'Pollination crisis' hitting India's vegetable farmers

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'Pollination crisis' hitting India's vegetable farmers

Post by Heruka » Tue Sep 28, 2010 3:28 am

'Pollination crisis' hitting India's vegetable farmers

Uncertain times

In industrialised nations, such as the US and in Europe, many farms employ the services of commercial hives to pollinate fruit trees and food crops, and ensure they harvest adequate yields.

But Dr Basu said the use of domesticated bees in this context was not widespread in South Asia.

"There are honey farmers, but using hives in the field to pollinate crops is not at all common in India," he said.

"That is why a lot of the political noise about a global pollination crisis came from the US and Europe, because their managed/domesticated bee population was declining."

In 2007, about one third of the US domesticated bee population was wiped out as a result of a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), with some commercial hive owners losing up to 90% of their bees.

The exact cause remains a mystery, and last year a number of UK agencies - including the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) - began a £10m project to help identify the main threat to bees and other insect pollinators.

A number of possible causes have been suggested, including the misuse of pesticides, habitat loss and fragmentation, and the spread of parasites and diseases.

Dr Basu said that as a result of his team's field experiments, it was clear that India too was experiencing a decline.

However, he cautioned: "There are many kinds of natural pollinators. As a result, we - not only in India, but in other parts of the world - do not really know what is happening to natural pollinator populations."

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-11418033" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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