Coldiretti begins planting olive trees as growers in Salento continue to wait for government action

pierces disease xyella pugliaThe Puglia chapter of Coldiretti, the Italian national confederation of farmers and food producers, has begun planting new olive trees in Puglia where olive groves have been decimated by Pierce’s Disease (image via Gianni Cantele’s Facebook).

As literally thousands of infected olive trees are being grubbed up to stop the spread of the recent Pierce’s Disease outbreak in Puglia, this week Coldiretti (the Italian national confederation of farmers and food producers) began planting new trees that it believes will be resistant to Xylella fastidiosa the pathogen that causes the disease.

(For background, click here for recent New York Times coverage of the crisis.)

In the face of government inaction, growers and bottlers are becoming increasingly concerned that too little is being done to save their livelihood and guarantee that future generations of Pugliese growers will be able to carry on in a tradition of olive oil production that spans millennia.

In the meantime, Coldiretti has begun working unilaterally to help revive the industry.

“Two symbols of hope for Salento olive growers,” wrote Puglia Coldiretti president Gianni Cantele on his Facebook this week, “a young Leccino [olive cultivar] planting and the Coldiretti flag. Today, we have shown that we represent real business owners who still believe in what they are doing.”

Even if you don’t speak Italian, please see this video. It shows not only the Coldiretti tractors as they campaign to raise awareness of the crisis facing Pugliese growers but also includes some shots of infected trees and new plantings.

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