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ISF was formed in 2002 following the merger of ASSINSEL and FIS, bringing together their respective areas of expertise: plant breeding and seed trading.


ISF Timeline: 1920s – 2010s

  • Street scene, London, 1924

    1920s

    1924: First International Seed Congress in London – FIS  (Fédération Internationale du Commerce des Semences) and ISTA (International Seed Testing Association) established

    1928: FIS Congress in Bologna – first draft of the Rules for the International Trade in Herbage Seed presented

    1929: FIS Congress in Paris – Rules for International Trade in Herbage Seed come into force

  • Chain Bridge, Budapest, 1930s

    1930s

    1930: First edition of the FIS Rules for International Arbitration Procedure adopted; FIS Congress in Budapest

    1931: First International Rules for Seed Testing adopted by ISTA who also established the ISTA Certificates Scheme

    1938: International Association of Plant Breeders for the Protection of Plant Varieties (ASSINSEL – Association Internationale des Sélectionneurs pour la Protection de Obentions Végétales) is formed with the aim of establishing an efficient system for the protection of new plant varieties

  • Farm workers, UK, 1940s

    1940s

    Activity in the seed sector slows during World War II

  • FIS meeting, London 1952

    1950s

    1950: FIS Congress, Paris marks the re-start of activity in the post-war period – Rules and Usages for the Trade in Seeds for Sowing Purposes revised

    1951: International Plant Protection Convention (IPPC) adopted

    1955: FIS extends its activities beyond forage and turf to form the Cereal Section

    1956: ASSINSEL Congress in Semmering, Austria – motion passed calling for a diplomatic conference to consider the protection of plant varieties

    1957: First International Conference for the Protection of Plant Varieties in Paris

  • Manhattan Bridge, USA, 1968

    1960s

    1961: First Act of the UPOV Convention adopted

    1963: Genetic code deciphered

    1964: Forest and Tree Seed Group established (which later became the Tree and Shrub Seed Group)

    1968: FDIS Congress, New York (see image)

  • FIS/ASSINSEL Congress auditorium: Hamburg, Germany, 1978

    1970s

    1970: 8th edition of the FIS Rules and Usages adopted – Canadian and US associations declare their commitment to the Rules

    1973: Development of hybrid rice in China

    1977: Merger of the FIS and ASSINSEL Secretariats as plant breeders and seed producers start to become a single entity

    1978: Joint FIS/ASSINSEL Congress in Hamburg (see image)

  • FIS/ASSINSEL Congress auditorium: Budapest, Hungary, 1983

    1980s

    1980: First polymorphic RFLP marker described

    1983: First stable transformations of plants by genetic engineering published

    1986: First unsuccessful attempt to merge FIS and ASSINSEL

  • Committee Chairs, FIS/ASSINSEL Congress: Seville, Spain, 1990

    1990s

    1991: New Act of the UPOV Convention adopted

    1992: Convention on Biological Diversity published – a pivotal document on national strategies for the conservation and sustainable use of biological diversity

    1993: First international seed health initiatives by FIS members

    1994: 12th edition of the Rules and Usages adopted

    1995: World Trade Organization’s TRIPs (Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights) Agreement requiring the protection of plant varieties comes into force

    1995: Motions for the accreditation of seed companies for seed testing and certification adopted by FIS

    1999: Accreditation of seed companies for field inspection in implementation of the OECD seed schemes

  • FIS/ASSINSEL Congress delegates: Rome, Italy, 2000

    2000s

    2000: Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety adopted

    2001: International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGFRA) adopted

    2002: FIS and ASSINEL merge to become the International Seed Federation (ISF)

    2003: Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety comes into force

    2004: ITPGRFA comes into force

    2005: Full accreditation of seed companies for seed certification under the OECD seed schemes and for issue of ISTA orange certificate

  • FIS/ASSINSEL Congress delegates: Oostende, Belgium, 1994

    2010s

    2010: Nagoya Protocol (2010) adopted in Nagoya, Japan

Trade related topics - Seed Treatment

Optimizing production begins with elite genetics and protecting plants