HomeConsum-actorsXylella and emergency decree, debate and petition

Xylella and emergency decree, debate and petition

'Xylella, a democratic emergency. Illegality and unconstitutionality of the measures'. On 12.4.19 in the Chamber of Deputies the dangers inherent in the so-calledemergency decree', where the application of drastic phytosanitary measures is also authorized on monumental olive trees. Voice to the Apulian olive growers and a lot of smell of burning. A petition to prevent exceptions from the necessary environmental impact assessments.

Emergency decree, the 5-star olive trees of discord

Sara cunial (deputy, former M5S) clearly denounces what happened in recent days in the Chamber. the emergency decree provides for the possibility of implementing drastic phytosanitary measures, including the destruction of monumental plants, 'notwithstanding any current provision'(Article 8). A serious attack on an already battered land.

'The one that is clearing customs with article 8 of the Emergencies Decree it is a method that jeopardizes the freedoms and constitutional rights and makes legal what in recent years has been defined as an agromafia crime by two reports on Food Crimes drawn up by the Agromafie Observatory.

In the Agriculture Commission it was decided at the table that the right of citizens to health, private property, security and self-determination as well as the principle of precaution and popular sovereignty can be waived in the case of plant diseases.

Under the pretext of Xylella management, a dangerous precedent is being created which will allow us to make a clean sweep of our agricultural heritage and which can be repeated throughout the country for necessity, economic and lobbying interests.

The moment has come to call things by their name. This is a mafia project, endorsed by a part of politics and by various subjects who can't wait to get their hands on that wonderful land in the area. A land that has already suffered a lot and that with this Decree will suffer yet another and perhaps lethal scar ' (Sarah Cunial).

Lello Ciampolillo (Senator M5S) had obtained the loan for use of a land that housed an asymptomatic millenary olive tree subject to a felling order. He established a parliamentary residence there in an attempt to save the plant which was however cut down in favor of the dark. 'But it is useless to cut, because Xylella is everywhere ', explained the senator. 'It stands on over 300 species, either you destroy everything or you don't eliminate it. The story that if you have a tree with the infection, cutting it down and buying another 'certified as resistant' is just a fairy tale. Resistance cannot be certified. The result is a tree that completely changes the landscape, needs a lot more water, lasts very little and produces a poor quality oil. A real folly to focus on cuts, instead of spending European funds to develop research and possible treatments.'

The 5 Stars Movement however, he dissociated himself from the initiative of his deputy, defining it 'a real lack of respect for the parliamentary work currently underway in the Chamber'. And he subsequently expelled Sara Cunial from the Movement, for having 'dared' to conduct the press conference anyway, albeit in a personal capacity. The expulsion from M5S had already touched - last December - another supporter of pesticide-free agriculture, Saverio De Bonis (president of the Grano Salus association). One plus one equals two, or rather four, like i 'Big 4' that control the global seed and agro-toxic market. But which side are the 5 (Stars), between 'emergency decree' and 'sludge decree'?

Emergency decree, debate in the Chamber 12.4.19

Laura Margottini (journalist of the Fatto Quotidiano) summarized the contradictions behind the Xylella case. Scientific uncertainty, first of all, accompanied by boasting results that do not exist. The doubts of science have been transformed into certainties by those who should have managed them with proportionate measures and instead used them to impose extreme measures. With eradication orders extended to the millenary olive trees on which are based not only a landscape heritage unique in the world but also the life and culture of the inhabitants.

Massimo Blondea (biologist, former scientific director of ARPA Puglia) denounces the most dangerous aspect of the emergency decree. The provision for the modification of the legislation that imposes the strategic environmental assessment of plans and programs on the territories. An indispensable and essential evaluation that must precede - according to European rules applied in Italy since 2006 - 'the plans, programs and phytosanitary defense measures adopted by the National Phytosanitary Service that give application to emergency phytosanitary measures. ' (1)

The 'emergency decree', as conceived, allows you to derogate from any environmental and landscape constraint, without even providing for a preventive evaluation of the impact of the envisaged measures. With the aggravating circumstance of denying public access to documents, consultation and interaction of citizens with the public administration. The administered are thus totally excluded from the decisions taken at the table hundreds and thousands of kilometers away, even though they loom over their millenary lands and crops.

