12 Aug, 2017 @ 16:55
1 min read

EU officials admit Spanish olive and almond blight is almost beyond control

Palma Olives
PLAGUE: Olive blight attacking Mallorca

EU officials have admitted they are powerless to halt a plague scything through Spanish crops.

The Xylella blight has hit almond, plum and olive trees as well as bushes and shrubbery, as a Brussels audit claims the situation could be irreversible.

PLAGUE: Olive blight attacking Mallorca

The disease has devastated large swathes of Mallorca’s countryside, with the EU now saying ‘the eradication of Xylella will be very hard to achieve’.

Current EU laws say a three-hectare clear area should be cut around any affected zone.

So far, 351 cases of the bacteria have been reported in Spain, with more than half reported in Mallorca.

The Mallorca Council’s environment department fears more almond crops will be affected in the coming weeks.

The variety of plants affected as well as the presence of different strains of the bacteria have complicated the battle to contain Xylella.

The first Spanish outbreak was reported in Mallorca in October 2016, with three cherry trees infected.

The European Commission describes Xylella as ‘one of the most dangerous plant bacteria worldwide, causing a variety of diseases, with huge economic impact for agriculture, public gardens and the environment’.



Joe Duggan (Reporter)

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