11 November 2023
CropLife Australia and its members are proud to be part of Australian Pollinator Week which starts today. To celebrate, we’re showcasing the extent of pollinators that work hard for agriculture and the environment, as well as the decade of industry led pollinator protection initiatives that have contributed to the health of Australia’s largest unpaid workforce.
“Most people think of the honey bee as the most important pollinator for our food, but the true story is so much bigger than that,” said Mr Matthew Cossey, Chief Executive Officer of CropLife Australia the national peak industry organisation for the plant science sector.
“There are thousands of animal pollinators in Australia, and the honey bee is just one of them. There are native bees, beetles, flies, butterflies and moths that all visit flowers to collect nectar and, in doing so, contribute to the propagation of plant species.
“Of course, the introduced European honey bee is also crucial for pollinating a range of specific crops. Even with the recent incursion of Varroa mite, Australia has one of the healthiest populations of managed European honey bees in the world and is well positioned as the industry faces its biggest threat,” said Mr Cossey.
In agriculture, different crop types have different levels of dependence on pollination. For instance, almonds, avocados, cucumbers, mangoes and apples rely almost entirely on animal pollination. Many vegetable crops only require pollination for seed production and breeding purposes while many broadacre crops like rice and wheat are wind-pollinating.
Mr Cossey continued, “If there’s one thing we’ve learned from this incursion, it is that having a diversity of insect pollinators is better for pollinator security and crop diversity. So, it’s in our best interest to make sure all pollinators have the environment they need to thrive.”
CropLife Australia member companies invest significantly in stewardship activities, which ensure their products are sustainably used in a way that can safely coexist with pollinators, both of which are important for food production.
“CropLife’s Pollinator Protection Initiative is a comprehensive program designed to enhance pollinator health and protect their habitats. This initiative includes rigorous research and development, collaboration with experts, and the promotion of best practices among Australian farmers through:
“Australian Pollinator Week is a great way to raise awareness about the value of pollinators in food production and also check in with agricultural and home gardening practices to ensure we’re not inadvertently harming bees and our other important native pollinators,” said Mr Cossey.
“CropLife and our members are deeply committed to providing the latest stewardship information and techniques to farmers, environmental land managers and beekeepers alike to protect Australia’s pollinators,” concluded Mr Cossey.
Find out more information about CropLife’s Pollinator Protection Initiative at stewardshipfirst.com.au