Vol.18  No.523 Wednesday Edition, May 23, 2018 Third news page
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Pollinators called the future of food security

By A.M. Costa Rica staff

The world celebrated the first World Bee Day  Monday and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization urged countries and their peoples to make a greater effort to protect bees and other pollinators or risk suffering a drastic decrease in food diversity.

Bees are seriously threatened by the combined effects of climate change, intensive agriculture, pesticides, loss of biodiversity and pollution, said the organization.

The director general of the U.N. agency, José Graziano da Silva, went to Slovenia for the official ceremony to commemorate World Bee Day and said countries should adopt policies and food systems favorable to pollinators.

"We cannot continue to focus on increasing production and productivity based on the widespread use of pesticides and chemicals that threaten crops and pollinators," he said.

"We must now turn our words into action and carry out specific actions ensuring their survival and, consequently, our own survival," said Dejan Židan, the Slovenian minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Food.

More than 75 percent of the world's food crops depend to a certain extent on pollination to obtain yields and quality. The absence of bees and other pollinators would eliminate coffee, apples, almonds, tomatoes and cocoa, to name just a few of the crops that depend on pollination.

"Each one of us,” added Graziano da Silva, “has the individual responsibility to protect the bees, and we must all make respectful decisions towards pollinators. Even growing flowers at home to feed the bees contributes to this effort."

Pollinators, such as bees, wild bees, birds, bats, butterflies, and beetles, fly, jump, and crawl over flowers to help make plants fertile. The number of pollinators and their diversity has decreased in recent decades, and evidence shows this decline is mainly a consequence of human activities, including climate change, which can interrupt the flowering seasons, the U.N. agency said.

Sustainable agricultural practices, particularly agroecology, can help protect bees by reducing exposure to pesticides and helping to diversify agricultural landscapes, the agency added.

A.M. Costa Rica wire services photo      
Bees are essential to to the world’s food supply.

"Through agroecology, the FAO seeks to optimize the interactions between plants, animals, humans and the environment. Innovations are necessary and should be based on the joint creation of knowledge, combining science with wisdom and local experiences, as a social process," the director said, using the agency’s acronym.

In collaboration with the World Health Organization, the  Food and Agriculture Organization has developed the International Code of Conduct for the Management of Pesticides, which provides a framework on best practices that can help reduce the exposure of pollinators.

The official ceremony for the first World Bee Day was celebrated in the Slovenian town of Breznica, 50 km northwest of the capital, under the patronage of Slovenian President Borut Pahor.

Breznica is the 1734 birthplace of Anton Janša, a beekeeper and pioneer of modern beekeeping. His date of birth, May 20, has been chosen to be celebrated every year as World Bee Day. This year, the date fell o Sunday, so the ceremony was moved to Monday.

Slovenia, together with Food and Agriculture Organization, helped to establish the international day through a resolution of the General Assembly adopted unanimously last year, with the support of the International Federation of Beekeepers' Associations, the Association of Beekeepers of Slovenia and the Slovenian Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Food.











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