The Italian Ministry of Agriculture is working on allowing the replanting of olive trees, up to now prohibited because of the virulent Xylella bacterium. EURACTIV Italy reports.
Minister for Agriculture Maurizio Martina told La Repubblica that “those who want to replant should send a request to the ministry, where it will be dealt with without too much red tape”.
Applications are not limited solely to universities and research centres. Farmers who are testing disease-resistant varieties, or experimental farming techniques, will also be considered. “We want to give people the opportunity to find a cure for this disease,” continued the minister, adding that €4 million has just been spent on further research into the destructive pathogen.
Commissioner for Health and Food Safety, Vytenis Andriukaitis, recently weighed in on research into Xylella, responding to a letter sent by Antonia Battaglia, of environmental association Peacelink Taranto.
Battaglia called for greater attention at a European level, concerning the experimental research being carried out on the disease, which has decimated olive crops in Puglia. The Commissioner’s response stated that the “ongoing or planned research activities carried out at EU or Member State level shall under no circumstances slow down the process of implementation of the EU emergency measures”.
>>Read: Parmesan remains on the menu
Andriukaitis agreed that greater understanding about the bacterium and how to treat it are essential, but that curbing the spread of the disease is a priority that is “in the interest of the affected region, as well as of the rest of Italy and the EU as a whole”. Eradication of the affected plants will, in short, proceed as normal.