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RDP project database

The National Collection of Olive Trees - Preserving Varieties for the Future


The Portugese National Institute for Biological Resources and the National Institute for Agricultural Research are improving the National Collection of Olive Tree varieties. A vital resource for ensuring the long term future of olive production.



In Mediterranean countries, most of the present olive tree cultivars have resulted through an empirical process of selection undertaken by farmers and maintained by vegetative propagation procedures. An important characteristic is varietal location. Genetic variability is caused by the natural prevailing ecosystem in each region and is why collections of cultivars are critically important for conservation as well as for the evaluation of material from different sources.


The general purpose of the project is the preservation, conservation and valorisation, of inter-varietal and intra-varietal diversity of autochthonous olive trees existing in the different Portuguese olive tree growing regions.

Main activities

The main activities are: exploration/harvesting and conservation of plant material; primary characterization: use of morphological and molecular characterization procedures; establishment of the National Reference the Olive Collection “in vivo”; secondary characterization: evaluation of agronomic, orchard and technological characteristics; inscription of autochthonous olive tree cultivars; obtaining the varietal and Health Certification; distruibuting results among producers and consumers

Results & Benefits

The project will: - preserve national genetic resources, including the intra varietal diversity of cultivars such as “Galega” and “Cobrançosa” - enhance the value of local olive tree cultivars - develop an information base on how plant material may respond to the effects of climate change; - spread implantation of local varieties - provide nursary certificated plant material for the sector.

Lessons learnt

The “synonyms” and “homonyms”, common in olive tree species require strict procedures for primary characterization. The project is only at its early stage and other 'lessons learnt' will only become apparent in future years.

Project location and other information

Elvas, Alto Alentejo, Portugal



RDP Territory


Total project cost (€)


EAFRD contribution (€)


National contribution (€)


Contact name

António Manuel Cordeiro


+351 268637450

Languages for contact


Original Language version

At a glance



Final beneficiary type

Individual farmers

Budget range

€100 000 - €500 000

Start date:


End Date:


Theme / Measure:

• Environment and Sustainable Resource Management
• Sustainable use of agricultural land
• 214. Agri-environment payments


Olives, Agri-environment, Quality certification, Autochthonous species, Natural heritage

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