Countries urge to protect bees for the sake of food diversity
On the World Bee Day, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has urged countries and individuals to do more to protect bees and other pollinators or risk a sharp drop in food diversity.
FAO said bees are now under great threat from the combined effects of climate change, intensive agriculture, pesticides, biodiversity loss and pollution.
More than 75 percent of the world’s food crops rely to some extent on pollination for yield and quality.
The absence of bees and other pollinators would wipe out coffee, apples, almonds, tomatoes and cocoa, to name just a few of the crops that rely on pollination.
To mark World Bee Day, FAO’s Director-General José Graziano da Silva said countries need to shift to more pollinator-friendly and sustainable food policies and systems.
“We cannot continue to focus on increasing production and productivity based on the widespread use of pesticides and chemicals that are threatening crops and pollinators,” Graziano da Silva said.
“Each one of us has an individual responsibility towards protecting bees and we should all make pollinator-friendly choices. Even growing flowers at home to feed bees contributes to this effort,” he added.
Pollinators, such as bees, wild bees, birds, bats, butterflies and beetles fly, hop and crawl over flowers to help plants fertilize.
In the past decades, pollinator numbers and diversity have declined and evidence indicates that the decline is primarily a consequence of human activities including climate change which can disrupt flowering seasons.
UN said that sustainable agriculture practices, and in particular agroecology, can help protect bees by reducing exposure to pesticides and helping to diversify the agricultural landscape.