Hands-on training of the technical staff of the Central Seed Testing Laboratory (CSTL) at an ISTA accredited laboratory in Tasmania, Australia
The CSTL of the Federal Seed Certification & Registration Department (FSC&RD) has placed a QMS in the laboratory. However, there were still some certain areas, which needed further strengthening as pointed out during the pre-assessment of the lab by PNAC assessors. One of aspects entailed exposure and hands-on training of the technical staff at an International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) accredited seed-testing laboratory to gain firsthand knowledge on the protocols and procedures directly accreditation and international requirements.
To address this, the TRTA II programme sponsored a 10-day study tour to the ISTA accredited seed-testing laboratory in Tasmania from 24 November – 03 December 2014 where the participants were trained on: Quality Management System (QMS); Methods of Quality Assurance for different parameters and the administrative procedure to implement the QMS. The Standard Operating Procedures for carrying out different Operations and testing methods in the laboratory; seed sampling policy and the handling of samples from field to storage and from the lab store to the workstation for testing was also demonstrated ad explained to the trainees. In addition the trainees also were able to better understand the ISTA Method of determining the purity of a Plant Variety purity and the Quality control and managerial aspects of accreditation system: Improving the testing and evaluation techniques; Review of the record keeping system; calibration of equipments (frequency and internal calibration) – techniques and system as well being able to identify the short comings in their system.
The training was conducted by a team of three seed analysts lead by the QM of the TSS lab, Mr. RS Smith.
As a follow-up of this training the CSTL of FSC&RD will employ all the knowledge gained and disseminate it through a series of seminars/workshops to the other technical staff of the numerous satellite seed lab in Pakistan. The technical staff at the CSTL will also submit a feasibility report their parent Ministry (MNFS&R), apprising them time-frame for PNAC and ISTA accreditation. Also, a brief will be submitted to the Ministry for acquisition of funds for ISTA accreditation, as more funds will be needed for application fee for accreditation and visit of Auditors/assessors from ISTA for on-site assessment of the laboratory.