Seed World

CSGA’s International Priority in a Single Word: Harmonization

“Harmonization is the most beautiful word in seed certification,” says CSGA’s Doug Miller. Here’s why, and what Canada is doing to make it happen… 

At the 2023 AOSCA Annual Meeting in Bloomington, Minn. (June 4-7) Doug Miller, executive director of the Canadian Seed Growers Association (CSGA),  sat down with Aiden Brook, director of partner development at Seed World Group, to talk about the global importance of seed certification, Canada’s goals at the AOSCA AGM, and why one single word words make all the difference to seed movement. That word? Harmonization.

“There is no more beautiful word in seed certification than harmonization,” Miller said in the chat. “You don’t want to have different standards; you want to get within the same ballpark for all of these systems.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, one of CSGA’s most important roles within AOSCA  , and Miller’s most important priority at the AGM, is to continually remind association leadership and industry colleagues about the value of harmonization. 

“We don’t work in silos. This is not just a U.S.-based organization. It’s a global organization, so it’s about making sure that we have a global approach to seed quality and seed certification,” he said.

CSGA has a long and consistent history of underlining that message. CSGA was founded back in 1904 with “public good in mind”, said Miller, and in 1919 became a founding member of AOSCA. For more than 100 years, CSGA has promoted international harmonization to promote efficient movement of seed between contires, ensuring Canadian producers have access to high quality seed and remain internationally competitive. 

That starts with AOSCA providing a minimum baseline for seed certification or, as Miller calls it, a “common currency” for seed movement. 

“It’s all about having a common set of rules and standards that give the importing country confidence that the incoming seed meets a certain quality parameter,” he explained. 

From there, Canada and other countries (and states within countries) can decide whether or not to develop their own higher expectations, an important opportunity for those countries that prioritize value-add. 

“Each AOSCA agency including Canada can create standards above [the baseline]. That’s where countries like Canada are able to develop a quality advantage: taking the baseline and making it uniquely Canadian,” said Miller. 

“International frameworks like this allow us to work internationally to raise that bar of quality. Each state, each AOSCA agency or OECD country – is able to develop their standards on top of that, but behind it, underpinning it all is this common framework that we all agree to.”To hear more from Miller, check out the entire interview.