Malta is set to get its very first plant gene bank next year, Agriculture Minister Anton Refalo announced on Friday. 

The project, which is being carried out by the Plant Protection Directorate, is set to cost some €3 million, part of which is being financed through the EU’s Regional Development Fund. 

The project was conceived to help the agricultural sector and strengthen the country’s rural botanical biodiversity, Refalo said. 

The project, he continued, is at an advanced stage and once construction is completed, a seed conservation exercise will be carried out on a variety of indigenous plants and herbs and their genetic makeup documented in order to preserve biodiversity.

The premises will also include a botanical museum that will be open to the public and include educational elements. 

“Our diverse island is home to many unique plants and herbs that have priceless characteristics that could help us meet challenges such as climate change, pests, disease and other threats to our agricultural practices,” Refalo said.

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