Antonio Honorati (Via campesina and the Italian Rural Association) recalled how the origin of the Xylella case dates back to the late 90s. The concept of 'emergency' is therefore completely out of place. Instead, it is a picklock used in conjunction with unscientific assertions to justify unjustifiable political decisions. Political decision makers thus transfer the powers of territorial sovereignty from the local to the central level. Up to Brussels, where the decision-making processes are completely uncontrollable, in fact, by those directly involved. The rule of law is shattered, nullifying the rights of the peasants to sovereignty over their lands.

'Intensification ' is the watchword, in the wake of the Spanish model. Some are under the illusion of being able to finance a radical transformation of olive growing in Italy with emergency funds. But the hypothesis of applying the Hispanic canon of intensive agriculture failed from the start, for two essential reasons:

- orography and characteristics of the territories, biodiversity and production traditions in olive growing Italy are completely incomparable to Spain,

- the fragmentation of parcels and farms cannot in any case allow for economies of scale that are competitive with those in Spain.

Add one consideration of scenery. Although Spain is the top producer in the world, its olive oils are devalued as'commodities'and their prices are particularly exposed to fluctuations and market speculations. Conversely, Italian extra virgin olive oils are still recognized for the values ​​of the individual cultivars associated with unique territories and microclimates.

Mauro Giordani (Popolo degli ulivi, doctor of agricultural sciences) reiterated that the project of eradication of olive trees is not accidental. Instead, he responds to the precise objective of eliminating traditional olive groves to make room for various land exploitation projects. Like the intensification of olive groves and who knows what else.

Hardy trees, here is the evidence

Stefania Gallucci, owner of an olive grove in Squinzano (Lecce) which underwent two felling orders in 2015, shared her experience from below. 'We were served two acts, all of a sudden. The first ordered the cutting of 54 olive trees. I immediately asked to see the laboratory reports attesting to xylella on the fields, but they were not provided. The times we had were tight, they had to cut the trees immediately otherwise we would have incurred unsustainable expenses for us. In a few minutes we had to face this choice. It was October 7, 2015. I asked that they at least let me take the harvest, but the answer was no.

On 23 October 2015 I was served a second deed for another 21 trees. Fortunately, these trees were saved by a provision of the Prosecutor's Office. These trees are still marked with a red X and since 2015 they are still there and producing. It may be that they have some signs of suffering, but if it had been xylella they would have died. The first 54, due to the seizure were not brought to eradication, were cut only at the base of the trunk. And all 54 trunks sprouted, the trees didn't die!

The accounts don't add up. The modalities, the haste, the fact that I had not been given the certificates of analysis, the fact that the trees were identified by a military satellite that has room for error. The identification of one tree over another is not guaranteed. We asked for the possibility of entrusting the analyzes to a private laboratory, but we were prevented from doing so. By telling us that the laboratories cannot take exams, otherwise they would face penalties. Even this aspect does not seem democratic to me, the impossibility for the citizen to verify the conditions [at the basis of the provision, ed]. Unfortunately the press, what we have around us and see every day, is against us. We have at our side the Prosecutor's Office, which conducts a hero's job, and the University.

We understand that this is a Trojan horse. Thanks to the emergency they go beyond all the environmental constraints that preserve the monumental trees, something was needed to go in derogation from these regulations. There transparency there is no and therefore it is likely that something is hiding, that we want to bring to Italy an agriculture that already in Spain has devastated entire families and areas, because it requires huge quantities of water that we do not have, they are trees that would go into production immediately while ours need time.

