington, New York, Virginia, Florida and a few other States in the US have been receiving seed packets through e-commerce companies without ordering for them. Besides, the suspicious seed packets are unrecognised and have no details of origin.

“Following the unwanted/unsolicited delivery of such suspicious seed packets for the past one week, the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has cautioned people, particularly those engaged in farming, against opening such suspicious seed packets, sowing them in farms or backyards or disposing in the garbage and urged them to give information to the officials,” the ISTA vice president said explaining the US response to the unwanted seed supply in violation of customs and import regulations being termed as “brushing scam and seed terrorism” there.

Mr. Keshavulu said the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an agency of USDA, had conducted inspection in the US borders to find out about the suspicious seed illegally transported into the US had come to a conclusion that they had originated from China. The neighbouring Canada too had alerted the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CIA), its regulatory agency that safeguards food, plants and animals and works for enhancing the health and well-being of the country’s people, environment and economy, to be cautious against entry of such suspicious seed into the country.

Stating that such suspicious seed supply would have threats not only for the food security but also on environment and human health, the ISTA vice president said such seeds carry the threat of pest attacks and poisonous weeds with them harming the entire ecosystem of agriculture. Along with ISTA several international seed agencies have also become alert about the entry of such suspicious seed into the supply-chains and have decided to caution the stakeholders.

On its part, the ISTA would officially take the issue to the notice of the Indian government soon, Mr. Keshavulu said.

In his capacity as Director of TSSOCA and Managing Director of Telangana State Seed Development Corporation (TSSDC) Mr. Keshavulu requested farmers and seed companies in the State to inform officials immediately in case they come across such suspicious seed packets.

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