The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has urged countries and individuals to do more to protect bees and other pollinators or risk a sharp drop in food diversity. Bees are under great threat from the combined effects of climate change, intensive agriculture, pesticides, biodiversity loss and pollution.
More than 75% of the world’s food crops rely to some extent on pollination for yield and quality. The absence of bees and other pollinators would wipe out coffee, apples, almonds, tomatoes and cocoa, to name just a few of the crops that rely on pollination. Pollinators, such as bees, birds, bats, butterflies and beetles fly, hop and crawl over flowers to help fertilize plants.
Pollinator numbers and diversity have declined in past decades, and evidence indicates that the decline is primarily a consequence of human activities, including climate change. Sustainable agriculture practices, and in particular agroecology, can help protect bees by reducing exposure to pesticides and helping diversify the agricultural landscape.
With the World Health Organization, FAO has also developed the International Code of Conduct on Pesticide Management. This provides a framework on best practices that can help decrease the exposure of pollinators to pesticide.