They live little, they make a poor quality product, while ours makes a product that is considered a drug. They want to force us to use toxic products. They would like to completely alter and violate the identity of our landscape. If the Constitution says that private property is protected by the state because it has a social function, this social function must not be placed on the shoulders of citizens alone. It is evident that the land in this way is absolutely depreciated, we tried to sell it but they offered us ridiculous prices. The fear is that we can return to a new generation of large estates, that step forward made with land reforms in the past could be overtaken by owners who are multinationals and need little labor. Going to completely alter the economic, cultural and environmental context of an entire region. '

The word to science

Patricia Gentilini (Association of Doctors for the Environment, ISDE) has already produced several scientific documents on the subject and expresses deep indignation at what is happening. It was believed to have hit rock bottom with the Martina decree, which authorized the use of neonicotinoids already banned in Europe, without any sound scientific basis. The art. 8 of this decree undermines the fundamental bases of law, the Constitution, the right to health and information. On the basis of a false emergency, which instead has lasted for decades, it is intended to derogate from all these regulations.

Critical issues, disguised as an emergency, they represent the perfect excuse to derogate from the laws and carry out plans, such as monoculture, which are absolutely the opposite of what we need, that is, a different and more respectful agriculture. We already have a dissemination of 100 tons of pesticides on Italian agricultural soils and we are well aware that they are one of the causes of serious damage to human health.

Pesticides are persistent substances that we find in glaciers as well as in our bodies, up to the spermatozoa. These substances cause an alteration of the expression of the genome and the diseases are transferred from one generation to another. The latest studies show that the risk of autism increases by 40% in children born to women exposed during pregnancy to the most commonly used agrotoxins, such as glyphosate.

Cognitive impairment and reductions in the IQ these are just some of the serious damage caused to our loved ones by poisons used in agriculture. It is time to stop and reflect, to tackle global warming we must start with agriculture. Soil is the first store of organic carbon and by killing its fertility we kill ours too.

Emergency decree, the petition to protect the environment

ISDE (Doctors for the Environment) and Navdanya International have just launched a petition - to which GIFT (Great Italian Food Trade) adheres, alongside the #NoPesticidi group - to request the modification of articles 6 and 8 of the 'emergency decree'. We strongly oppose the dismantling of the rules to protect the environment. The ecocide of centuries-old and millenary olive trees cannot be justified, nor the derogation from the environmental impact assessments that must always precede any invasive intervention on the territories.

All our readers are invited to sign the 'letter to the parliamentarians of the Italian Republic' and to disseminate it widely, on https://forms.gle/AMaeCfhZT5htvFTT7 

Land grabbing in the South, thats enough!

Economic interests, agro-industry, mafia. Aulic lands already severely depreciated, small farmers forced to sell to new landowners to avoid the costs of eradication. Millennial environmental heritage replaced by intensive crops. You don't need a fervent imagination to imagine the most murky scenarios on the horizon in the Tacco d'Italia, even if you are forced to undergo the TAP.

The eradication of thousands of olive trees and the systemic use of pesticides are imposed with clearly unsuitable European measures. 'The European Union has been misled by what is represented by the regional institutions with improper data on the Xylella affair ', the chief prosecutor of Lecce, Cataldo Motta, told the newspapers. Three people are still under investigation for serious crimes ranging from the culpable spread of a plant disease to the destruction and defacing of natural beauty.

Intensive plantations of olive trees fast growing will allow to mechanize the harvest and perhaps to increase yields. But they will make us regret our oil, the medicinal food we are still proud of. They therefore represent a serious danger to agriculture and biodiversity. But the dangers go far beyond that.

It is a wicked choice like the one that, at the beginning of the 30s of the last century, reduced Italy to import olive oil due to low national production. Fascism had in fact condemned the South to produce wheat - for the exclusive benefit of the few landowners, proconsul of the party. A regime imposition, which now as then will seriously aggravate the gap between North and South.

It's not the first time that southern Italy suffers the theft of its wealth in the name of predatory economic interests. The "failure of Italy towards its South: solemn, undeniable, immense failure, which should represent a case of conscience for every honest Italian ”. (Gunnar Myrdal, Swedish economist).

Francesca della Giovampaola, (journalist, 'Bosco di Ogigia') deals with sustainable agriculture, always looking for alternatives to using chemistry and poisons. A documentary in progress will show the various implications of this story, in the hope that the usual puppeteers cannot replicate this model to cause other disasters elsewhere.

Dario Dongo and Giulia Torre

Cover photo by Alberto Mileti


(1) See Legislative Decree 152/06, art. 6.4


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