Role of the Plant Protection Directorate

Role of the Plant Protection Directorate

The Plant Protection Directorate is the National Plant Protection Organisation for Malta. The Directorate is responsible for all plant health aspects of plants, seeds, plant produce and other propagation materials which enter the country. It is also the aim of the Directorate to promote, as much as possible, appropriate measures for the control of quarantine and other important pests. 

For this reason, the Directorate keeps control on the import and export of plants and related materials at the points of entry into the Maltese Islands, with the aim to prevent the introduction and spread of pests and diseases that affect the quality of plants. The control of pests and diseases is not only done on goods introduced to Malta but also on local cultivation. Inspections are carried out at local nurseries and retail outlets to check for the possible presence of harmful organisms and also to see that these commercial outlets are in fact complying with national and EU legislation. 

The Plant Protection Directorate is responsible for implementing various EU Directives, Regulations and Decisions. These not only relate to the control of trade in whole plants but also to the quality of seeds and other plant propagation material. Since 2001, the Directorate has also issued numerous pieces of legislation, many of which transpose EU Directives. These legal notices fall under Act XVIII of 2001, as amended by Act III of 2004, the Plant Quarantine Act.

The Directorate is also the official body responsible for carrying out surveys, annual reports, and checks on plant diseases. Each year reports are submitted to the European Commission dealing with the various surveys of harmful organisms that affect important crops such as potatoes and citrus. These surveys are a vital tool in monitoring the local market and produce, in order to intercept and avoid the entry and spread of harmful organisms and diseases into the country which could seriously damage the production of certain major crops that are vital to the agricultural sector. In addition, these surveys serve as a tool to monitor the market of propagation material to ensure that there is high quality propagation and planting material in circulation.


In recent years, the Directorate has been appointed as the entity responsible for matters pertinent to the genetic resources for food and agriculture, and as such oversees the implementation of various guidelines, resolutions, and recommendations of the Commissionon Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, the InternationalTreaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, its complementary Second Global Plan of Action for Plant Genetic Resources for Foodand Agriculture . The Plant Protection Directorate is also the Competent Authority for regulating Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) of Genetic Resources in accordance with the Nagoya Protocol to the Conventionof Biological Diversity​. As such, the Directorate, following consultation with the relevant assistant authorities, is responsible for receiving applications and granting access through prior informed consent for the utilization of genetic resources for research and development activities based on mutually agreed terms for the sharing of benefits arising from such utilization