Italy’s new agriculture minister met with Puglian officials and olive oil industry professionals to discuss recently allocated emergency funds and stopping the spread of Xylella fastidiosa, at a meeting in Rome.

“We are facing this plague with seriousness and determination,” Teresa Bellanova said. “We will employ the available funds and resources effectively, as a matter of urgency, with the aim of stemming the spread of the bacterium, supporting and investing in research, and safeguarding and relaunching the economy of the territory affected by Xylella.”

Among the attendees was Gennaro Sicolo, president of Italia Olivicola, who said, “the allocated funds should be used to support the costs of explants and replanting with resistant varieties, as well as to compensate farmers for the loss of income caused by the disease.”

He also pointed out the need to invest in research; eliminate the technical and bureaucratic constraints that prevent companies from restarting; and allocate funds for farmers managing monumental olive groves, so the trees can be grafted immediately.

The president of Unaprol, David Granieri, was also at the meeting and called for the compensation of farmers and millers, who have been severely economically impacted by Xyella, to be the top priority.

“It is essential to give priority to compensation for the farmers affected by the bacterium,” he said. “We look forward to a reduction of the many constraints on replanting and to an investment support in order to quickly revitalize the economic activities in the Salento area.”

Granieri also emphasized the importance of preventive activities, including the reduction of points of entry into the Italian territory for nursery material and strengthening the plant health control network.

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