Planet Olive

The future of olive germplasm

The conservation and use of plant genetic resources is key for the future of agriculture, food and the environment. The FAO International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, in line with the Convention on Biological Diversity, ensures food security through conservation, free exchange and the fair and equitable sharing of the benefits of these resources

International Olive Council

The future of olive germplasm

Conservation is carried out at the place where crops are located (in situ) and in collections outside their place of origin (ex situ). These collections are the Germplasm Banks, which house the legacy of natural and pre-selected diversity of a large number of plant species for food security.

The genetic resources of the olive tree consist of wild varieties of Olea europaea L (wild olive trees), other species of the genus Olea and varieties cultivated since their domestication some 6 000 years ago. The International Olive Council’s network of banks currently includes 23 banks, three of which are international: Cordoba (Spain), Marrakech (Morocco) and Izmir (Turkey). It houses 1 700 entries corresponding to an indefinite number of different varieties. The strategic objectives of the network for the coming years are:

1) Establish an agreement with the FAO, the world authority on plant genetic resources, to gradually achieve recognition of the olive tree as a priority species.

2) The authentication and sanitation of all entries by means of a common protocol based on the one proposed at the seminar in Cordoba in October 2019.

3) To provide authentic and healthy initial material to all the banks in order to certify the plants of the main varieties propagated by the nurseries of each country.

4) To publish a catalogue of the main varieties in 2022.

Seminars will be held annually in the countries on the network to verify results and prepare projects to achieve the objectives soon. The next seminars will take place in the other two international banks. The seminar in Marrakech will be held in the second half of 2020. The aim is to consolidate the IOC-FAO network as a global reference for olive genetic resources. Further information will be published soon on this website.

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