Stakeholder meet on national certification system for tissue culture raised plants

The Ministry of Science and Technology, through its Department of Biotechnology (DBT), is organizing a meet of the stakeholders of the National Certification System for Tissue Culture Raised Plants (NCS-TCP) on July 04, 2016 in New Delhi

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New Delhi: Plant Tissue Culture has emerged as an important biotechnology and commercially viable tool to multiply elite varieties of high quality, disease free and high yielding plants rapidly in the laboratory irrespective of the season of the year. It has a great impact on agriculture and industry by providing planting material to meet the ever increasing demand.

Therefore, in order to create awareness among stakeholders, particularly the key officials from Centre and State Government’s Agriculture and Horticulture Departments, on the subject, the central Department of Biotechnology (DBT), is organizing a meet of the stakeholders of the National Certification System for Tissue Culture Raised Plants (NCS-TCP) on July 04, 2016 in New Delhi. The Biotech Consortium India Limited (BCIL) is assisting DBT in implementing the NCS-TCP as the Management Cell and organizing the event.

The broader purpose is to organize an interaction among the stakeholders namely Tissue Culture Industries, Farmers, Mission Directors of State Horticulture Missions and senior officials of Horticulture Department in the States dealing with tissue culture plants and other quality planting material. This interaction is expected to identify the way forward towards realizing the full potential of this certification system which in unique, dynamic and comprehensive in nature.

With increasing demand for agricultural, forestry, plantation and horticulture crops, the demand for high quality, high yielding, disease free planting stock has been increased significantly over the last two decades. Conventional propagation method which includes sowing of seeds, propagation by cutting, layering etc. suffers from the inherent limitations in the number that can be produced, non-uniformity of quality and incidence of diseases.

In India, the tissue culture Industry is growing at a rate of 15% per annum. There is a growing export demand for tissue cultured ornamental plants particularly from USA, Australia, UK, Belgium, Singapore, Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Canada, Malaysia and Australia. The plant tissue culture market in India is estimated at Rs 500 crores.

Government of India established the NCS-TCP and authorized the DBT as the Certification Agency under the Seeds Act, 1966 with the objective of mentoring the tissue culture companies for production and distribution of disease-free and quality tissue culture plants. It is a unique quality management system, first of its kind in the world, which ensures recognition of Tissue Culture Production Facility for the production of quality planting material and certification of the end products.

The NCS-TCP has made significant impact in the last one decade of its implementation. Currently, 96 companies are recognized and 5 Test laboratories are accredited under this system. The recognized companies are eligible for getting their planting material certified from the Accredited Test Laboratories. All these companies have adopted the Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures which ensure production of quality tissue culture plants.

A website has been developed with objective of disseminating the information about the NCS-TCP programme and its operational structure, operational procedures, guidelines and SOPs developed under NCS-TCP for the benefit of relevant stakeholders. 

So far, more than 70 million Tissue Culture plants have been certified through this system. In-spite of the programme not being mandatory for the tissue culture industry, within the short period of its implementation so far, more than 90% of tissue culture companies have become a part of this programme.