On January 24, 2018, Filip Busz (Head of the Unit “Italy-Malta”) and Federico Spanu (Officer) of the Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural development of DG-AGRI visited the area of the Apulia region severely affected by the epidemic spread of Xylella fastidiosa. The visit, organized by Gianluca Nardone, the Head of the Department of Agriculture, Rural and Environmental Development of the Apulia Region, was an opportunity for the EU delegates to see the impacts and the consequences of the spread of the devastating bacterial infections for the whole agriculture sector of the area (olive industry, nursery productions) as well as the social and environmental implications.
Donato Boscia, representing the H2020 research consortia POnTE and XF-ACTORS, joined the visiting team to provide updates on the latest scientific knowledge and research advances on this emerging pathogen: differential host susceptibility, vectors, progression of the infections, symptoms, source of resistance in the olive germplasms, approaches to mitigate the impact of the infections and ongoing field experiments.
During a tour of the region, the EU delegates met the nurserymen of the district of Otranto, being among the major producers of grapevine propagating materials, and currently using the hot water treatment for the commercialization of their productions.
The visiting team included, besides Gianluca Nardone and his team, Silvio Schito and Angelo delle Donne of the Regional Plant Protection Service, Stefano Lafiandra and Salvatore Viscardi representing the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policies, and Donato Boscia on behalf of the scientific community.