-Olive Harvest in the Infected Zone

Two brothers harvesting their olives in the countryside at the souther end of Salento, deep in the area affected by the “CoDiRO” outbreak, the disease commonly known as “Xylella” (after a plant bacteria that is one of its causes) that is affecting millions of olive trees and threatens to wipe out the area’s main production. These two brothers work as labourers in agriculture, but there isn’t much to do now. “You wouldn’t see us here on a weekday a few years ago, we’d come only on the weekend, with our father. But there is no more work around here, all the trees are dead.” Their trees are also sick, showing patches of desiccated orange leaves that are the first sign of infection, and this year they produced a fraction of what they usually did. “No, our father doesn’t come here anymore, it breaks his heart to see his old trees in this condition. We came out of habit, but look at how many olives there are, it’s not worth the money of the gas I used to drive the tractor here.” As hundreds of thousands of olive trees are slowly dying, the countryside if Salento is being abandoned.