Collaborative action research

Under collaborative action research the Bees and Pollination Component has been undertaking apple pollination action research by engaging 30 lead farmers in six villages in six different valleys at different altitude and aspects in Chitral, Pakistan in collaboration with Aga Khan Rural Support Programme (AKRSP) – Chitral. The objectives of this action research are to:

  • Demonstrate the benefits of using honeybees for crop pollination to enhance understanding about its impact on fruit yield and quality of apple (and other horticultural crops) as well as on the possibility of producing apple/ orchard honey
  • Generate data/ evidence based knowledge on the role of honeybees as providers of ecosystem service (pollination) for establishing mechanism on payment for ecosystem services, and
  • Raise awareness at various levels (among farmers, beekeepers, local and regional government and non-government research and development organizations and institutions) about the importance of beekeeping for apple production.
  • Raise awareness about the harmful effects of agricultural chemicals and pesticides on bees and other natural insect pollinators (as agrochemicals and pesticides are also used in apple and cash crops farming).

Use of bees for pollination helps support promotion of green/ organic agriculture. This is because when we use bees for pollination we are careful not to use agrochemicals and pesticides as these poisonous chemicals kill bees and other natural pollinators in the field. Evidence of the impact of pesticide use on bees and pollinators and its subsequent negative impact on crop production has been recorded in apple farming areas of China where insect populations have been eradicated by pesticide use, and humans are now required to pollinate apples by hand; in India where apple farmers have to hire colonies of honeybees to pollinate their apples and in some areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan where disappointed by low yield and poor quality of fruits farmers chopped off their orchards/ trees. This requires farmers/ organizations to adopt IPM or make judicious and safe use of carefully selected less toxic pesticides.