Italian Olive Oil
New threats to Italian olive oil producers
In Puglia, Italy, a disease is ravaging the precious olive crops which define landscapes and livelihoods in the region. The country has had to import olive oil for the first time, but there is hope.
"So far, some 25 million trees are either dead or doomed", says Donato Boccia, a scientist who studies the 'spittlebug', which is responsible for carrying the deadly bacterium. Hundreds of mills and family farms have had to close in the Salento area, a hard blow to Puglia's local heritage. The impact of climate change and evidence of the disease outside of Italy are worrying. But scientific developments, such as grafting resistant tree bark onto more vulnerable trees, are good cause for optimism. "If this tree is to have a future, there it is", says actor Helen Mirren, who hopes that the olive groves around her home in Puglia can be saved.FULL SYNOPSIS