Every household in Malta and Gozo is to receive a package containing a mix of wildflower seeds, as well as a leaflet on how to sow seeds and care for flowers.
This was announced by the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia who explained that such initiatives are being undertaken by government in order to contribute to the EU’s biodiversity strategy for the period 2020-2030. “This is a comprehensive, ambitious and long-term plan to protect nature and reverse habitat loss through specific nationwide actions and commitments, including key actions on pollinator species”, said the minister.
In fact, this project originated from an initiative to educate and engage with the public on the importance of conserving pollinator species as well as the habitats they depend on.
The project is being implemented by the Ministry and Ambjent Malta following lengthy preparations for households to receive the seeds in time for spring planting.
The minister explained that 90% of the world’s flowering plants depend directly on pollinator species to reproduce, including many fruit trees and crops which human beings and our domestic animals depend on for food and as a source of income. Additionally, 35% of the world’s food and over half the human diet of fats and oils come from crops pollinated by animals.
“Wildflowers provide food and shelter for pollinators, including bees, butterflies and moths. In return, pollinators collect and spread wildflower pollen from plant to plant allowing for development of seeds. Various ecosystems and living things within them depend on this synergy between pollinators and flowering plants. Reduction in the population and collapse of pollinator species populations would negatively impact the agricultural sector, and consequently the global economy and essential food supplies”, continued Minister Farrugia.
Wildflowers come in a diverse range of shapes and colours, whilst producing an attractive aroma which both animals, particularly pollinator species, and human beings find pleasant. For this reason, homegrown wildflowers have proven popular with many people who enjoy gardening at home.
Included in the wildflower seed mix, are seeds originating from four native wildflower species, namely Sweet Alyssum (Buttuniera), Red Corn Poppy (Pepprin Aħmar), Chamomile (Kamomilla) and Borage (Fidloqqom). All these flowering plants may be found growing in fields and natural sites, across the Maltese Islands.
“By engaging with the public on the role of wildflowers and encouraging people to grow pollinator-friendly plants at home, this government project shall contribute to EU Pollinators Initiative. This initiative details actions to be taken by the European Union and its member states to address the decline of pollinators in the EU and contribute to global conservation efforts”, concluded the minister.