Bees and bugs are making a tremendous contribution to agricultural production in Japan by carrying pollens of fruits and vegetables. According to an estimate released on Feb. 4 by the National Institute for Agro-Environmental Sciences, based at Tsukuba-shi, Ibaraki prefecture, these pollinators brought about a value of as much as 470 billion yen to the Japanese farm sector, 8.3 percent of the total crop farming production, 5,700 billion yen, in 2013.
70 percent of the value, 330 billion yen, was contributed by wild insects of pollen carriers. Wild pollinators played a more valuable role in crop production than artificial pollinators such as buff-tailed bumblebees.
In the total contribution of 330 billion yen by native pollinators, fruits got the biggest share of 195.2 billion yen, followed by 66.6 billion yen of vegetable-fruits including strawberry and watermelon, and 59.9 billion yen of fruit-vegetables such as cucumber and tomato. The latest study of the Institute demonstrated a fact that production of fruits and vegetables is heavily dependent on “services” rendered by pollinators.
In the meantime, many scientists and institutes are seriously concerned about a decline in the population of “flower-visiting” insects such as honey bees around the globe.
(Feb. 5, 2016)