EU Parliament members met in Strasbourg yesterday to discuss a new proposal to plant ‘recovery zones’ – with borage, daisies and lavender – on agricultural land in Europe to help revive declining bee numbers.
At present 75 per cent of food production is dependent on bees, and four out of five vegetables cultivated in the EU depend on pollination. Experts have warned that if the bee population continues to shrink it could seriously impact global agriculture.
At the meeting Chair of the Agriculture Committee, British Conservative Neil Parish, said ‘We’re talking about less than one percent of the land for bee-friendly crops – in corners where farmers can’t get to with their machinery, round trees and under hedges.’
‘And if we continue to neglect the global bee population, then this will have a dramatic effect on our already strained world food supplies… A failure to act now could have catastrophic consequences,’ added Parish.
The vital role of bees in pollinating fruits and preserving floral biodiversity has been threatened by increased cultivation of single crops, modified and treated seeds. Such monocultures reduce pollen and nectar – a staple of the bee diet – and are considered to be one of the principle causes of their decline.
Despite yesterday’s vote not carrying any legal weight, hopes are that it will encourage the European Commission and EU member states to recognize the importance of this matter and introduce measures to aid the survival of bees.
Environmental News Network