Farmers’ efforts in bee protection must be recognised, says NFU

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The NFU is calling on government to recognise the efforts of the farming industry in protecting bees as Defra launches the Pollinator Strategy Implementation Plan.

Farmers across the country, with the help of the Campaign for the Farmed Environment (CFE), have voluntarily provided over 21,000 acres of floral habitat for pollinators. The NFU said it would like to see more government recognition for the work farmers are already doing.

NFU Vice President Guy Smith said: “Farmers do fantastic work for pollinators covering thousands of acres of the British countryside. This substantial contribution benefits local biodiversity and brings valuable and vital pollination to crops. This reciprocal relationship between farmers and bees has only improved over time. The CFE is running a successful seed bank for farmers to establish pollinator habitat and it offers practical guidance and training. It is vital that this is recognised by government alongside other conservation efforts.”

The NFU also has concerns about the funding of the National Pollinator Strategy. At the event today George Eustice said it would be ‘unaffected by cuts’ as a big part of the delivery was through the Pollinator Package of Countryside Stewardship – but this will not cover research funding.

Guy Smith continued: “Without doubt, the most important part of this strategy is the monitoring projects. Providing a baseline on pollinator numbers in the UK underpins everything – without it, we have no idea of the current state of pollinator populations. We need to be able to measure the impact of agriculture’s efforts in helping pollinators. Government must ensure the National Pollinator Strategy, especially the monitoring projects, have adequate funding. Otherwise, I fear the whole thing falls down.”

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