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Fifth outbreak of Xylella fastidiosa confirmed on the Costa Blanca

THE MINISTRY of Agriculture has confirmed a new case of Xylella fastidiosa on the Costa Blanca, affecting 20 plots in the Alicante Province.

The disease has been found to have infected almond trees in Altea, Benissa, Callosa d’En Sarria, Gata, Jalon, Lliber and Parcent.

In September, the European Commission said in a statement that Spain is “losing the battle” against the disease that is “officially out of control”

Xylella Fastidiosa is one of the most dangerous plant bacteria worldwide, causing a variety of diseases, with huge economic impact for agriculture. It was previously confined to Guadalest, where emergency action has been taken, but it then spread to 26 almond orchards in Balls in El Comtat and Alcalali before making its way to Altea, Benissa, Callosa d’En Sarria, Gata, Jalon, Lliber and Parcent.

The current protocol, in line with European Union regulations, dictates that a plant found to be infected by Xylella fastidiosa should be eradicated, along with all plants within 100 metres of it, even if they are not infected: “Strict eradication measures apply, consisting in a clear cut of all host plants of the specific subspecies of Xylella fastidiosa, irrespective of their health status, in a radius of 100 m around the infected plants.”

The European Union recognises these regulations impact on the local agro-economy: “Although these measures impact on the local agro-economy, they are needed in the interest of the Union as whole in order to preserve EU agriculture, as well as public and private gardens.”

Regional Secretary of Agriculture Fracisco Rodriguez has confirmed that the ministry will publish the compensation plan for farmers in January.

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