The Ulster Farmers Union has welcomed the launch of the all-Ireland 2015-2020 Pollinator Plan, which highlights actions needed to help protect pollinators and the livelihoods of farmers who rely on them.
The launch of the action plan sees 68 organisations from across Ireland coming together to work towards combating further decline. It sets out 81 separate action points to make Ireland more pollinator friendly, identifying actions that can be taken on farm, public and private land.
These include creating pollinator highways, making public parks pollinator friendly and encouraging the public to see their gardens as potential pit-stops for busy bees.
In Ireland the most common pollinators are insects; particularly bees and hoverflies. These pollinators play a vital role in movement of pollen from one flower to another flower, ultimately aiding the pollination process.
Commenting on the launch of the plan, UFU deputy president, Barclay Bell said: “This is a positive step towards raising awareness of pollinators. Everyone has a role to play; and from farmers to gardeners we can all take practical steps to make our homes and businesses more pollinator friendly. Each small change to help shape the environment goes a long way to helping protect the pollinator population from further decline.”
This makes Ireland one of the first countries in Europe with a strategy to address this problem. With a third of Ireland’s 98 bee species facing extinction Mr Bell urged farmers to work towards improving management of land and the rural environment. “By taking steps to become more environmentally aware we will be able to preserve pollinator species for future generations. Bees, along with other pollinators, provide a free service worth over £7 million a year for apples alone in Northern Ireland,” he added.
Mr Bell said that like all wildlife pollinators require food and a safe environment, adding that action was needed now to avoid the local food supply being hit from reduced levels of pollination in the future.
“The fact that 68 organisations have voluntarily come together highlights the importance of this plan and the industry’s willingness to make meaningful change,” he said.
The UFU have supported this plan and are committed to working together on its implementation. Over the next five years, this plan will build a solid foundation to bring about a landscape where pollinators can flourish.