Bari Meeting on Xylella Lays Down Joint Action Plan

The International Olive Council and the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies organized a seminar with the goal of consolidating a common action plan against Xf.

By Ylenia Granitto
Jan. 2, 2019 11:50 UTC

The Italian seat of the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies (CIHEAM) hosted an inter­na­tional meet­ing on Integrated actions against Xylella fas­tidiosa (Xf) to pro­tect olive trees and inter­na­tional trade” last month.

Bari wel­comed about one hun­dred par­tic­i­pants, among whom were rep­re­sen­ta­tives from six­teen International Olive Council (IOC) mem­bers and non-mem­bers coun­tries includ­ing Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Montenegro, Morocco, Palestine, Portugal, Spain, Tunisia, and Turkey.
See Also:Can Xylella Be Stopped?
Experts from the inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions FAO, IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention), EPPO (European Plant Protection Organization), EFSA (European Food Safety Authority), and researchers from CNR and uni­ver­si­ties took part in the sem­i­nar with the aim to cre­ate the basis for coor­di­nat­ing and plan­ning col­lab­o­ra­tions” against Xylella fas­tidiosa, through prac­ti­cal actions favored by the exchange of human resources” between the par­tic­i­pat­ing coun­tries.

At the start of the con­fer­ence, CIHEAM and IOC experts pointed out how crops are becom­ing increas­ingly vul­ner­a­ble to pests and dis­eases in a con­text marked by trade inten­si­fi­ca­tion, accel­er­a­tion of the mobil­ity of pop­u­la­tions and goods, and cli­mate change.

Therefore, pre­ven­tion and con­trol of plant dis­eases, epi­demi­o­log­i­cal sur­veil­lance and plant health infor­ma­tion exchanges out­side of each country’s bor­ders are becom­ing more essen­tial than ever for domes­tic pro­duc­tion, export and import.

The pre­sen­ta­tion of the cur­rent sta­tus of the bac­terium was fol­lowed by reports on the activ­i­ties of inter­na­tional orga­ni­za­tions, the results of research work car­ried out in the frame­work of the EU Horizon 2020, POnTE and XF-Actors, and the needs and rec­om­men­da­tions expressed by the mem­ber coun­tries. Then, a meet­ing between EPPO, FAO, CIHEAM and IOC were orga­nized in order to define a strat­egy for col­lab­o­ra­tion between these bod­ies and the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of the role of each, includ­ing the IPPC. The group agreed to draw up a roadmap on a com­mon action plan (PAC-XF), whose first draft will be sub­mit­ted for an opin­ion by January 15.

Collaboration with research insti­tu­tions and the aca­d­e­mic world is essen­tial to coun­ter­act the dis­as­trous effects of Xylella fas­tidiosa,” affirmed the head of Technical and Environmental Unit of the IOC, Abdelkrim Adi. One of our objec­tives through the orga­ni­za­tion of this event is to find the prac­ti­cal way to facil­i­tate the inter­na­tional trade of healthy olive plants, free from any pathogen includ­ing ver­ti­cil­lium and Xf.”

The exec­u­tive direc­tor of the IOC, Abdellatif Ghedira remarked that the par­tic­i­pa­tion of many orga­ni­za­tions was the expres­sion of their com­mit­ment to find­ing solu­tions, and that their joint col­lab­o­ra­tion would surely result in fruit­ful actions in the ben­e­fit of the olive sec­tor. There is one aspect which we must not under­es­ti­mate in this action and that is the inter­na­tional coop­er­a­tion estab­lished between the var­i­ous inter­gov­ern­men­tal bod­ies: COI, FAO, CIHEAM, and the IPPC and EPPO agen­cies,” Ghedira observed, adding that we must inten­sify our efforts so that infor­ma­tion shar­ing is as rich and com­plete as pos­si­ble, in order to con­sol­i­date the cli­mate of insti­tu­tional coop­er­a­tion and make com­mon cause on this issue.”

After pre­sen­ta­tions by experts, par­tic­i­pant coun­tries were invited to express their needs and chal­lenges in pre­vent­ing and fight­ing the spread of the bac­terium.

During the talk, it was high­lighted that polit­i­cal com­mit­ment is needed in order save the way of life of olive pro­duc­ers. It was also stated that the involve­ment of farm­ers is fun­da­men­tal, and that train­ing, dis­sem­i­na­tion of infor­ma­tion and research are essen­tial for the cir­cu­la­tion of infor­ma­tion.

The need to imple­ment har­mo­nized stan­dards, par­tic­u­larly on quar­an­tine and sur­veil­lance as well as on plant cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, along with the need of capac­ity build­ing were seen as major con­cerns by par­tic­i­pants. They stressed the impor­tance of inten­si­fy­ing research on vari­ety resis­tance and vec­tor con­trol, and they were all agreed on the use­ful­ness of main­tain­ing germplasm banks as the source of olive vari­abil­ity and research mate­r­ial on the resis­tance to bac­te­ria. The dis­sem­i­na­tion of agro­nomic tech­niques for the pre­ven­tion of the dis­ease was also indi­cated as one of the most impor­tant activ­i­ties to be devel­oped.

During a dis­cus­sion on the action plan to be devel­oped by IOC, CIHEAM, FAO, EPPO and IPPC, it was pointed out the need to adopt well-defined con­trol stan­dards, as well as to imple­ment capac­ity build­ing activ­i­ties for coun­try staffs. It was high­lighted that the secu­rity of the veg­e­tal mate­r­ial pro­duc­tion should be ensured by its authen­ti­ca­tion and san­i­ta­tion, and that the labor that is being devel­oped on vari­ety resis­tance is fun­da­men­tal. Moreover, the devel­op­ment of prac­ti­cal phy­tosan­i­tary man­age­ment guides was con­sid­ered nec­es­sary.

The experts remarked that it is of pri­mary impor­tance to imple­ment plant mate­r­ial trace­abil­ity and cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, and to develop sur­veil­lance pro­grams, as well as to increase aware­ness in the olive indus­try by enhanc­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion. It was then agreed that all the insti­tu­tions involved would par­tic­i­pate in the World Olive Forum that will be orga­nized in Marrakech, jointly with the IOC ses­sion of Members, to cel­e­brate the IOC’s 60th anniver­sary and present their spe­cific activ­i­ties in the con­text of the joint action plan.

During the sem­i­nar, the regional phy­tosan­i­tary ser­vice of Tuscany announced that in the south­ern part of the region, forty-one orna­men­tal plants includ­ing almond trees, broom, myr­tle-leaf milk­wort, cal­i­co­tome, rose­mary, laven­der, cis­tus, and elaeag­nus, prob­a­bly imported from abroad, were found to be pos­i­tive to the sub­species Multiplex of the bac­terium.


The phy­tosan­i­tary mea­sures of erad­i­ca­tion pro­vided by national and EU leg­is­la­tion were imme­di­ately applied. Repeated analy­ses have not revealed any infec­tion in olive trees, as this sub­species, which is already present in Spain and France, is usu­ally not harm­ful to these plants nor to grape vines.

According to cur­rent stud­ies, the only bac­te­r­ial strain asso­ci­ated with the so-called olive quick decline syn­drome (OQDS) detected in Puglia is the one belong­ing to the sequence type ST53, also known as CoDiRO strain, within Xf sub­species pauca.


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