Since 1989 SANSOR has been the designated authority to manage and execute all functions pertaining to seed certification on behalf of government. This is achieved by means of a core administrative staff and the use of more than 160 private seed inspectors who are trained, examined and authorized to conduct specific functions. Total seed certification has almost doubled over the past five years. Presently, SANSOR is responsible for certification of seed crops produced on more than 60 000 hectares.
In terms of a contract between SANSOR and the Agricultural Research Council, breeding lines and new varieties are made available for evaluation by seed trade members under testing agreements.
This leads to licence agreements on parent lines and varieties for commercial production and marketing of seed. Royalties are collected on behalf of these research institutes. At present, some 55 varieties and 90 licence agreements are managed. For some species these functions are extended internationally.
SANSOR continues to be active in assisting government on amending seed legislation on Plant Improvement and Plant Breeders’ rights. SANSOR participated as member of the government working group which developed new legislation on genetically modified organisms. SANSOR is represented on the national plant genetics resources committee and it submits proposals on issues dealing with biosafety and biodiversity.
Considerable attention is devoted to training seed trade personnel through courses and workshops for seed inspectors and seed samplers.