The Regional Ministry of Agriculture has detected the bacterium ‘Xylella fastidiosa’ in a grove of almond trees in the town of Guadalest, Alicante
Fear has already become a reality. The Regional Ministry of Agriculture, Environment, Climate Change and Rural Development of the Generalitat Valenciana, has confirmed the first detection of ‘Xylella fastidiosa’ in a grove of almond trees in the town of Guadalest, Alicante in the Marina Baixa region.
The devastating plant disease is already in the Peninsula. ‘Xylella fastidiosa’ is a bacterium with a very wide range of host plants which can cause serious damage to woody crops such as almond, olive, citrus, vine and stone fruit, as well as numerous ornamental and forest species. This plant disease is the same one that has devastated olive groves in southern Italy, and that was also found and confirmed in Mallorca as recently as in October 2016.
The feared bacterium has been detected in a grove of almond trees in Alicante, whose specimens are more than 30 years old and where the Regional Ministry of Agriculture carries out pest control treatments against the vectors (insects that can transmit the disease) on both, the infected plot and on the surrounding 100m area, with a crop protection product that is usually used in these cases. Likewise, the measures foreseen in the contingency plan for the Comunitat Valenciana, are being applied to the uprooting and destruction of the affected plot, as well as on the remaining plant material that may pose a threat by being a potential host for any bacterium that may exist on the surrounding 100 metres.
An intensive analysis and exploratory drilling system has been set up, in order to determine if there are more infected material near the affected plot or in the same region and neighbouring regions.
In addition, in compliance with European regulations, a designated area of 10 kilometres will be immediately established around the infected plot, although away from it because there are seven nurseries and garden centres within the designated area, where part of the material (olive, almond, oleander, avocado, walnut, citrus, among others) was cautiously immobilized last Thursday. A traceability investigation has also been opened to identify the origin and process of production and distribution of this material in the last three years.