The recognition of the olive tree as a priority species is among the goals of the International Olive Council (IOC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in the coming years.
The IOC is working remotely due to the temporary closure of their headquarters in Madrid during Spain’s national lockdown to curb COVID-19.
Since 1994, the IOC has supported more than 20 countries to establish germplasm banks, which ensure food security by preserving numerous diverse olive species. Additionally, the IOC has assisted with developing three international germplasm banks in Córdoba, Marrakesh and Izmir.
The IOC also said they will ensure that healthy initial plant material is deposited into the germplasm banks. The True Healthy Olive Cultivar (THOC) project was previously developed by the IOC to start working toward this goal.
Another objective of the IOC is the authentication and sanitation of all bank material, by using the protocol proposed at their seminar last year for their network of germplasm banks in Córdoba.
The Council has been working on promoting a certification system to ensure variety authenticity and material free from pathogens listed in the directives from the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO).
The IOC will be holding annual seminars to achieve these goals, starting with one in Marrakesh later this year.