A suggested trade ban within the EU wouldn’t solve the problem with Xylella in olive trees, says the president of Dutch Royal Trade Association for Nursery Stock and Flower Bulbs, Anthos.
Following the discovery of Xylella in Spanish olive trees at the Belgian trading company, the Dutch magazine for hardy nurserystock ’De Boomkwekerij’ suggested their readers: ’Stop trading olive trees’. 85% of the 141 voters agreed, 15% disagreed.
’I understand most voters agree with the suggestion’, says Henk Westerhof, president of Anthos. ’Because Xylella is getting closer.’ Dutch authorities NVWA also discovered the bacterium in an old Coffea plant in a Dutch office. ’Fortunately NVWA responded correctly, but it’s not really an issue: it’s only an occasional discovery.’
Free movement of goods in EU
To prevent Xylella coming into Dutch industry several nurserymen and traders would like to see an import ban on olive trees. But that’s not possible in the EU, because there is free movement of goods between EU member states, Westerhof points out.
A trade ban would be possible in the EU, but Westerhof seriously doubts whether that could become reality for olive trees. ’If you think that you could exclude the risk of Xylella with a trade ban on olive trees, then you should not allow other host plants.’
Photo: Arno Engels