Chestnut-killing wasp threatens major harvest
“Chestnuts are increasingly being incorporated into vegan and vegetarian diets – as well as being a Christmas favourite. But a small, invasive wasp from China is threatening the chestnut harvest in Spain.
Now government scientists are considering releasing another non-native insect into the environment to keep the wasp population under control.
Under the dense green cover of the Genal Valley in southern Spain, Julio Ruiz, a thirty-something farmer is collecting sweet chestnuts (castañas) with his father, mother and brother.
They are picking up the prickly nuts from the leaf-strewn earth, recognising through experience those that will contain the prized, large-sized chestnut.
But this year there are far fewer chestnuts to gather not just on the Ruiz family’s 30-hectare farm, but throughout the 4,000 hectares of the lush Genal Valley famed for its plentiful chestnuts thanks to its micro-climate.
“We’ve lost at least 30% of our usual production,” explains Julio. “It is all the fault of a small wasp. You can’t tell there’s anything wrong until the damage has been done.”
🗞 Article By Sylvia Smith
BBC News, Genal Valley, Spain
📅 25 December 2018
Click the link below to read the full article