Seed World

Why the Single Window Seed Model is Key to our Future

Roy van Wyk
Executive Director
Canadian Seed Institute

Efficiency is key in just about every area of our lives, especially in these days of modern technology where we’re used to everything being accessible with the click of a button. I imagine it’s frustrating for people working in the seed industry when they call an organization for assistance, only to be redirected to another organization because the first one you talked to couldn’t help.

That’s why a presentation slide from the recent cross-country Seed Synergy workshops made me chuckle (see top of page), I can relate from my experience on the service delivery side. It illustrates what often happens to people who try to get information regarding our seed system. In an industry made up of six separate associations, stakeholders find themselves on time-consuming searches as they attempt to find out which organization is the authority on a particular subject.

This is one reason why I appreciate the Seed Synergy green paper’s Single Window proposal. The seed system is an information business. From breeding, to registration, to certification, all the way through to seed sales, there is a wealth of information associated with seed products. Therefore, how we use technology to manage, protect, share, and leverage information will be a key driver of success in the future.

The green paper envisions a Single Window user experience for information: one, easy-to-use, permission-based, secure place to input, store, and view all information associated with every function in the seed system.

It’s been two years since the Seed Synergy discussions officially began, and for me the most satisfying part has been working more closely with the other five associations that make up our industry. I’m very service-oriented, and working more closely with the other executive directors has given me better insight into what we’re doing right, what we need to do better, and how we can actually go about improving on those things.

I think the function CSI serves will continue to be important in a next-generation seed system model. Whether we exist in a slightly different fashion in a Single Window system has yet to be decided. But I’m very encouraged by what I’ve seen so far, and by the positive response from those who attended our cross-country workshops held during the first two months of this year, and by those who took time to send in their comments via

From an industry leadership perspective, the Synergy vision is that of crop value chains playing a much larger role in making decisions about regulatory requirements, and how each crop type is managed. The Single Window model acts as a sort of backbone for the rest of the proposals put forward in the green paper. Under a single window system, the other proposals included therein — from value creation to traceability to leadership models — would work much better and more efficiently.

Now that the workshops have wrapped up, we’re slated to have a final Synergy white paper finished no later than this summer. Stay tuned for more as we hone our ideas for what the future of the Canadian seed industry could be.