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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