Detected in Madrid the first case of Xylella fastidiosa in one olive tree

Detected in Madrid the first case of Xylella fastidiosa in one olive tree

2018/11/04 - The Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and Environment has confirmed the first case of Xylella fastidiosa in an olive tree located in a private estate in Villarejo de Salvanés. Immediately, the Community of Madrid has activated an action plan. In statements to Mercacei, Alejandro Benito, Director of the Department of Applied Research and Agrarian Extension of IMIDRA, has conveyed a message of caution to the olive sector, since, he says, they are working as quickly as possible and they will not spare resources to contain the situation.

The sample was analyzed at the Institute of Rural Research, Development and Agrifood of Madrid (IMIDRA) and -being the first detection in the region and in the whole peninsula in an olive tree- it was sent to the National Reference Laboratory of Bacteria that confirmed the diagnosis.

The detection was made thanks to the surveillance and inspection systems that are carried out on a regular basis by the General Directorate of Agriculture since 2014, with an average of approximately 300 surveys per year.

The action plan consists in the creation of work groups and monitoring, as well as the adoption of measures to address the presence of the bacteria.

In this way, both the affected olive tree and the others located within a radius of 100 meters will be uprooted and eliminated as a measure to prevent the spread of this bacteria. In 500 meters around the sample that has tested positive, insecticides and phytosanitary treatments will be carried out, both on olive trees and other plants susceptible to being affected by the bacteria. In addition, inspections and controls will also be carried out in an area of ​​five kilometers around the place where the positive batch has been registered.

The monitoring of the situation is responsibility of an Emergency Management Committee, which includes representatives of the regional government, technicians of the regional administration and specialized researchers of IMIDRA, whose Plant Health Laboratory has the specific qualification for the detection of the bacteria.

Likewise, a sectoral round table will be set up in with representatives of the affected sectors, such as farmers or olive oil producers, and the mayors of the municipalities in which actions for the prevention and containment of the Xylella fastidiosa are being held.

At the same time, the Ministry of Environment, Local Administration and Territorial Planning of Madrid has begun to work on a compensation program for the affected farmers.

Caution and transparency
Alejandro Benito, Director of the Department of Applied Research and Agrarian Extension of IMIDRA, has spoken with Mercacei and wanted to spread a message of caution to the olive oil sector: "A series of measures have been taken and from now on the protocol will be followed to try to find out what the origin of the bacteria was."

As we already know, the bacteria is transmitted naturally from one plant to another with the help of insect vectors and this affected tree could have arrived to the Community of Madrid from any area where the bacteria is present.

Although the task is not minor, "we have to act with the greatest speed and transparency", underlines Benito, who details that this same afternoon a sectoral round table will be created with all the agents involved to deal with the matter.

Despite his suspicions, Alejandro Benito says that "he can only speak of certainties" and it is still "too early" to assess the risk of spreading. What he does emphasize is the surprise of this detection since the optimal development of Xylella fastidiosa is between 26-28º C, a temperature that does no match the area where it has been found.

The Director of IMIDRA has also stressed that in the action plan "we will not skimp on even one euro" and we will use all the necessary resources to eradicate the bacteria.

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