Xyella fastidiosa (Xf), the dreaded olive tree killer, has hit the French island Corsica. Positive cases have been identified in Myrtle-leaf Milkwort plants in Propiano South Corsica and confirmed by France’s Ministry of Agriculture.
See more: Complete coverage of the Xf outbreak
The prefecture of Corse Sud (South Corsica) has started an emergency plan to uproot trees and disinfect the whole area and amid fears that a situation similar to that in neighbouring Puglia Italy might arise on the island.
Today, the island boasts 7,000 hectares of olive groves, a worrying thought for Corsica if the disease spreads to the north of the island. Olive trees have grown here for thousands of years and picking olives is an old tradition for the people of Corsica who see the olive tree as a tree of life.
Mainland France is also in danger should the dreaded disease spreads, as up until now the only solution is to uproot the trees. France boasts four million olive trees and produced an estimated 5,000 tons of olive oil in 2013/2014.