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‘Olive tree leprosy’ that ruined Italy’s olive oil production

Italian farmers are facing destruction as a plague of “olive-leprosy” destroying gardens throughout southern Europe.

Xylella bacteria strongly hit the Puglia region of the country on its southeast coast. That along with heavy rainfall and drought has led to a 25 percent drop in the country’s olive oil production, according to the Guardian.

Italy controls nearly 15 percent of the world’s total olive oil market, most of which goes to the United States, France, Germany and Japan. Prices for Italian olive oil became sharp as a result of supply disruptions.

The country’s farm lobby, Confagricoltura, said the situation has become more stable among olive trees in central Italy.

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