Italian farmers face ruin as a plague of “olive tree pedaling” destroys orchards throughout southern Europe.
The xylella bacteria have hit particularly hard in the country’s Puglia region along the southeast coast. This, along with hail and drought, has led to a 25 percent drop in the country’s olive oil production, according to the Guardian.
Italy controls approx. 15 percent of the total world market for olive oil, most of which ends up in the United States, France, Germany and Japan. Italian olive oil prices have risen sharply as a result of supply disruptions.
The country’s farm lobby, Confagricoltura, says the situation has been more stable among olive groves in central Italy.