A free packet of “endemic” wildflower seeds of sent to 180,000 Maltese homes may actually not include endemic species after all, a leading flora expert has said.
“The Maltese electorate has been bombarded with government propaganda that the environment is of utmost priority. We have heard this ad nauseam. And, then, the electorate receives from the Minister for the Environment ‘endemic’ seeds imported from Holland to contribute to the Maltese biodiversity,” Alfred Baldacchino, who holds an MA in environmental management and is a former assistant director of the Environment Protection Directorate, said in a new editorial.
“Just imagine (Environment Minister) Aaron Farrugia attending a ministerial meeting of the European Union, boasting of his initiative – to import from Holland – Maltese ‘endemic’ seeds of four indigenous wild flowers ‘to contribute to the growth of our country’s biodiversity’,” he continued.
Maltese homes had received packets of seeds including four species – Borage, Red Corn Poppy, Sweet Alyssum and Chamomile – in a bid to safeguard pollinating species like bees. The packets came with a photo of Minister Farrugia included.
All households will be receiving a mix of wildflower seeds ✅
— Aaron Farrugia (@farrugiaaaron) April 7, 2021
However, while the wildflowers species are indigenous to Malta, they are not endemic – that is, found solely on the island.
Speaking to Times of Malta, Ambjent Malta, the government agency running the seed project, said the error in designation was a “misprint” in the fliers handed out along with the seeds.
Vice President of the European Council Roberta Metsola called out the error.
Though Ambjent Malta said there were “negligible” risks associated with importing these seeds, Baldacchino warned they ran the risk of contaminating the local gene pool.
Did you receive your free packet of “endemic” seeds?