The meeting took place last Wednesday 6th April at COPA-COGECA headquarters in Brussels together with representative organisations from Portugal and Italy, the Portuguese Farmers Confederation (CAP), the Confederazione Italiana Agricoltori (CIA) and the Confederazione Generale dell’Agricoltura Italiana (Confagricultura).
The theme of the meeting focused on sharing the latest developments of the LIFE Resilience project, highlighting the delivery of the HandBook with the sustainable agricultural practices to prevent Xylella Fastidiosa in intensive olive and almond tree systems.
Our Portuguese and Italian colleagues highlighted the need to know and promote, above all, ground covers and hedges on the margins of the plots as very powerful tools to fight against the vectors of the disease.
In addition, both countries highlighted that one of the key tools for the management of these productions is and will be the efficient use of water (one of the pillars of the LIFE project). Both countries are suffering from severe drought this year (Portugal in more than 93% of the territory and Italy in the southern part) and for this reason it is also essential to use the three methods proposed by the project: based on evapotranspiration, soil moisture content and plant monitoring.
The meeting reviewed the latest developments at European level that the EC is taking at plant health level to prevent the spread of the disease. Although we note that there are no new developments when it comes to dealing with the disease and neither at a budgetary level, we do see a change in the EC in the face of new diseases that come from third countries and which, like XF, we did not suffer from in the old continent at the time. The big novelty is the measure requested by the EC of compulsory cold treatment for oranges propagated from outside the EU to avoid orange moth (Thaumatotibia leucotreta Merryck) and citrus black spot (Phyllosticta citricarpa McAlpine). The EC itself stated that we should avoid making mistakes as in the past (in reference to XF) in order to avoid by preventive measures the diseases we suffer from Third Countries.