Most crops require pollination by insects to produce fruits and seeds. Pollination can enhance yields more than fertilizer in some cases, but farmers are not adequately managing and promoting this free agricultural service. In Karnali, 70% of crops are pollinator-dependent 1, but most farmers lack the awareness and skills to manage pollination, therefore reducing their yield potential, livelihoods and food security. Similarly, governmental programs and policies are overlooking the importance of pollinators in agriculture. Government extension workers and agricultural training centres would therefore benefit from enhanced pollination awareness and capacity development. Pollinators are a crucial component of organic agriculture as they enhance crop yields, even in the absence of chemical inputs. However, pollination has not been integrated into the Organic Karnali Strategy or any other policy framework. We highlight the urgent need for a policy-focused Pollinator Strategy to integrate pollination management into the agricultural systems of Karnali Province, providing long-term benefits to farmers, biodiversity and the economy.
This policy brief is an output of the Darwin Initiative funded Embedding sustainable pollination management into Nepalese agriculture system jointly implemented by LI-BIRD and HERDi with technical support from University of Bristol, UK; Agriculture and Forestry University and Tribhuvan University, Nepal.