Tunisian-Italian Project to Establish Database of Olive Tree Varieties

Tunis/Tunisia — The Tunisian-Italian project "Tunisian plant genetic resources: Better preserved and valued," launched since 2016, has helped establish a database keeping record of the different varieties of olive trees in Tunisia.

"This was achieved thanks to the establishment of a reference genotype (genetic information) for each variety," project coordinator to the National Bank of Genes Olfa Saddoud explained to TAP on the fringes of an international seminar, organised in Tunis on the theme: "Tunisian plant genetic resources: Better preserved and valued."

"A better knowledge of the genetic material will allow a better preservation and valorisation of genetic plant resources and get thus a labelled olive oil that can be exported," she said.

This project, funded by the Italian cooperation by means of €1.280 (nearly 4 million dinars), targeted 8 governorates, namely, Beja, Mahdia, Kef and Nabeul, specifying that this same programme also aims to enhance the genetic heritage of cereals, she added.

This project which is part of the environment protection program, has helped reinforce the capacities of researchers of the National Bank of Genes, the National Olive Tree Institute and the Institute of Agricultural Research and Higher Education (IRESA), as well as those operating in the phyto-sanitary analysis laboratory.

This project has contributed to establish a network between the Tunisian and Italian researchers, said Director of the International Centre for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) Maurizio Raeli, pointing out that it perfectly meets the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations.

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