Italy’s Minister of Agriculture, Food and Forestry has signed a decree providing €120 million ($135 million) in income support for agricultural enterprises impacted by Xylella fastidiosa in Puglia.
The southern Italian region, which is also responsible for the lion’s share of the country’s olive oil production, has been ravaged by the spread of the deadly plant pathogen since 2013.
“With the decree, we give the green light to another important, I would say fundamental, part of the Apulian olive oil regeneration plan, intervening in favor of all those companies that have suffered significant damage from the spread of the bacterium,” Teresa Bellanova said at a press briefing.
Now it is up to Puglia’s regional government to decide how to go about dividing up the relief money, most of which will be destined for the hard-hit southern administrative region of Salento.
About €85 million ($95 million) will be provided to growers by the end of 2020 with the last €35 million ($39 million) being given out in 2021.
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In order to be eligible for the income support, farmers must have suffered at least a 30 percent loss in their gross salable production due to Xylella fastidiosa in a single crop year.
“I naturally hope that the Puglia region will proceed as soon as possible with the implementation of the decree, so that farmers, after years and years of difficulty, can receive the contributions due up to a maximum of three years, and in this way also be supported in planning investments that look to the future of business activities and olive growing in Salento,” Bellanova said.