`An Estimated 33,000 Jobs Lost to Xylella Fastidiosa in Puglia - Olive Oil Times

An Estimated 33,000 Jobs Lost to Xylella Fastidiosa in Puglia

Nov. 1, 2021
Ephantus Mukundi

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Last month, three agri­cul­tural offi­cials from the south­ern Italian region of Puglia warned that the threat to the socio-eco­nomic well­be­ing of the area from Xyellela fas­tidiosa is being under­es­ti­mated.

On Xylella fas­tidiosa, there is still a tremen­dous under­es­ti­ma­tion of the prob­lem because, obvi­ously, we do not want to grasp the drama of the eco­nomic and social dam­age that the phe­nom­e­non pro­duces,” read a joint state­ment from the pres­i­dents of Confagricoltura Puglia, Confagricoltura Brindisi and Confagricoltura Lecce, Luca Lazzàro, Antonello Brun and Maurizio Cezzi.

See Also: Puglia Warns Farmers of Ineffective Xylella Fastidiosa Cures

Xylella fas­tidiosa was first detected in Italy in 2013. Since then, it has spread across the Mediterranean region. In Puglia, a sub­species of Xylella fas­tidiosa, pauca strain De Donno, is respon­si­ble for caus­ing a severe dis­ease lead­ing to the death and destruc­tion of thou­sands of olive groves.

The dis­ease caused by the De Donno sub­species of Xylella fas­tidiosa has spread rapidly over the years due to the high pop­u­la­tion of Philaenus spumar­ius, com­monly known as meadow spit­tle­bug, a xylem sap feeder and pri­mary vec­tor of the bac­terium in the region.

Additionally, the exten­sive plant­ing of two sus­cep­ti­ble olive cul­ti­vars – Ogliarola salentina and Cellina di Nardò – and the high den­sity of olive trees in the region infected with Xylella fas­tidiosa has aggra­vated the prob­lem fur­ther.

The first offi­cial report of out­breaks dates back to October 2013, in Gallipoli and Alezio in the Lecce area,” the joint state­ment read. In eight years, Xylella has spread and, to date, has affected about 150,000 hectares of olive groves in the provinces of Lecce, Brindisi and part of Tarantino.”

Considering the aver­age num­ber of work­ing hours that olive trees require to main­tain and har­vest, about 33,000 jobs have been lost, the three offi­cials said.

At this point, to restore these places and the olive-grow­ing poten­tial that was destroyed, the state and the Apulian region should invest €3.3 bil­lion, while only €300 mil­lion have been invested,” the joint state­ment read. This lat­ter sum is not enough.”





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