Environment and agriculture minister Vicenç Vidal, under fire because of the apparent spread of "xylella fastidiosa" (olive ebola), admitted to parliament yesterday that there are insufficient resources to deal with the pest.
The Partido Popular's former minister for the same portfolio, Biel Company, wanted to know if Vidal was planning to devote more resources to the department for plant health, which only has a 300,000 euros budget and five people. The minister said that more resources will be made available.
He explained that measures are being taken - the burning of infected trees and the identifying of any new cases - and that instructions will be issued to farmers about combating the insect which transmits the bacteria.
Meanwhile, the national government's delegate to the Balearics, Maria Salom, has offered the assistance of the Guardia Civil (Seprona, environmental protection branch) in combating the pest. The Guardia, she told Vidal yesterday, can be deployed to control the movement of plants and trees at ports and airports. Although responsibility falls to the regional government, the cooperation of the Guardia, she stressed, would be "total".
There is to shortly be a meeting between the delegate, the ministry and the Guardia to come up with preventive actions.
Regarding aid to farmers for damages from the floods, Salom expressed surprise at complaints made by the Farmers Union and by the ministry. She said that the national government had yet to activate its mechanisms, assuring Vidal that the aid is being processed in the same way as it has been in the past. In 2015, for instance, aid was made available to 80% of Balearic farms. She asked that the issue shouldn't be turned into a "political battle".
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