May 20 was the U.N-FAO World Bee Day. The agency says bees are vital for human food creation but they are under threat from a variety of human activities. Beekeepers say neonics are a major reason for high numbers of deaths of their domestic colonies. Experts say the same thing must be happening to wild polinators (iStock)

Warning from the U.N. – the future of bees is the future of food

World Bee Day

You may have missed it but this past Monday was the second annual “World Bee Day”.
In announcing the day last year, initiated by Slovenia, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Director-General José Graziano da Silva said, “We cannot continue to focus on increasing production and productivity based on the widespread use of pesticides and chemicals that are threatening crops and pollinators”.

A statement on the FAO website says 75 per cent of the world’s crops rely on pollination to some extent noting that human survival depends on bee and other pollinator survival.

The FAO has issued a number of short videos on its twitter site.

However, the FAO says all pollinators are under threat from human activity from overuse of pesticides, habitat loss, monocropping, climate change which can disrupt flowering seasons.

Across Canada, beekeepers have seen heavy annual losses in their hives and often point to the use of a particular family of pesticides, neonicotinoids, that have become widely used in Canada. Although banned in Europe, and declared as a risk to the environment by the federal Pest Management Risk Agency (PMRA), the agency has recently maintained the risk to bees is acceptable. The position has upset the Ontario Beekeepers Association which has said it fails to understand the PMRA decision.
For its part, the United Nations says individuals can help by planting bee friendly flowers, while farmers can help by allowing a variety of vegetation around the edges of their fields diversifying their field crops and by reducing use of pesticides

Additional information-sources

Categories: Economy, Environment & Animal Life, International
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