On 21 March, the first spring day, the BeXyl Project partner UNAPROL, together with Ikea Italia, the farmers’ organization Coldiretti and the association AzzeroCO2 started grafting 100 olive trees in the Xylella fastidiosa infected area of Brindisi, Puglia (Italy). The Piana degli Ulivi Monumentali (literally, “Plain of monumental olive trees”) is embedded in the infected zone and has already lost a third of its priceless plants due to the pathogen.
The initiative is making headlines in the Italian press. The leading Italian news agency ANSA defines the project a “rebirth operation” and a “maxi-rescue”. The project is part of the National Green Mosaic Campaign, in which the other BeXyl partner CNR participated.
The management of centuries-old olive trees, ANSA recalls, is more complicated than common olive trees because of considerably lower production yields, the need to proceed with an exclusively manual harvest, and more significant difficulties in terms of pruning and treatment.
This year, the problems caused by Xylella fastidiosa add on the climatic ones, which have caused an estimated drop in the quantity of olive oil of 37% at a national level which even rises to 52% in Apulia, where about half of the extra virgin olive oil Made in Italy, ANSA reports.