Let’s make fertile agriculture bloom again with a Pollinator Index
Updated: May 20
The dramatic decline of bees, pollinators and life in our countryside is undeniable and it has been demonstrated that it mainly depends on current cultivation methods. Fertility is one of the common goods we are systematically destroying. From words to deeds: if Europe finally acknowledges that pollinators are valuable for biodiversity and food security, it will have to take concrete and effective measures. The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) has to practically and economically promote and support the presence of pollinators in their role of index of sustainability in agriculture.
The first CAP pillar, the “reinforced conditionality”, states the need to achieve
• “Good agriculture and environmental conditions” and “Compulsory management requirements”: if properly planned and implemented, they can guarantee a fruitful future to bees, pollinators and farmers.
• “Measures that increase the nutritional resources and the habitat for biodiversity”: the gradual and effective decrease in the use of pesticides and chemicals, reducing the interference in agroecosystems and promoting the use of natural control mechanisms has to become the binding standard for the provision of funding. Farmers need substantial resources and effective incentives to struggle against “green deserts” of monocultures and make biodiverse and colorful landscapes bloom again with rich and ongoing flowerings and varied vegetables. Selected varieties (for example, rape, sunflower and fruit cultivations) producing flowers with poor secretion of nectar and pollen have to be avoided.
• A drastic reduction of water pollution from phosphates, but also pesticides, biocidal products or veterinary products.
The second CAP pillar has to include:
• agro-environmental and climatic measures by promoting
✔ environmentally friendly production systems,
✔ organic and precision agriculture,
✔ renewable energy and circular economy.
• Agricultural Advisory Services to
✔ provide indications on agricultural practices aiming at an effective reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers and phytosanitary products,
✔ promote natural methods to improve soil fertility and parasite control.
• Support investments in precision agriculture using harmless techniques to bees and pollinators, for instance: droplegs techniques, autonomous robots instead of herbicides, big data, RFID sensors, pheromones, satellite images.
• Systems for knowledge and innovation in agriculture aiming at
✔ Improvement of agro-beekeeping practices,
✔ cooperation and active participation of agricultural communities.
The scientific community recognizes that bees are an efficient environmental agent to detect territorial contamination.
A continuous and widespread monitoring with the assessment of chemical residues and botanic biodiversity on matrices sampled in beehives can be carried out by devising and implementing a Pollinator Index, which can become a carrier tool of the CAP. This tool can provide the effective achievement of the above-mentioned goals providing direct feedback of the progress we can reach.
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