The Operations Section covers part of the administrative side of the Agriculture Directorate and branches into two main areas namely Personnel and Research and Development Units.
One of the main aims of this Unit is to work in strict liaison with People Management and Support Services Directorate, facilitating internal processes, operations and communication between both directorates.
This Unit provides a comprehensive view of how personnel could be strategically planned and prioritised for each section through a regular yearly capacity building exercise of all sections within the Agriculture Directorate. This Unit also addresses other administrative services including compilation of sections’ overtime, employees’ contracts of service, students’ placements, as well as health and safety issues.
This Unit also co-ordinates Training of personnel through courses organised by the Centre for Development, Research and Training, thus encouraging motivation, development and improvement of staff.
Data Protection Awareness among employees is also dealt with by this Unit. This Unit operates under the Freedom of Information Act where administrative matters are concerned. Documents and affairs which are related to employees are exempt from this Act, hence falling under the Data Protection Act.
Research and Development Unit:
The role of Agricultural Research & Development is to carry out research connected to agriculture and it practices in Malta. It aims to introduce new methods and investigate problems related to the sector with a view to propose new and better ways of operation in the local agricultural practices.
Current research includes:
The conservation of local breeds of sheep, dairy goat, ox, donkey and the Maltese Black Chicken. This is a project in partnership with other institutions that firstly seeks to preserve the local breed and secondly improve its agricultural value and products.
The conservation of local indigenous tree and shrub species and their integration and utilisation in the local farming landscape. This project seeks to identify, propagate, distribute for sample planting local species and aims to encourage their utilisation and conservation by the Maltese agricultural community.
The re-introduction of locally extinct rare bird species is also being studied. These include the Barn owl and the Jackdaw.
The identification of problems associated with apiculture, bee-keeping and the production of Maltese and Gozitan honey and its high quality delivery to the market.
The identification of indigenous nectar and propolis forming trees and shrubs for later propagation and distribution to local bee-keepers.
The upgrading and improvement of the land and estate of the National Agricultural Development and Research Centre Għammieri
The maintenance and establishment of an ex-situ germplasm citrus collection both of local origin as well as of an international provenance.
The maintenance and identification of the descriptor markers of an ex-situ germplasm of the Prickly pear (Opuntia ficus-indica) varieties found growing in the Maltese Islands.
Various new crop trials as are necessary.
The management of an experimental indigenous forest tree nursery that is identifying the best propagation protocols for local production.