- The article discusses the growing concern over declining population of different species of pollinators
Importance of pollinators:
- In 2015, the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) established that pollinators lead to huge agricultural economic gains.
- According to the report, estimated pollinator contribution in India to be $0.831-1.5 billion annually for just six vegetable crops.
Causes of decline in pollinators:
The decline in pollinator population is largely due to anthropogenic activity such as
- Clearance of large tracts of natural habitats
- Overuse of pesticides and fertilisers- According to a University of Calcutta study, native Indian bees, when exposed to multiple pesticides, suffer from memory and olfactory impairment, lower response rates, and oxidative stress which damages cells.
Evidences of Impact of pollinators population decline on Agriculture:
- In Kashmir, researchers have said that lowering yields of apple trees has been due to the declining frequency of bee visits.
- Researchers assume that in north India, lowering yields of mustard cultivation may have been caused by disappearing pollinators.
International Initiatives to protect pollinators:
- In 2014-15, U.S. established a Pollinator Health Task Force and a national strategy that focussed on increasing the monarch butterfly population. It planted native species and flowers in more than 28,000 sq km to attract pollinators.
- U.K. has developed 23 key policy actions under its National Pollinator Strategy.
- Coalition of the Willing on Pollinators: The coalition aims to foster policy measures and innovative action on protecting pollinators
- EU Pollinators Initiative: it sets strategic objectives and a set of actions to be taken by the EU and its Member States to address the decline of pollinators in the EU and contribute to global conservation efforts.
What should India do?
- Promote organic farming and lower the pesticide usage
- Landscape Management: The government should formulate a policy of direct payment support to farmers to provide buffer strips for pollinators for nectar- and pollen-rich plants. Further, fallow areas and government land can be used to plant flowering species for pollinators.