90% of the 1,900 inhabitants of Fuenlabrada de los Montes depend on bees to live. This town in southern Spain, also known as “the town of honey”, has 240,000 beehives! Since everything here is related to beekeeping, the neighbors are concerned about the decrease in bee populations. Bees and other pollinators face many challenges today, from intensive agriculture or pesticides, to climate change. But bees and other pollinators are not only important to beekeepers, they are key to food production too! Protecting bees and other pollinators is protecting the future of our planet!
About two-thirds of the crop plants that feed the world depend on pollination by insects or other animals to produce healthy fruits and seeds for human consumption. Pollination benefits human nutrition: it not only allows the production of a large number of fruits, nuts and seeds, but also a greater variety and better quality.
FAO carries out a number of activities to encourage pollinator-friendly practices in agricultural management, including the Global Action on Pollination Services for Sustainable Agriculture and the International Pollinator Initiative.
The recent FAO report The State of Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture also highlights that many species associated with biodiversity, including bees, are seriously threatened and urges governments to address the drivers of biodiversity loss.
Another study, titled Pollinator Assessment, Pollination and Food Production and launched by the Intergovernmental Platform for Science and Policy on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), in collaboration with FAO experts, highlights a number of ways to effectively safeguard bee populations to ensure food security and preserve biodiversity.
This year is the second World Bee Day. Today's event in Rome, aimed at raising awareness of the role of bees and pollinators in food and agriculture, was organized by FAO in collaboration with the Government of the Republic of Slovenia and Apimondia. The event had a parallel celebration at the UN headquarters in New York.