An on line directory dealing with old, local, forgotten, neglected and endangered varieties of wild fruit and berry plants has been set up through European networking, while relevant action for all genetic resources used in agriculture is taken by the European Commission through its programme on the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture for 2004-2006.
For centuries an enormous diversity of cultivated species and varieties of fruit, wild fruit and berries formed one of the most important food sources of the people in Europe. In the past decades several of these varieties have lost their importance and fell into oblivion. Fruit-Net (http://www.fruit-net.info/) is an online directory for rare varieties of fruits, berries and wild fruits, supported by the SAVE-Foundation (Safeguard for Agricultural Varieties in Europe). It is set up to facilitate contacts between the upholders - people who collect, preserve, grow, propagate or sell old varieties of fruit and berry plants, classify varieties or study old pomology books.
Such initiatives are the civil society's contribution to halting biodiversity loss by 2010, a target endorsed by the European Union as part of its sustainable development startegy and its Biodiversity action plan for Agriculture [pdf 237KB]. The conservation and sustainable use of genetic resources in agriculture is regarded as essential to the sustainable development of agricultural production and of rural areas and supported by a relevant funding programme (Council Regulation (EC) No 870/2004).The second call for proposals of the European Community programme on the conservation, characterisation, collection and utilisation of genetic resources in agriculture for 2004-2006 was closed earlier in 2006 and the beneficiaries are to be announced in the beginning of 2007. For more information please use the link http://ec.europa.eu/agriculture/envir/biodiv/genres/call_en.htm