Distribution of cultivated rice, wild rice and related genera genetic resources

Contributors to this page: T.T. Chang Genetic Resources Centre-IRRI, Los Baños, Philippines (Ruaraidh Sackville Hamilton, Ken McNally, Flora de Guzman, Renato Reaño, Soccie Almazan, Adelaida Alcantara, Elizabeth Naredo); WARDA, Cotonou, Benin (Ines Sánchez); UPLB-University of the Philippines at Los Baños (Teresita Borromeo).

Policies and regulations

Policies and regulations for distribution

Common policies on distribution and access to plant material

On receipt of any germplasm request:

Seeds are packed in different packing materials (coin envelop, cloth bags, foil packs, tin cans and net bags) depending on the type of seed material and place of destination (photo: IRRI)

Packed seeds ready to be sent out (photo: IRRI)

Policy exceptions

National laws and regulations

International laws and regulations

Phytosanitary regulations

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User related issues for distribution

A successful effective distribution involves a protracted dialogue and collaborative exercise between genebank and user.

Feedback to users

Items requiring feedback to user include:

Processing time

May be one day for internal transfers without MTA or health testing, one week for local transfers, one to two months for international transfers including seed testing.

Processing time will depend on:

Customer assurance

When the request is not clear

When the request is specific

When the request is not specific

Choosing the sources of information

First steps:

Deciding for a wider search:

Last steps:

Feedback from users

Feedback prior to shipment

Feedback after shipment

Quantity of material recommended to be distributed

Cultivated rice

Wild rice

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Procedures for distribution

Initial preparations

Registering the request

Monitoring progress through the request

Initial interaction with requestor

Selection of germplasm for distribution

Follow the procedures specified in customer assurance, ensuring full interaction with the requestor as specified in the feedback to users and feedback from users, to produce:

Genebank procedures to select germplasm

These should only apply to accessions to be provided by the genebank.

Check availability

Check seed/plant propagules

Availability in stock and the requirements for material transfer agreements

Preparing samples for distribution

List of accessions available

Generating labels

Labelling the accession containers

See above and the container specifications of the active genebanks section for cultivated rice and wild rice: only newly-prepared pre-packs will be labelled.

Cross checking inventory files with actual seed stocks

While withdrawing the specified seed packet(s) (bulk and/or pre pack) of each accession (by this stage (preparing samples for distribution), the computer inventory should already have been checked for availability (in the previous check availability section), and only available accessions will appear on the list:

Removing containers from genebank and acclimatization procedures required

Ensuring accuracy in identification

Correcting errors

Extracting samples from the original containers

Final preparation by genebank

Phytosanitary inspection and certification

Preparing the information list to accompany the plant materials

Basic information

Biological status

Characterization data used to verify accessions

Cover letter

Accompanying documents

Prepare and/or obtain the following documents as needed:


Import permit

Customs declaration

Phytosanitary certificate

Export permit

GMO declaration

Type of information

Dispatching the plant material



Reply form

Sending the plant material

Recording shipping details

Record the following information:

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Recording information

System for tracking material/inventory system for distribution

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References and further reading

Agreement sample form. Available from: Date accessed: 15 June 2010.

Bioversity International, IRRI and WARDA. 2007. Descriptors for wild and cultivated Rice (Oryza spp.). Bioversity International, Rome, Italy; International Rice Research Institute, Los Banos, Philippines; WARDA, Africa Rice Center, Cotonou, Benin. Available here.

The Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research [homepage of the CGIAR] [online] Available from: Date accessed: 4 February 2010.

Annex I List of crops covered under the multilateral system [online]. Available from: Date accessed: 15 July 2013.

Standard Material Transfer Agreement (SMTA) [online]. Available from: Date accessed: 15 July 2013.

The International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture [homepage of the ITPGRFA] [online]. Available from: Date accessed: 10 July 2013.

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The Genebanks

The 11 CGIAR genebanks currently conserve 730,000 of cereals and grain legumes, forage crops, tree species, root and tuber crops, bananas and crop wild relatives.