Why is pollination important?

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  • Pollination services provided by insects, mainly bees, are worth EUR 153 billion a year, according to EU-funded research.
  • The production of more than three-quarters of world crops depend on insect pollination.
  • Crops that depend on pollinators include the majority of fruits, vegetables, oil and protein plants, nuts, spices, and stimulant crops like coffee and cocoa.
  • In terms of weight, 35% of the world food production come from crops which depend on insect pollination, 60% come from crops which do not (such as cereals) and 5% come from crops on which the impact of insect pollination is still unknown.
  • The FAO recently estimated that out of 100 crop species which provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 of these are bee-pollinated.  Read more.
  • The complete loss of insect pollinators, particularly that of honey bees and wild bees which are the main crop pollinators, would not lead to the catastrophic disappearance of agriculture throughout the world, but would result in substantial economic losses and greatly increased food prices for the consumer.
  • Pollinators, particularly bees, are in decline around the world. In some agricultural areas, farmers already have to import bees to ensure their crops are pollinated.

 

Reference: Gallai N, Salles J-M, Settele J, Vaissière B,  “Economic valuation of the vulnerability of world agriculture confronted with pollinator decline”. ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS. August 2008