Around three quarters of the most important food crops depend on pollination by insects. To better protect beneficial insects, Bayer has added a pollinator module to its BayG.A.P. Service Program.
Insect pollination is of tremendous importance for agriculture. To put it in figures: Insects, including bees, contribute around US$235 to US$577 billion to the global economy every year. In total, this adds up to 8% of global crop production.
In recent years, there have been many reports about alleged honeybee colony decline. According to the FAO, however, since 1961 the overall number of managed honeybee colonies worldwide has increased by 65%. In general, honeybee health is a complex issue and most scientists agree that bees are suffering – not from a single toxin or disease – but rather from a variety of factors, such as parasites, nutrition deficiencies, diseases, and weather-related events.
Bayer has long been committed to preserving pollinators
Contributing to the protection and conservation of pollinators is an area in which Bayer has been involved in for several years, first and foremost with the Bayer Bee Care Program and its Bee Care Centers, dedicated to collaboration and research regarding the health of bees.
Since pollinators are fundamental to the livelihoods of farmers, it is crucial that they understand the factors affecting bee health and why pollinators are essential for agriculture. Now, the BayG.A.P. Service Program consists of an additional training module, dealing specifically with promoting pollination and bee health. “The new pollinator module is our response to growing international concern regarding the health of bees,” says Ronald Guendel, Global Head of Food Chain Relations at Bayer. “BayG.A.P. is a great platform to urge farmers around the world to make pollinator protection a top priority in their practices in the field and beyond.”
In the training module, farmers learn why pollination is so important for agriculture, what the current status of honeybee populations is, what the reasons for colony losses are, and how to identify factors affecting the health of honeybees. One particular aspect of the training module is recognizing and curtailing the spread of the parasite Varroa mite. Because once a hive is infected with this disease, it usually dies within three to five years.
Good agricultural practices are another way of ensuring bee health – and an integral part of the BayG.A.P. training course. This includes making sure farmers use crop protection products properly, in a way that does not harm bees, and that they know at which point of the growing cycle they are best applied. In addition, participants learn about modern application techniques and ecological enhancement measures to enhance pollinator well-being. “By showing farmers hands-on how they can protect pollinators while being productive at the same time, we can really make a contribution to the protection and conservation of honeybees and other beneficial insects,” says Ronald Guendel.
These articles might also be of interest to you:
Capacity Building in Europe, Africa, and Asia
BayG.A.P. goes online!