Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has urged countries to ensure sustainable food policies and systems to safeguard the bees.
FAO’s Director-General José da Silva, on Tuesday, during an official presentation on Bees in Rome challenged countries and individuals to do more to protect bees and other pollinators or risk a sharp drop in food diversity.
The report made available in Abuja, noted that bees are under great threat from the combined effects of climate change, intensive agriculture, pesticides, biodiversity loss and pollution.
“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.
He said it has become imperative to safeguard the bees because more than 75 per cent of the world’s food crops rely to some extent on pollination for yield and quality.
FAO top official warned that 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.
“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, while pollinators, such as bees, wild bees, birds, bats, butterflies and beetles fly, hop and crawl over flowers to help plants fertilise,’’ he said..
He observed that pollinator numbers and diversity have declined in the past decades, and evidence indicates that the decline is primarily a consequence of human activities including climate change which can disrupt flowering seasons.
da Silva, however, suggested that sustainable agriculture practices, and in particular agro-ecology, can help protect bees by reducing exposure to pesticides and helping to diversify the agricultural landscape.
He said through agro-ecology, FAO is seeking to optimise the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment.
da Silva said innovations are needed and they must be based on the co-creation of knowledge, combining science with local knowledge and experiences, as a social process.