The ‘Department of Deciduous Fruit Trees in Naoussa’ is the only research institute in Greece with the scope to develop applied research in all deciduous fruit tree cultures. It has commenced its activities in 1961. Its former name –until 2014 - was ‘Pomology Institute’ and until 2011 it was integrated into the National Agricultural Research Foundation (NAGREF). Today, after continuous improvements and extensions, joined with other 6 institutes and belongs to the ‘Institute of Plant Breeding and Plant Genetic Resources’ having its headquarters in Thermi-Thessaloniki. The institute now belongs to the Hellenic Agricultural Organization– ‘DEMETER’ ).
The areas of principle interest today are:
- The development and valorization of improved deciduous fruit tree cultivars and rootstocks, with emphasis on characters related to fruit quality, resistant to diseases (with especial interest to Sharka), cold and unfavorable soil-climatic conditions. Many new cultivars and rootstocks were released, such as one of the most widely grown processing peach cultivar PIA37 and six apricot cultivars (Chariessa, Danais etc). Also nine pear cultivars, one almond cultivar, one apple rootstock, two quince rootstocks for pear, and two peach rootstocks were released.
- The evaluation of cultivars and rootstocks coming from abroad or local cultivars.
- Reservation of genetic resources: The gene bank contains 244 peach and nectarine, 110 apricot, 82 cherry, 48 plum and prune, 37 pomegranate, 50 quince, 58 almond, 30 walnut, and 12 hazelnut cultivars/ accessions.
- Improvement of cultivation and storage techniques that will improve production and fruit quality in a sustainable manner.
- Fruit tree nutrition and fertilization
- Integrated pest management
- Fruit tree frost resistance
Furthermore, the Department of Deciduous Fruit Trees in Naoussa provides technical support to farmers, cooperatives, municipalities and organises various educational activities (seminars, symposia, conferences, e.t.c.).