Tuesday, December 12, 2023

IRRI Seed Health and Logistics Unit Awareness Week highlights its critical role in the safe distribution of germplasm for R&D

The IRRI Seed Health and Logistics Unit (SHU) showcased its activities and available services involving the exchange of seed and non-seed biomaterials during its 2023 Awareness Week on November 24-30, 2023.

The transboundary movement of plant biomaterials to and from partners has become a constant in research programs.  Plants and seeds can harbor harmful pathogens, insects, nematodes, and other organisms that can spread into new territories.

The Seed Health and Logistics Unit SHU plays a crucial role in preventing the spread of pests and diseases during the transfer of germplasm in international research and breeding programs and the delivery of public goods. Additionally, SHU facilitates the logistics by coordinating multiple-cross-institute actions and securing full compliance with all applicable internal and external requirements.

During the week-long event. SHU received 179 IRRI staff members who visited the SHU Laboratory, Quarantine Area, and Seed Treatment Facility. The guests were also oriented about the processes seeds and other materials go through before they are dispatched as outgoing; or released to the IRRI requestors in the case of incoming materials.

Ms. Veritas Morena Salazar, assistant scientist at SHU and logistics and compliance manager, shared an overview of the updated protocols for incoming and outgoing shipments of biological materials managed at IRRI headquarters and by IRRI country offices. These info sessions were conducted as onsite and online sessions.

During the main session on 30 November, officials from government agencies shared an overview of their work on risk analysis, plant quarantine, and safety protocols for seed transboundary movement.

Mr Aldwin Mendoza from the Central Post-Entry Quarantine Services, a division under the Philippine Bureau of Plant Industry (CPEQS-BPI), presented a detailed description of the purpose, principles, and impact of pest risk analysis in the safe movement of seed and other plant materials and a presentation on ISPM 45:Requirements for national plant protection organizations if authorizing entities to perform phytosanitary actions.

Ms. Jessa Antero from the National Plant Quarantine Service Division of the BPI (NPQS-BPI) shared a thorough insight on ISPM 38: International movement of seeds highlighting the importance of risk management, the establishment of mitigation measures in the form of phytosanitary requirements and the performance of phytosanitary actions in a systems approach.

Martina Castellion, senior manager of SHU, highlighted the importance of science-based risk management and the fundamental role that the scientific community plays in the generation and sharing of knowledge.

Dr. Castellion also expressed SHU and IRRI’s commitment to continue supporting CPEQS and NPQS missions aligned with CGIAR impact areas for climate adaptation and mitigation, environmental health and biodiversity, and food security. CPEQS and NPQS aim to prevent the entry of foreign pests into the country, prevent the spread of existing pests, and comply with the phytosanitary requirements of the trading partners.

The main session concluded with IRRI's donation of two microscopes and five huskers to BPI.

During this event, SHU also launched its new and updated intranet site and institutional video.

The SHU Team has planned more activities for 2024, including an additional info session about the processes for the shipment of seed and non-seed biological materials. 

Pre-register to reserve your slot.

The 2023 SHU awareness week was supported by the Genebanks Initiative for Conservation and Use of Genetic Resources.

Facility tour with representatives of the Bureau of Plant Industry

Info session for IRRI Country Offices and IRRI-HQ staff.

SHU facility tour

Facility tour customer feedback wall

Seminar and info session with the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI)


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