After more than two years of waiting, the preliminary phase has finally closed, which will have to assign the first 22 million euros in reimbursement to Apulian farmers affected by Xylella. The Arif, that is the regional agency for irrigation and forestry activities, has in fact made it known that the technical-administrative procedures of 965 farms have been completed, of which 68 collective and 276 individual. These compensation requests were therefore admitted to the financing provided for under the Extraordinary Plan for the Apulian olive regeneration, which supports the replanting of olive trees in the areas infected with Xylella. The Apulian offices are also proceeding with the investigation of the 4,646 claims for compensation for damages deriving from Xylella for 2018, which will be followed by the investigation of the 3,848 questions relating to the year 2019: “Our goal – says the general manager of ‘Arif, Francesco Ferraro – is to disburse all the resources by the end of this year ».
Since the October 2103, when the first infected plant was found in Gallipoli, the advance of Xylella in Puglia has never stopped. To date, it has affected over 8 thousand square kilometers of land, 40% of the Apulian territory, with over 21 million infected olive trees, many of which are monumental, and 5 thousand jobs lost in the extra virgin olive oil supply chain. In March 2020, with a decree signed by the then Minister of Agriculture Teresa Bellanova, 300 million euros were urgently allocated for the support of the affected farmers, who should have proceeded with the harvesting of the sick olive trees and then replanting with varieties resistant. But the procedures got bogged down right away, with administrative appeals, withdrawal of rankings and new investigations. Now, after months of protest by farmers’ associations, something is starting to move, even if for the actual delivery of the money it will be necessary to wait until the end of the year.