Potential socio-economic impact of Xylella fastidiosa in the Near East and North Africa (NENA): risk of introduction and spread, risk perception and socio-economic effects


The serious damages of Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) in Euro-Mediterranean countries (Italy, France, Spain) raise concerns for the Near East and North Africa (NENA). Therefore, a study was performed to: a) assess the risk of Xf entry, establishment and spread in target NENA countries (viz. Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria, Tunisia); b) analyse risk perception and preparedness level among agri-food chain stakeholders; c) estimate potential socio-economic impacts for olives, grapes and citrus. Pest risk appraisal suggests that Morocco, Lebanon, Palestine and Syria are the most exposed to Xf risk; other target NENA countries, except Algeria, have intermediate risk. Risk perception analysis shows that governance efficacy and practices application can be improved by involving stakeholders and raising their awareness. Socio-economic impact assessment indicates declining yields, production, profitability, export, employment, and increasing import, with the highest impacts relating to olives, then citrus and grapes. The study suggests that the expected socioeconomic impacts are unacceptable and require urgent action against Xf at national and regional levels.