Slow Food

Plans For Date Presidium in Libya

Italy - 17 Jan 05

On Wednesday January 12, Alice Perlini, the Director General of the Istituto Agronomico per l’Oltremare (IAO) in Florence, and the President of Slow Food, Carlo Petrini, signed a framework cooperation agreement for projects in developing countries.

Created in 1904, the IAO is a department of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs concerned with research, experimentation and technical assistance in the field of tropical and sub-tropical agriculture and environmental resource management.

Today the IAO supervises projects in a number of African countries (Algeria, Angola, Libya, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali, Capo Verde, Chad, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Mauritania), as well as Guatemala, Ecuador, China, Brazil, the West Bank, Syria and Vietnam.

The collaboration between Slow Food and IAO will commence with a joint journey to Libya to assess the possibility of creating a Presidium to protect and promote ancient date palm varieties.

Following decades of isolation, Libya, unlike other producer countries, has conserved numerous such varieties, especially in the vicinity of its inland oases — palms that are relatively unproductive but whose fruits are of excellent quality.

On behalf of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IAO and Slow Food in synergy with the Tuscany Regional Authority and Ucodep, an Italian NGO, will also develop a project to support associations of small-scale coffee producers in six countries in Central America and the West Indies: Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic.