Detection of xylella in Porto Cristo last year was said to have been the first case. It almost certainly wasn't.

10-11-2016Quico

The regional environment and agriculture ministry has agreed a contract worth a quarter of a million euros with the company Tragsa for work to contain the spread of the xylella fastidiosa bacteria.

Tragsa will focus on supporting technicians from the regional plant health department, on collecting samples of possible infection and on cutting down and incinerating trees which are infected. This was explained by minister Vicenç Vidal during a voluntary appearance at a parliamentary committee during which he outlined actions being undertaken to combat the olive ebola "plague".

Vidal received all-party support for the approach adopted, which is one of containment as opposed to large-scale elimination of trees, which is what the European Union proposes. The minister called for unanimity among the political parties in defending the containment policy, which requires the elimination of infected trees and not others. It would be "worse", he said, if there were to be large-scale elimination.

He justified the policy as it would not aggravate the current situation in the agricultural sector, would not harm local produce and would not damage the landscape and tourism by cutting down thousands of trees. The Partido Popular's Biel Company, his predecessor, stressed the importance of following technical guidelines and agreed with Vidal that it is necessary to act with caution.

PSOE, Podemos, Més, Ciudadanos and El Pi all gave the minister their backing, El Pi's Jaume Font noting that his party had been the first to draw attention to xylella and the importance of controlling plant imports. He observed that ports and airports are not the responsibility of the regional government but of national government.

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