Pollinators - no bees, no food?
An important production factor for many high-quality crops is often forgotten - the pollinators. Pollinating insects generate significant additional income for millions of farmers every year. The economic value of pollination for 2015 has been estimated by scientists to be between USD 235 billion and USD 577 billion for global food production through direct contributions from pollinators. Often, however, only the honeybee is considered during pollination. Wild bees, flies, wasps, butterflies and other wild pollinators provide 85% of pollination services. The conservation of habitats for honeybees and wild pollinators in agricultural landscapes is therefore of enormous ecological and economic importance. Wild pollinators are a free safety net for farmers and, unlike honeybees, can fly and pollinate plants in harsh weather. Seasonal anomalies will increase as a result of climate change. Late frosts, late and heavy rainfall or cold weather are already endangering the pollination of early flowering crops by honeybees in particular.
A new, cost-effective and economically self-supporting approach to protecting pollinators is "Farming with Alternative Pollinators" (FAP). In contrast to the sowing of flowering strips, which mean a reduction in agricultural cultivation area and are therefore usually only accepted against compensation payments, FAP uses marketable crops on the flowering strips, which can also be harvested. The cultivation is thus diversified without losing land.
FAP has been shown to increase income for several major crops. Since economic advantages are already evident in the first year and no investments are necessary, the starting hurdle is very low. Since FAP fields also attract predators and the use of chemical pesticides to control pests therefor decreases, the approach is also compatible with the concept of integrated pest management.
Farming with Alternative Pollinators (FAP)
- ↑ IPBES (2016). The assessment report of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services on pollinators, pollination and food production. S.G. Potts, V. L. Imperatriz-Fonseca, and H. T. Ngo, (eds). Secretariat of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, Bonn, Germany. 552 pages.