The Puglia Region, the Ministry of Agricultural Policies, and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage signed a pro­to­col agree­ment which allows farm­ers to replant olive trees in the areas affected by Xylella fas­tidiosa (Xf) sub­ject to land­scape con­straints, with­out prior autho­riza­tion from the land­scape com­mis­sions and the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage.

The mea­sure reduces bureau­cratic bur­dens for those who want to restore dam­aged olive groves. Growers are required, how­ever, to replace uprooted trees with “only resis­tant olive cul­ti­vars, such as Leccino or Fs-17, or other olive vari­eties that may prove resis­tant or tol­er­ant” to Xf. The Puglia Region is respon­si­ble for mon­i­tor­ing, keep­ing the min­istries informed.

Farmers must request a land­scape autho­riza­tion only if the replant­ing inter­ven­tions risk under­min­ing the preser­va­tion of ter­ri­to­r­ial and his­tor­i­cal assets that char­ac­ter­ize the rural land­scape of the area such as dry-stone walls, lamie (typ­i­cal old houses), spec­chie (mega­liths), trulli (tra­di­tional huts), cis­terns, wells, and so on.

The under­stand­ing had been pre­vi­ously described by the agri­cul­ture min­is­ter, Teresa Bellanova. “We draw up a pro­to­col agree­ment to sim­plify and unblock the replant­ing of olive trees,” she said dur­ing a meet­ing with some olive grower asso­ci­a­tions in Leverano (Lecce).

However, the mea­sure has not been wel­comed by all Apulian olive farm­ers, some of whom are opposed to manda­tory replant­ing of olive trees and called upon the insti­tu­tions to leave open the pos­si­bil­ity to grow other Mediterranean crops such as fig and almond trees to avoid the re-estab­lish­ment of mono­cul­ture and favor bio­di­ver­sity.


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