Buzz Kill

By: |
February 29, 2016 12:23 AM

Pesticides, climate change, etc, are killing key pollinators, putting farm output worth billions at risk

The buzz may literally go out for many fruit-growers worldwide, with a UN-backed report stating that bees and other pollinators are facing increasing risks to their survival—and this threatens global food output valued at anywhere between $235 billion and $577 billion. Increasing use of pesticides, loss of habitat to urbanisation and climate change, according to the Inter-governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), are the chief survival threats for around 20,000 species of bees, birds, butterflies and bats that are key to industrial-scale pollination in different regions of the world. In Europe, for instance, 9% of the bee and butterfly species, including many key pollinator species, are already on the verge of extinction.

Fertilisation in crops such as apple, almond, blueberry and coffee is entirely pollinator-dependent. With many livelihoods tied to these crops—coffee-picking in Brazil, almond-shelling in California, etc—the extinction of key pollinators, or even a fall in numbers, could spell economic disaster, the IPBES, which conducted the study across 124 nations, has warned; more so since farming dependent on these pollinators has grown by nearly 300% in the last 50 years. While the effect of genetic modification on such pollinators has not been studied, this could be a way to reduce reliance on pesticides, and thereby help conserve the pollinators.

Get live Stock Prices from BSE, NSE, US Market and latest NAV, portfolio of Mutual Funds, calculate your tax by Income Tax Calculator, know market’s Top Gainers, Top Losers & Best Equity Funds. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Financial Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel and stay updated with the latest Biz news and updates.

Next Stories
1Nutritional security: Getting it right in the first 1,000 days
2Reaping carbon credits from agriculture
3Govt’s ‘own goal’ on Aarogya Setu app will erode public’s faith