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Multiplication of seed abroad

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What is Multiplication Abroad?

Canadian seed is often multiplied in the southern hemisphere over the winter enabling the seed company to gain an extra season of production. Similarly, foreign seed is often multiplied in Canada to gain the advantage of superior growing conditions or expertise in Canada. This multiplication abroad of pedigreed seed in a foreign country requires official inspection and certification in the foreign country.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Schemes for the Varietal Certification or the Control of Seed Moving in International Trade (the OECD Seed Schemes) have established voluntary guidelines for the multiplication of seed abroad, when the seed is certified pursuant to the OECD Seed Schemes. Many countries have adopted these OECD guidelines even for the certification of seed according to rules other than the OECD Seed Schemes; for example, those of the Association of Official Seed Certifying Agencies (AOSCA) of which Canada, Chile and Australia are members.

What is the Function of a Multiplication Agreement (MA)?

A MA establishes an official linkage between the National Designated Authority (NDA) in the country of origin of the seed (e.g., the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in Canada) and the NDA in the country of multiplication (e.g., the Servicio Agrícola y Ganadero (SAG) in Chile) so that the pedigreed status of the seed is maintained during multiplication in the foreign country.

Why do I need a Multiplication Agreement to multiply seed in a foreign country?

The MA between the Canadian and the foreign NDA ensures that the seed crop is inspected and certified according to internationally recognized standards and that the varietal identity, varietal purity and pedigreed status of the seed are maintained during the multiplication. Not all countries require MAs and in some cases, other mechanisms are in place to maintain the pedigreed status of the seed multiplied abroad.

How do I apply for a Multiplication Agreement?

An Application for Multiplication Agreement for Varietal Certification of Seed Multiplied Abroad (CFIA/ACIA 5747) form must be completed and submitted to the CFIA. This form is available online and includes explanatory notes. The deadline to submit an application is November 15th of every year. If the variety is not registered in Canada, a description of the variety must be submitted with the application. Any inquiries regarding Multiplication Agreements for Certification of Seed Multiplied Abroad should be directed to

Any further questions regarding import and export of seed should be directed to the CFIA's Seed Section.

Who issues the Multiplication Agreements?

The NDA of the country of origin of the seed issues the MA.

Is a Multiplication Agreement required for the multiplication abroad of experimental lines, unregistered varieties, parental lines and inbred lines of hybrids or Breeder status seed?

A MA is required when the NDA of the country of multiplication requires official notification of the multiplication in order to conduct the official seed crop inspection and certification of the seed (e.g., Australia and Chile).

Is a variety description required to be included with the MA application?

An official description of the variety is required for seed crop inspection in the country of multiplication and for variety verification testing. If the variety is registered in Canada, the CFIA or the Canadian Seed Growers' Association (CSGA) will already have a description of the variety. If the variety is not registered in Canada, then a variety description is required.

What information is included in the Multiplication Agreement?

The completed MA is signed by a representative from the NDA of the country of origin. In Canada, the National Manager of the Seed Section in the CFIA provides the foreign NDA with information on: the identity, pedigreed status and quantity of the seed to be planted, pedigreed status of the progeny, field size, and number of harvest years permitted. It also specifies whether or not variety verification and/or reference samples are required to be submitted to the CFIA.

How do I export seed to be multiplied abroad under a Multiplication Agreement?

Seed exported from Canada for multiplication abroad must be sealed, tagged and labelled in the same way as other seed moving internationally. Seed exported for multiplication abroad must meet the import requirements of the importing country including any phytosanitary requirements.

What are the Canadian import requirements for seed that has been multiplied abroad and returning to Canada?

The seed is subject to the same import conditions as any other seed. This may include import permits, purity and germination testing, phytosanitary testing and any additional certification requirements such as hybridity testing, depending on the crop kind, origin of the seed and other criteria. For specific requirements, please see the ABCs of Seed Importation into Canada.

How is hybrid canola certified after multiplication abroad and returned to Canada?

Hybrid canola seed sold in Canada is subject to hybridity testing and erucic acid testing prior to final certification by the CSGA. The testing may be conducted in the foreign country or in Canada.

Will I be required to submit variety verification samples or reference samples of the seed multiplied abroad?

All seed that is certified for export pursuant to the OECD Seed Schemes must be sampled at the time of export for variety verification testing by the CFIA. This includes Canadian seed exported for multiplication in a foreign country as well as foreign seed multiplied in Canada where the progeny is exported to the originating country. The CFIA also requires variety verification samples of Canadian seed multiplied abroad and returned to Canada for certification and sale.

The CFIA may request reference samples of Canadian seed of experimental lines, parental lines, or unregistered varieties multiplied abroad for comparison with the submitted variety verification samples. The CFIA also requests reference samples of foreign varieties multiplied in Canada when the variety is not registered in Canada.

Who submits the variety verification and reference samples?

The CFIA will draw variety verification samples from export lots certified by the CFIA. Variety verification samples of seed returning to Canada after multiplication in a foreign country are drawn by the Canadian company responsible for the multiplication and submitted directly to the CFIA. Reference samples are submitted by the Canadian or foreign variety developer at the request of the CFIA.

What happens when foreign seed is multiplied in Canada?

Canada does not require MAs for foreign seed multiplied in Canada however the foreign NDAs often provide notification of the multiplication as a courtesy to the CFIA. When the CFIA's Seed Section is notified by a foreign NDA of the multiplication of foreign seed in Canada, the Seed Section informs the Canadian Seed Growers' Association (CSGA) and the local CFIA office in the area where the multiplication will take place. The seed crop is inspected by the CFIA and a crop certificate is issued by the CSGA as with any other seed crop.

Foreign seed multiplied in Canada may be sold in Canada if it meets the requirements of the Seeds Regulations. However, if the seed is of a crop kind subject to variety registration in Canada and the variety is not registered in Canada, then it is prohibited to sell the seed or its progeny in Canada except as provided by subsection 5(4) of the Seeds Regulations (exemptions for research, seeding by the importer, pre-registration trials, etc.) The seed may not be sold as common seed or used in seed mixtures or blends, whether or not the seed is named as to variety.

Is this required by Canadian regulations?

A MA is not required by Canadian regulations. Foreign pedigreed seed may be multiplied in Canada without a MA or any notification to the CFIA. A MA is required for Canadian seed multiplied in Chile or Australia because the Chilean and Australian governments require MAs.

Contact Information
Variety Registration Office
Plant Production Division
Plant Health and Biosecurity Directorate
Policy and Programs Branch
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
59 Camelot Drive
Ottawa ON K1A 0Y9

Phone: 1-855-212-7695
Fax: 613-773-7115

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