The president of the Apulia Region, Nichi Vendola, sent an official letter on December 3 to Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, to request a joint meeting with the director of the Civil Protection, Franco Gabrielli, and the Minister of Agriculture, Maurizio Martina to take stock of Xylella fastidiosa (XF) epidemic that has been scourging the Salento county, the southern part of the region, for one year.
Vendola’s letter follows an inspection that EU commissioners completed on November 25 on the infestation to verify the implementation of EU measures to combat the epidemic, including the creation of a “phytosanitary cordon” — a belt of territory isolating the infested area (now limited to Salento county) — as well as the elimination of the infected trees by cutting down, uprooting and destructing them.
See more: Complete Coverage of the Xylella fastidiosa Outbreak in Italy
Investigators have also collected information about the strain of XF infesting Salento, called “CoDiRo,” and the critical aspects of its transmission to define the best methods to manage the outbreak. Finally, they have highlighted the importance of monitoring the transport of plants that could spread the infection to healthy areas.
Vendola requested a commissioner with special powers appointed to accelerate the implementation of the mandatory phytosanitary measures required by the EU. Since the measures need to be performed on both public and private areas, they should be implemented, Vendola said, by waiving public procurement procedures as well as environmental impact assessment procedures, and coercively as necessary.
Vendola said: “A close coordination of our Region, Ministry of Agriculture and Civil Protection is necessary to control and punish the defaulters as just a full and fast implementation of the phytosanitary measures can prevent a quick spread of bacterial infection in other Italian regions.”