In attendance at Huelva’s Citriculture Forum organised by the Ecovalia association was Valentín Almansa, general director of Spain’s Health of Agricultural Production department of the Ministry of Agriculture. Almansa underlined the two main threats to the health of citrus crops: greening and xylella. Although both diseases are currently being tightly controlled by the public administration, the forum pointed out that the sector must not lower its guard.
There are areas of greening in the Iberian Peninsula, one in Galicia, and another in Portugal. Neither of them is a fruit production area. The cause of this pest, the African Psyllium (Trioza erythreae), has been advancing and is now spreading southwards. It has already reached the Lisbon area and is expected to continue along the coast. Psila, as the insect is commonly known, comes from the Canary Islands and the Azores, and reached Europe via seedlings.
Xylella is another of the pests that has alerted the security systems of the Ministry of Agriculture. Almansa explained that it causes a disease which affects a wide variety of crops, including citrus. As the bacteria causing this disease is very diverse, it does not affect all varieties of the same crop. Affected areas have been detected in the Balearic Islands and in the Alicante area. The disease, which is under control, is known to have come from the movement of plant material.