Farmers and growers are acutely aware of the importance of insect pollinators and their declines. And they’re concerned about the impacts on crops and wild plants, said the NFU today (6 March 2014).
The comments come following the publication of Defra’s National Pollinator Strategy consultation, which the NFU has helped develop. The strategy is Defra’s response to the problems faced by bees and other pollinators in the UK and what needs to be done to reverse declines.
NFU Vice President Guy Smith, who was also Pesticide Action Network’s bee friendly farmer of the year in 2012, said: “As managers of agricultural and horticultural land and custodians of much of the wider countryside, farmers and growers have a huge amount to offer in terms of helping to tackle problems faced by pollinators.
“We need to encourage their involvement and part of this will rely on today’s farmers and growers getting due recognition that they are part of the solution for pollinators, rather than hit them again with the ‘agricultural intensification’ stick and blame them as the cause of the problem.
"Farming can and does continue to deliver real benefits for pollinators, through continuing development of Integrated Pest Management techniques across the industry and uptake of positive management to provide food and a home for pollinators, such as the voluntary measures promoted in the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE)."
CFE launched a new pollinator management guide (click on the image to download it) at the NFU Conference as part of this commitment. It will encourage and help farmers and growers establish more pollen and nectar rich plants and provide insects with sites for nesting and hibernation.
“The NFU realises that pollinators are an incredibly emotive subject which is why, throughout, our main aim was to ensure that this consultation was balanced and based on sound science and evidence,” said Guy.
The NFU will now be liaising with its membership before responding in detail to the consultation.
The consultation closes on May 2 2014.