Food security

In order to be able to feed the world’s growing population, we need ever more food, which must be diverse, balanced and of good quality to ensure the progress and well-being of humankind.

Bees are renowned for their role in providing high-quality food (honey, royal jelly and pollen) and other products used in healthcare and other sectors (beeswax, propolis, honey bee venom). But the work of bees entails much more!

The greatest contribution of bees and other pollinators is the pollination of nearly three quarters of the plants that produce 90% of the world’s food. A third of the world’s food production depends on bees, i.e. every third spoonful of food depends on pollination.

”Ending hunger is everyone's responsibility.”

Ban Ki Moon, South Korean diplomat and the 8th Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 2007 to December 2016
 

Sustainable farming and income

Over the past 50 years, the amount of crops that depend on pollinators (i.e. fruit, vegetables, seeds, nuts and oilseeds) has tripled. Bees play an important role in relation to the scope of agricultural production. Effective pollination increases the amount of agricultural produce, improves their quality and enhances plants’ resistance to pests.

Cultivated plants that depend on pollination are an important source of income to farmers, especially smaller farmers and family-owned farms in developing countries. They provide jobs and income to millions of people. According to the estimates of an international study conducted in 2016 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the annual global production of food that depends directly on pollination was worth between $235 and $577 billion.

”The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”

Masanobu Fukuoka, Japanese farmer and philosopher

According to the estimates of the international study conducted in 2016 by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, the annual global production of food that depends directly on pollination was worth between $235 and $577 billion. Furthermore, agricultural plants that require pollination are an important source of jobs and income for farmers, especially small farmers and family-owned farms in developing countries.

 

Biodiversity and environmental protection

Bees are vital for the preservation of ecological balance and biodiversity in nature. They provide one of the most recognisable ecosystem services, i.e. pollination, which is what makes food production possible. By doing so, they protect and maintain ecosystems as well as animal and plant species, and contribute to genetic and biotic diversity.

Bees also act as indicators of the state of the environment. Their presence, absence or quantity tells us when something is happening with the environment and that appropriate action is needed. By observing the development and health of bees, it is possible to ascertain changes in the environment and implement the necessary precautionary measures in time.

”Bees are a sign of well-functioning ecosystems.”

José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization since January 2012

 

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