The Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights is committed to conserve, valorise and make available to the farming community local varieties of fruit trees which are adapted to the Maltese climate. To achieve this objective, a restructuring of the ministry’s departments led to the merging of the St Vincent de Paul Nursery (SVDP) with the Plant Protection Directorate (PPD), which is the national competent authority for genetic resources. The SVDP nursery which was established to promote the sustainable use of local fruit tree varieties is the only nursery in Malta authorised to propagate such type of fruit trees. The PPD is being equipped with local fruit tree mother blocks for conservation purposes and a nursery for scion and rootstock production (CAC and certified categories) through conventional and non-conventional propagation techniques. To further strengthen the SVDP nursery, the PPD will be implementing certification schemes at a national level for the most requested genera and species of local fruit trees.
The department will be making a final sale of foreign fruit tree varieties to exhaust the current stocks before embarking on the implementation of a production plan of fruit trees of local varieties. The PPD will be finalising a plan to concentrate efforts on the production of local fruit tree varieties not covered by the EU marketing directives such as Pomegranates, Locquats, 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 e.g. identification/recognition/registration of the varietal names in the EU registers and the appropriate labelling of plant material.