New Financial Aid for Apulian Millers Crippled by Xylella Fastidiosa

Millers will be eligible for payments of up to €200,000. The new €35 million funding is part of the broader olive sector recovery plan.
Salento, Puglia, Italy
By Paolo DeAndreis
Jul. 18, 2022 18:37 UTC

The Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies will pro­vide €35 mil­lion to Italian olive oil millers affected by the spread of Xylella fas­tidiosa in the south­ern Italian region of Puglia.

The funds will be avail­able to eli­gi­ble com­pa­nies within the next few weeks. The sup­port is part of a broader €300 mil­lion plan to help the most affected areas relaunch olive grow­ing and oil pro­duc­tion-related oper­a­tions where fea­si­ble to rekin­dle the local econ­omy.

The dev­as­ta­tion caused by Xylella fas­tidiosa has sig­nif­i­cantly affected the pro­duc­tion vol­umes of local milling com­pa­nies, mainly in the Salento area, in the south­ern part of the region.

See Also:Europe’s LIFE Resilience Project Offers Tools to Mitigate Spread of Xylella

To be con­sid­ered for the funds, com­pa­nies must doc­u­ment the dif­fer­ence between the 2019/20 crop year pro­duc­tion vol­umes and the aver­age yields of the 2012/13 and 2013/14 har­vests. Those are widely con­sid­ered the last olive har­vests before Xylella fas­tidiosa was intro­duced to Puglia.

The decree also pro­vides a new round of funds that will be avail­able before the end of the year, focused on the 2020/21 crop year.

Both rounds had been eagerly awaited by local millers, who had asked the gov­ern­ment to speed up the process on sev­eral occa­sions.

The decree of the min­istry, pub­lished in the Official Gazette, gives the National Agency for Agricultural Funding (Agea) 30 days to estab­lish the spe­cific pro­ce­dures that will allow millers to ask for a max­i­mum of €200,000 in recov­ery funds.

Because of the spread of Xylella fas­tidiosa, many Apulian olive oil millers have reduced or even inter­rupted their olive trans­for­ma­tion activ­ity,” said Giuseppe L’Abbate, an Apulian mem­ber of the par­lia­ment and for­mer state under­sec­re­tary to agri­cul­ture.

See Also:Court Halts Removal of Xylella-Infected Millenary Trees in Puglia

Those funds… will be fur­ther sus­tained by the mea­sures included in the National Recovery and Resilience Plan aimed at the infra­struc­tural and mod­ern­iza­tion relaunch of olive oil millers,” he added. It rep­re­sents a unique oppor­tu­nity for inno­va­tion and recov­ery to upgrade com­pet­i­tive­ness and main­tain the excel­lency of one of the most rel­e­vant Made in Italy food prod­ucts.”

Since 2013, Xylella fas­tidiosa has con­tributed to the death of mil­lions of olive trees in Puglia, which remains Italy’s most rel­e­vant olive oil-pro­duc­ing region.

In 2021, the Italian national agri­cul­tural asso­ci­a­tion, Confagricoltura, esti­mated that more than 150,000 hectares of olive groves had been impacted by the Olive Tree Quick Decline syn­drome (QODS), the dis­ease caused by Xylella fas­tidiosa.

Along with funds for millers, national and local author­i­ties in Puglia have enacted a series of mea­sures to stem the spread of the dis­ease and restore affected areas.

The goal of the cur­rent projects is to bring back agri­cul­ture and income to areas severely hit by Xylella,” Pantaleo Piccinno, the pres­i­dent of the Salento-Jonic Agriculture Quality District (DAJS), told Olive Oil Times in April.

We are work­ing with a new approach, to replace destroyed olive groves with new crops, reshape our ter­ri­tory and give strength to its agri­cul­tural excel­len­cies,” he added.



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