More trees affected by almond killer
A FIFTH outbreak of Xylella Fastidiosa has been declared in the Marina Alta, which could seriously affect the future of almond trees in the area.
Twenty more plots have been declared as infected, these being in Altea, Benissa, Callosa d'en Sarrià, Gata de Gorgos, Lliber, Parcent and Jalón.
The Director General of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Rogelio Llanes, ordered urgent measures of eradication and control to be taken with immediate effect.
Benimantell, close to Guadalest, was seriously affected, with six infected trees found in one location. Tests confirmed the presence of six individual insects - Philaenus spumarius, the carrier of the disease.
In the affected areas, a total of 8,126 plant samples were taken, of which 127 almond trees from 106 plots were positive. 2,388 were negative, and the remainder are still pending results. To date, in the whole of the Valencia region, 11,622 samples have been taken, with 4,563 negative results and 127 positive.
In the initial four affected areas, 143 plots (45 hectares) were treated with insecticide (lambda cyhalothrin) and 26 plots, including 975 almond trees and underlying shrubbery, were destroyed by the Ministry.
Affected tree owners were called by Ministry officials to attend an urgent meeting in Pinos village school in Benissa yesterday afternoon with technicians to inform them about how to handle the infection.
Residents, including many expats, have told Costa Blanca News that many other trees are being infected and they are demanding information to tackle the problem.
The Regional Secretary for Agriculture, Rodríguez Mulero, said: “The measures being taken are mandatory, and are backed by the Ministry of Agriculture and the European Union.”
He also assured that progress is being made in the field of research and in the study of a restructuring plan for the area affected by Xylella fastidiosa in order to give farmers viable farming options.
"Half of the information is being given to us, to avoid us making it public that the plague has spread beyond our province," the President of the Farmers Association for Alicante, Eladio Aniorte, said in a statement.
“In the face of this situation of defencelessness and opacity of information, the group AXFA ('Affected by Xylella Fastidiosa of Alicante') and ourselves will ask for the Provincial Council's assistance to support them legally and politically,” his press release stated.
The Ministry of Agriculture will publish the compensation figures for farmers next month.