Iowa State to Work with FAO on International Seed Issues

An agreement to work on seed issues worldwide has been signed by officials in the Iowa State University College of Agriculture and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations. The FAO leads international efforts to defeat hunger. "No matter how hard farmers work, they cannot produce a good crop from bad seed," said Manjit Misra, director of the ISU Seed Science Center. "Science-based policies and regulations is the key to making good seed available at the right time to a farmer anywhere in the world, whether in eastern Iowa or in East Africa." Misra said Iowa State and the FAO will collaborate in three areas - harmonization of seed policies and regulations worldwide; strengthening national capacities in modern seed technology, biotechnology, seed exchange and quality assurance; and conservation and utilization of plant genetic resources through seeds. Initial talks between ISU Seed Science Center personnel and FAO officials took place in 2003. Catherine Woteki, dean of the College of Agriculture, and David Acker, associate dean, traveled to FAO headquarters in Rome in August 2004 to finalize the negotiations and the agreement. "The FAO has representation from 187 countries and our Seed Science Center has conducted programs in more than 50 countries in the last 10 years," Acker said. "This agreement opens the door for collaborative undertakings in food safety and security issues worldwide."