Dolly Parton once said ‘The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.The world we live in is also like that.
By Saikat Kumar Basu
Needless to say that spraying pesticides is important to farmers to grow their crops commercially and for a good economic return at the end of the season. But the challenge is that they are knowingly or unknowingly spraying way over the maximum threshold level of these chemicals often 6-10 times the recommended dosage in both developed as well as under developed or developing countries in both hemispheres. The key point being this is a global issue that needs immediate abs serious attention.
Over application of pesticides not only kill the target pests that harm the crop; but also kill a large number of non-target, farmer-friendly species like the pollinators. Research indicates that crop production goes up with successful cross pollination. That’s why we see farmers paying beekeepers to drop their boxes or bring their truck loaded with bee boxes to invest on the pollination services provided by the bees. It is not putting finger at one another, but, to spread education and awareness among farmers to train them to spray within limits, use alternate spraying regimes like night or evening or late afternoon spraying, practice organic farming, replace monocropping with multiple cropping practices, introduce stringent crop rotations, using natural botanical pesticides rather then synthetic ones, introducing sustainable agricultural practices, promoting soil health etc.
Without the bees agriculture and forestry will be negatively impacted in the long run. Hence we need to protect the bees for securing our own future with respect to food security, job security and more importantly economic security. We need to understand that our economy and ecology needs to work hand in hand; not against one another. The idea is not for unnecessary confrontation, contradiction, compromise or convulsion ; but, about conversation, cooperation, collaboration and coordination among various stakeholders to find a sustainable, environment-friendly solution that proves to be a win-win situation both for our economy and ecology.