On 4 May 2021, the Director of the Institute for Olive Tree, Subtropical Crops and Viticulture, ELGO-DIMITRA, signed an agreement with the International Olive Council to participate in the project ‘True Healthy Olive Cultivars 2’ (THOC2) which aims to provide the national germplasm banks of the IOC network with authentic and healthy initial material for certifying nursery plants and to collaborate on the catalogue of the main varieties of olive oil and table olives that are traded internationally.
The Governor for the Crete Region, Stavros Arnaoutakis, hosted a meeting with representatives of ELGO-DIMITRA at its headquarters in Heraklion on 14 March 2022. At the meeting, the THOC2 project, among other activities, was presented, and opportunities to collaborate on a large scale were discussed. Speakers highlighted the importance of certifying plant propagation material, and the representatives of the Crete Region declared its support for ELGO-DIMITRA.
This support was confirmed by the launch of a new project to fund the ELGO-DIMITRA plant nursey in Chania for the next five years. The project aims to produce certified plant propagation material of the main varieties grown in Crete (Koroneiki, Mastoidis and Throubolia) and distribute this material to ten plant nurseries on the island. There are also plans to conduct several dissemination activities to inform nursery owners and farmers about the benefits of using certified material. A pilot farm that will use certified plants only will be set up on Crete for demonstration and training.
Mitigating climate change and protecting biodiversity are the main goals of this collaboration. Specific steps to achieve these goals were agreed during a workshop in Chania on 1 April 2022. The event was organised by the Regional Administration of Crete and the Ministry of Environment and Energy as part of the LIFE Adaptivgreece project. The event started with a plenary session with presentations on adapting to climate change. The THOC2, PRIMA Sustainolive, PRIMA Freeclimb, LIFE Olivares Vivos+ and H2020 Gen4Olive projects were presented in the ‘Biodiversity’ session.
The Regional Administration of Crete emphasised applied research and training activities. It is working closely with ELGO-DIMITRA to set up a network of living-lab olive groves all over Crete to train farmers and provide customised solutions to managing farm in ways that reduce costs and boost quality and environmental sustainability.