Global economic value of agriculture production resulting from animal pollination services has been estimated to be $235–$577 billion. This estimate is based on quantification of crops that are available at the global markets, and mainly originates from countries with precise information about quantities of agriculture production, exports, and imports. In contrast, knowledge about the contribution of pollinators to household food and income in small-scale farming at local and regional scales is still lacking, especially for developing countries where the availability of agricultural statistics is limited. Although the global decline in pollinator diversity and abundance has received much attention, relatively little effort has been directed towards understanding the role of pollinators in small-scale farming systems, which feed a substantial part of the world’s population. Here, we have assessed how local farmers in northern Tanzania depend on insect-pollinated crops for household food and income, and to what extent farmers are aware of the importance of insect pollinators and how they can conserve them. Our results show that local farmers in northern Tanzania derived their food and income from a wide range of crop plants, and that 67% of these crops depend on animal pollination to a moderate to essential degree. We also found that watermelon—for which pollination by insects is essential for yield—on average contributed nearly 25% of household income, and that watermelons were grown by 63% of the farmers. Our findings indicate that local farmers can increase their yields from animal pollinated crops by adopting more pollinator-friendly farming practices. Yet, we found that local farmers’ awareness of pollinators, and the ecosystem service they provide, was extremely low, and intentional actions to conserve or manage them were generally lacking. We therefore urge agriculture authorities in Tanzania to act to ensure that local farmers become aware of insect pollinators and their important role in agriculture production.
Agricultural practices to improve yields in small‐scale farms in Africa usually focus on improving growing conditions for the crops by applying fertilizers, irrigation, and/or pesticides. This may, however, have limited effect on yield if the availability of effective pollinators is too low. In this study, we established an experiment to test whether soil fertility, soil moisture, and/or pollination was limiting watermelon (Citrullus lanatus) yields in Northern Tanzania. We subjected the experimental field to common farming practices while we treated selected plants with extrafertilizer applications, increased irrigation and/or extra pollination in a three‐way factorial experiment. One week before harvest, we assessed yield from each plant, quantified as the number of mature fruits and their weights. We also assessed fruit shape since this may affect the market price. For the first fruit ripening on each plant, we also assessed sugar content (brix) and flesh color as measures of fruit quality for human consumption. Extra pollination significantly increased the probability of a plant producing a second fruit of a size the farmer could sell at the market, and also the fruit sugar content, whereas additional fertilizer applications or increased irrigation did not improve yields. In addition, we did not find significant effects of increased fertilizer or watering on fruit sugar, weight, or color. We concluded that, insufficient pollination is limiting watermelon yields in our experiment and we suggest that this may be a common situation in sub‐Saharan Africa. It is therefore critically important that small‐scale farmers understand the role of pollinators and understand their importance for agricultural production. Agricultural policies to improve yields in developing countries should therefore also include measures to improve pollination services by giving education and advisory services to farmers on how to develop pollinator‐friendly habitats in agricultural landscapes.
Report – Risk assessment of the biological control agent ANDERcontrol with the organism Amblyseius andersoni
Johan A. Stenberg, Anders Nielsen, Per Hans Micael Wendell, ...
No abstract has been registered
In Norway domestic sheep are mostly kept on mountain pastures over summer. Previous studies have shown that climate conditions affect the growth of mountain grazing lambs in contrasting ways. We analysed a data-set from the Tjøtta Research farm in northern Norway comprising weights and growth of 8696 lambs over 17 years. The lambs grazed coastal or a mountain pasture, 15 km apart. We found that the lambs grew faster when grazing the mountain pasture. Spring and integrated Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) affected only the lambs grazing in the mountains. Winter conditions (North Atlantic Oscillation) and summer temperature had a positive effect on growth in both pastures while spring temperature and spring NDVI were important only in the mountains. The positive effect of spring NDVI suggests that the mountain pasture will produce bigger lambs under future climate warming, while the lambs on the coastal pasture will be less affected.