Smallholder farmers will soon be better able to weigh up the cost and benefits of adopting new practices that support some of the most overlooked contributors to global food security – the insects and other animals that pollinate their crops and boost yields. “Three quarters of all food crops need insect pollinators such as bees to get good yields, and 35 percent of all food production globally comes from crops dependent on pollinators – but there are worrying reports of declines in pollinators from several regions of the world,” says Barbara Gemmill-Herren of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Now, Maryanne Grieg-Gran of the International Institute for Environment and Development and Gemmill-Herren have co-authored “Handbook for Participatory Socioeconomic Evaluation of Pollinator-Friendly Practices”. This is a handbook that smallholder farmers and organizations that work with them can use to identify such pollinator-friendly practices and evaluate their impacts on livelihoods, incomes and health. “Sharing information with farmers about pollinator-friendly practices is a good first step,” says Grieg-Gran. “But farmers will adopt pollinator-friendly practices only if they can see that these practices will bring benefits to them – and while cash always helps, other less tangible benefits may also be important.”