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Promoting the use of certified agriculture seed

The OECD Schemes for the Varietal Certification of Seed promotes the use of certified agriculture seed that is of consistently high quality. These seeds are produced – and officially controlled – according to a set of harmonised procedures put in place in the 61 participating countries. With membership open to OECD, UN and WTO countries, the aim is to stimulate the production and use of high quality seeds. There are eight schemes, each defined according to a group of species of cultivated plants – more than 200 agricultural and vegetable species in all. By ensuring consistently high standards, the Schemes contribute to its members' evolving agriculture and trade policies.

The OECD Schemes for the Varietal Certification or Controlling of Seed traded internationally was established in 1958. Membership is open to OECD, UN and WTO countries, and there are currently 61 member countries. The principal aim of all eight Seed Schemes in place is to encourage the production and use of high quality seed. Each Scheme is defined according to a group of species of cultivated plants; at present, 204 agricultural and vegetable species are covered. By ensuring consistently high standards, the Schemes contribute to its members' evolving agriculture and trade policies.

The OECD Schemes for the Varietal Certification or the Control of Seed Moving in International Trade include Rules and Regulations applicable to eight groups of species constituting the following Schemes:

  • Grasses and Legumes
  • Crucifers and other Oil or Fibre species
  • Cereals
  • Maize
  • Sorghum
  • Sugar and Fodder Beet
  • Subterranean clover and similar species
  • Vegetables


These rules and regulations define the technical standards developed by seed certification specialists in participating countries in close co-operation with other international seed-related organisations, such as FAO, ISF, ISTA and UPOV. Many regional seed representative organisations also participate in the development of technical standards.

The OECD is known for its evidence-based advice and standards, as well as for being a forum where national experts from different areas can meet and jointly develop common standards and procedures. This and the involvement of highly qualified seed experts in the standard setting process ensure the wide acceptance of the OECD seed varietal certification system, and its value to the global seed and agricultural sectors.

The World Seed Partnership (WSP) is an initiative established by ISF, ISTA, OECD and UPOV to promote access to new varieties and high quality seed that supports sustainable agricultural development.

List of varieties

The List of Varieties eligible for seed certification under the OECD Seed Schemes is available in our electronic database or for download in document format from the varieties section.

Rules, Regulations and Guidelines

Latest update

Marc Zienkiewicz sits down with World Seed Partnership representatives Ben Rivoire, Mark Watne, Jonathan Brooks, Michael Keller, Peter Button and Andreas Wais to talk about the purpose of the World Seed Partnership and how people can get involved. Interview conducted at the International Seed Federation's 2019 World Seed Congress in Nice, France.

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