Seed World

A Rare Series of Events is Coming into Alignment

Roy van Wyk
Executive Director
Canadian Seed Institute

Top of mind for the seed industry this fall and winter is Seed Synergy. The CSI board is fully behind the Seed Synergy work and recently endorsed the White Paper at its November 2018 board meeting. Seed establishments and seed laboratories should feel a sense of pride knowing CSI represents the original Seed Synergy concept and CFIA’s first exercise in alternate service delivery.

A year ago, CSI was actively working with our Seed Synergy partners planning the Green Paper consultations, engaging consultants to conduct an economic impact assessment and risk analysis of our current seed system in Canada, and preparing for the first meeting of the Seed Synergy Oversight Committee.

A year has unfolded and the ideas in the Green Paper, with feedback from the entire seed industry, have evolved into a policy paper, the White Paper. A rare and unique series of events is coming into alignment that will empower the seed industry to make positive change.

We’ve come a long way and now the final hurdle is upon us — governance. How do we organize ourselves to best serve the industry?

The stakeholders in our industry are dependent on each other for success — breeders, growers, retailers, analysts, processors, distributors, agronomists, equipment manufacturers and more. From this diverse group of people, we need to find a group of champions, dreamers, visionaries, and investors to share their expertise and lead a new organization into the future.

We need to draw as well on the knowledge and experience of this diverse group of people from across Canada to drive the technical and operational committees, bringing all the voices together to manage and resolve issues. We need to focus on cost-effective and impartial delivery of services that manage conflicts of interest and separate certification decisions from advocacy.

And we also need to ensure we support and facilitate the varied markets and production systems, whether existing or emerging, such as identity preserved grains and oilseeds, organic products, sustainable agriculture, gluten-free certification, etc., because we have to acknowledge it’s the markets that drive our industry.

The innate potential programmed into a kernel of seed is a great metaphor for where we are today. We are on the verge of realizing the incredible potential of our industry to adapt and grow if we continue to focus on our common goals.