Major decisions are being made by the farmers of Majorca on the spread of Xylella Fastidiosa disease, which has invaded a large number of olive trees on the island.
In November 2016, the first case of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa was confirmed in Mallorca. In less than a year later, more than 400 cases were already noted across the Balearic Islands. According to official sources in the Spanish Mediterranean Authority, the number of infected trees is increasing to 40 per week.
In Italy, whose size is 10 times larger, only one species of Xylella has been found, 5 different species were found in Mallorca within six months. Xylella fastidiosa is a bacterium that affects many plants, including some fruit trees. But it has devastating consequences for the olive trees. The bacterium causes the so-called “rapid fall of the olive tree”, a disease that has the effect of direct drying of the fruit and leads to a rapid killing of the tree tissues.
In the Valerian islands, besides the fears caused by the disease, farmers have to face the eradication plan promoted by the European Union, which provides for complete deforestation within 100 meters of each infected plant. The European Protocol even sets a ban on planting new trees until it has been demonstrated that the area is clear of the bacterium for at least five years.
The authorities of the Valerian Islands are in constant contact with the Spanish Government and the European authorities in order to achieve the change of protocol and the adoption of a less drastic solution while stressing the disastrous consequences that would have on the region’s economy if all the olive trees were destroyed
Despite the ban on the export of any plant material outside the Valerian Islands to prevent the spread of Bacteria from the beginning of 2017, the first cases of Xylella fastidiosa were detected a few months later in almond trees in the Valencia region of eastern Spain. Jump from the islands to the Spanish hinterland is considered as “inevitable”.