Gaetano Ladisa, Claudio Bogliotti, Generosa Calabrese, Chariton Kalaitzidis, Ioannis Livieratos, Carolyn Owen, Alessandra Scardigno, Eleni Stamataki, Cosimo Rota.
19 February 2021
Xylella fastidiosa (Xf) is an aerobic, Gram-negative bacterium of the monotypic genus Xylella. It is transmitted exclusively by xylem fluid feeding sap insects. Xf is one of the most dangerous plant bacteria worldwide, causing a variety of diseases, with huge impact for agriculture, and affecting cultivated plants of high economic value (e.g., olive trees, stone fruits—plums, almonds, cherries) or wide-spread ornamental plants (e.g., myrtle-leaf milkwort, oleander). In the frame of H2020 Project XF-ACTORS, analysis of the environmental, socio-economic and governance impact and vulnerability to Xf have been carried out in selected case study areas. To reach this goal, an extensive survey was conducted with the support of a comprehensive questionnaire in Puglia (Italy), Crete (Greece), Valencia and Andalusia (Spain). Questionnaires were completed through face-to-face interviews with local farmers, decision makers, extension experts and practitioners. The survey aimed to: 1) collect the point of view and perception of people about Xf disease and the containment plans; 2) identify possible gaps in communication, understand possible weak points in the communication strategy that could hamper the application and the effectiveness of containment measures; 3) understand the network of relationships existing among stakeholders in territorial contexts; and 4) collect suggestions from local people with a view to improving the management of information related to the disease. Questions were grouped under different main criteria: Knowledge, Perception, Practices, Involvement, Effectiveness, Responsibility. A scoring procedure assigned to each question a value to assess the corresponding indexes: DKI-Disease Knowledge Index, DPI-Disease Perception Index, FPI-Farm Practices Index, INV-Involvement Index, EFF-Effectiveness Index, RES-Responsibility Index. The overall values of RISK (DKI/DPI/FPI) and GOVERNANCE (INV/EFF/RES) were then obtained. To investigate linkages (correlation and causation) between Governance and Risk (perception and management) domains as well as among their indices, Structural Equation Modelling (SEM) technique was adopted. The proposed methodology proves to be useful to describe attitudes of respondents when facing the epidemic, as well as how they appreciate and tackle disease management. The work allows practical suggestions to be made to improve the knowledge-perception relationship that directly influences willingness to adopt preventive/control measures against the pathogen, and consequently will increase the efficiency of Xf disease management. The result of the whole analyses confirmed that the engagement of stakeholders, the involvement of expert groups (enlarged to experts in economy and social science) and an appropriate communication strategy are essential for a successful implementation of phytosanitary measures.
https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.2021.92014 | via Open Journal of Social Sciences.