After destroying entire olive groves in Italy and last year appearing in the Balearic Islands, the first case of the destructive bacterium Xylella fastidiosa has been confirmed on mainland Spain, making farmers worry in the land where olive oil is liquid gold.
“Clearly, we are not going to be able to stop this; it’s a question of time before it reaches us,” said Luis Carlos Valero, leader of the ASAJA farmers’ union in Jaén, after the plague was confirmed as having been detected in Alicante last week.
The fact that the first affected plant on the mainland was an almond tree is no consolation for olive growers; more than 300 European plant species have proved to be susceptible to Xylella.
In Italy around a million trees are reported to have been killed by ‘olive quick decline syndrome’ after being attacked by bacteria that can be carried by various common meadow insects.
In Spain, which has 350 million trees and where half of the world’s olive oil is produced, industry representatives fear the impact could be catastrophic.
The first case of the destructive bacterium Xylella fastidiosa in Spain,