Bees play a critical role in feeding the world on a daily basis; they pollinate plants, maintain the ecosystem, increase production, and also produce the lucrative honey that we all enjoy.
They serve as a natural middle-man between agriculture and the environment. In fact, they pollinate 70% of the crop species that feed 90% of the world.
That is worth celebrating!
Today marks World Bee Day, a day to celebrate the ecological, cultural, financial and health benefits of these wonderful creatures.
Here in Kenya, bee keeping is a source of income for many rural households. However, the bee-keeping sector in Kenya is still performing below its potential. There is a very real opportunity to improve this and improve the health and economy of the country in the process.
Having said all this we are losing our bees at an alarming rate. Bees are being threatened by disappearing habitats, climate change and the use of harmful pesticides.
In response to this, Trócaire is working with our partners and the bee-keeping communities we support to call on Government and other stakeholders to take note and act on the following:
1. Embrace transformative measures and stop the use and promotion of pesticides that kill bees.
2. Build Back Better targeting vulnerable bee-keepers, especially women. Covid-19 has had a negative impact on the agribusiness sector affecting all bee-keepers in Kenya. Building Back Better would mean ensuring that the bee-keepers, and particularly women bee-keepers, are supported to recover and adapt to the pandemic.
3. Develop and implement policies that support agroecology as a matter of urgency. Agroecology reduces the risk to pollinators by enhancing positive interaction, synergy, integration and complementarities between the elements of agro-ecosystems (plants, animals, trees, soil, water, etc.) and food systems (water, renewable energy, and the connections of re-localised food chains).
4. Allocate more resources to support the apiculture value chain. While we recognise resources allocated by both national and county governments, as well as the donor community with regards to the bee value chain sector, more budgetary resources are needed in order to create the level of impact needed to benefit our agriculture sector and our economy in general.
A world without bees would be a world without 70% of the crops that bees pollinate to feed us. A world without bees would struggle to sustain the global human and animal population. A world without bees is not an option.
It is the responsibility of each and every one of us to BEE ENGAGED and work together to BUILD BACK BETTER for BEES.