04 November
31 December 2011


RW - DGA & EC - FEDER, Projet Interreg III FW 2.3.4. Partner.


INTERREG III is a Community initiative financed under the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). The programme aims to stimulate interregional cooperation and strengthen economic and social cohesion throughout the EU. INTERREG III is aimed specifically at the France – Wallonia – Flanders cross-border area. This new phase of the initiative follows on from the INTERREG I (1991-1993) and INTERREG II (1995-1999) programmes. This project involves a new partnership between the Walloon Agricultural Research Centre and the Nord-Pas de Calais Regional Genetic Resources Centre and Regional Nature Reserves. Its effect will be to strengthen the positioning of the cross-border area as a major fruit-growing region that is both diversified and innovative, based on a wealth of resources the full potential of which deserves to be tapped. These two regional public service institutions operate according to the same philosophy: preserving and assessing the region’s fruit tree genetic resources and developing them for the benefit of local people and the region. For over twenty years the Regional Genetic Resources Centre and the Walloon Agricultural Research Centre have carried on in parallel the work of conserving, assessing and developing the region’s fruit tree resources. The two partners’ respective collections, mainly characterised by original regional or local material which in most cases has never been described in the literature, are among the richest in Europe. These two institutions are recognized at European level for the systematic assessment of their collections in terms of both disease resistance and agricultural characteristics. Many growers are currently looking for new varieties in order to diversify the supply on the market and offer consumers fruit of a better organoleptic quality grown in more environmentally compatible conditions with fewer phytosanitary treatments. The two institutions will combine forces within the framework of this project and pool their knowledge in order to inject dynamism into the cross-border fruit-growing sector by experimenting with new ways of enhancing old varieties that deserve to be developed. 


The “Cross-border fruit tree resources and biodiversity” project has a threefold aim. Firstly, the project aims to create synergy between the Regional Genetic Resources Centre (ENR-CRRG) and the Walloon Agricultural Research Centre in order, in time, to establish a European centre of excellence specialising in the management and development of genetic resources. The second aim is to forge close links between the conservation organisations and players in the fruit-growing sector, in order to centralise information and divide up tasks and efforts in order to respond as effectively as possible to the industry’s requirements. Thirdly, the partners are keen to raise awareness and to involve local people in the cross-border area in the issues connected with conserving their rural resources and developing sustainable agriculture. After an essential initial period of experimentation, the results will be relevant to all the players in the nursery, fruit growing and processing sector. The ultimate aim is to distribute suitable fruit varieties from the collections or obtained by crossing and also to create new outlets for quality cross-border products. Other players, such as livestock farmers, gardening contractors and municipal and local authorities will also benefit from greater support for their fruit-related activities and the dissemination of technical extension documents. Another aspect of the project is the proposed setting up of a new breeding programme for selecting new pear varieties and assessment of new apple varieties previously created by the two institutions. The objective of this breeding programme is to offer original alternatives to the virtual monoculture of the ‘Conference’ variety and to permit genetic progress enabling growers to cut back on the phytosanitary treatments carried out.

Expected results

• Establishing of a Centre of excellence between two fruit tree genetic resource management organisations • Increasing the number of cross-border partnerships • Pooling of cross-border fruit tree resources and their management, standardisation of the assessment and development methods used by the partners, rationalisation of collections and creation of a common database. • Increasing the range of varieties available to nurseries and fruit farms wishing to diversify • Marketing of new pear varieties • Injecting dynamism into rural life • Support for the creation of new commercial outlets promoting diversity in fruit and development of high added value markets. • Support and creation of a certified quality fruit tree production sector (professional nurseries).


• Nord-Pas de Calais Regional Genetic Resources Centre and Regional Nature Reserves (ENR-CRRG)


  • CE - Regional politics - FEDER