Pollinators in Peril: How Our Plates Could Be Left Bereft in the Future
On a good day, I need coffee to get my little grey cells into gear. This holds for millions of coffee lovers across the world. While I am no longer a big ice cream eater, the sight of vanilla ice cream and generally the smell of vanilla reminds me of my childhood outings with my late Mum. My best friend is waiting for the summer to rustle up her favourite melon salad, and I look forward to joining her with my cucumber and lemon salad. In the meantime, blueberries on oatmeal is a comfort breakfast, and apple pie is an all-time favourite winter dessert for most of my buddies. Another friend holds a world record in tequila drinking. The food items in question- apples, coffee, blueberries, watermelons, and coffee are not just food items we consume regularly. They are also part of our cultural landscapes and some of our favourite memories. What unites these crops is that they rely on pollinators such as honeybees, bumblebees and even bats for their survival. A world without pollinators will likely leave our plates and palates bereft.
What Are Pollinators?
Pollinators are animals or insects that transfer pollen from a flower's male reproductive organs (anthers) to the female reproductive organs (stigma) of another flower of the same species, enabling fertilization and seed production. Pollinators include diverse creatures such as bees, butterflies, moths, flies, wasps, beetles, hummingbirds, and bats. They play a crucial role in maintaining the world’s ecosystem and food production by facilitating the reproduction of plants, including those that provide us with fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. In the past 50 years, food production dependent on pollinators has expanded by 300%, including the majority of fruits, from apples to avocados, as well as coffee, chocolate, and cashews. This indicates that agriculture is becoming increasingly dependent on pollinators. These crops currently occupy around 35% of all agricultural land. Even though these crops rely on animal pollination to varying degrees — along with, for instance, wind-borne pollination — scientists estimate that between 5 and 8%of global crop production is directly attributable to animal pollinators,
Pollinators play a critical role in global food production and, therefore, the global…