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    Assessment of bread wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) seed quality accessed through different seed sources in northwest Ethiopia

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    Farmers are accessing seeds from different sources with different quality standards. Studies on the assessment of seed systems (sources) in relation to seed quality are scarce. This study was carried out to assess the different seed qualities (physical purity, physiological quality, and seed health) of bread wheat seed accessed through the existing seed sources (formal and informal seed sources) in Baso Liben district of the Amhara region, northwest Ethiopia. In addition, this study assessed the experience of farmers in seed production and management. Data were collected from 108 respondents using a semi-structured questionnaire and from farmers and local experts using focus group discussions. Seed samples were collected from 58 farmers (30 farmers who sourced seed from the informal system and 28 from the formal system) for laboratory testing. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and t-test (pairwise comparison) using SPSS v23.0. Results showed that about 32.4% of the respondents have experience in quality bread wheat seed production under contractual seed production arrangements with public seed enterprises. Results also revealed significant differences between formal and informal seed sources for various seed quality parameters. Seeds accessed from the formal sources have better physical purity, physiological quality, and 1,000 seed weight than seeds accessed from informal sources. Seed samples collected from the informal source were highly infected with Aspergillus flavus, Aspergillus niger, Chaetomium spp., and Fusarium spp., and seeds from the formal seed source were infected with Alternata spp. and Penicillium spp. Seed quality is a major concern for the seeds accessed from both formal and informal sources. Therefore, the seed quality control mechanisms of various stakeholders, including national and regional seed regulatory bodies, government organizations, research institutes, and seed producers/companies, should be given much attention at each stage of the seed value chain
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