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The Cambridge Strategic Research Initiative for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

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UKCDS Project: Pollination and International Development

last modified May 30, 2018 07:35 PM
Pollination and International Development: How bees can help us fight poverty and feed the world; project lead Thomas Timberlake reports to UKCDS.

Over two billion people in developing countries are reliant on smallholder farming and therefore indirectly reliant on pollinators, without necessarily knowing it.  Many valuable cash crops, for example coffee, cocoa and cashews, are highly pollinator dependent and almost exclusively grown in the developing world, providing income for millions of people. In fact the reliance on pollinator-dependent crops has increased faster in the developing world than anywhere else. 

As populations in the developing world expand, along with per-capita food demands, food production will need to increase by 70% come 2050 and this cannot be achieved by simply expanding agricultural land or fertilizer input. To ensure people are well-fed, in a way that is sustainable and ethical, we will have to intensify our farming in new ways. Understanding and managing pollination may be an important part of this and is something that researchers, politicians, agriculturalists and development workers will need to engage with sooner rather than later. 

Thomas Timberlake is a pollination ecology PhD researcher from Bristol University who undertook a three month project with the UKCDS looking at the relevance of pollination to international development.

 

Links to his full report and executive summary are listed on the UKCDS website

 

 

The Global Challenges Initiative is a Strategic Research Initiative of the University of Cambridge that aims to enhance the contribution of its research towards addressing global challenges and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030.

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