Government stepping up efforts to promote local fruit tree varieties

The St Vincent de Paul Nursery will be ridding itself of its stocks of foreign fruit tree varieties so that it may focus exclusively on the conservation and promotion of local varieties which are adapted to the Maltese climate, the Agriculture Ministry has announced.

As part of a restructuring process within the ministry, the SVDP nursery – the only Maltese tree nursey authorised to propagate local fruit tree varieties – is being merged with the Plant Protection Directorate.

Through this merger, the PPD is being equipped with local fruit tree mother blocks for conservation and a nursery for scion and rootstock production through conventional and non-conventional propagation techniques. To further strengthen the tree nursery, the directorate will be implementing certification schemes at a national level for the most requested genera and species of local fruit trees.

The directorate will now be making a final sale of its foreign fruit tree varieties to exhaust current stocks before embarking on the implementation of a production plan for local fruit tree varieties. It will also finalise a plan to concentrate efforts on the production of local fruit tree varieties not covered by EU marketing directives such as pomegranates, loquats, black and white mulberries and others.

In the meantime, the necessary preparations will be made to bring the future production of other fruit tree varieties of local importance in line with national and EU marketing legislation, including through the identification, recognition and registration of varietal names in the EU registers and the appropriate labelling of plant material.