President Barack Obama has launched a determined effort to save some of America’s busiest workers, the honey bees, crucial for the food industry and contributes a whopping USD 15 billion in value to agricultural crops.
Obama has created a task force comprising various agencies to address the issue of rapidly diminishing honey bees and other pollinators, who play an integral to food security in the United States.
Honey bees pollinate fruit, nuts and vegetables, and are crucial for the nation’s food industry.
They have declined sharply in recent years due to various factors, including pesticides, mite infestations and loss of genetic diversity, the White House said on Friday.
“Pollination is integral to food security in the United States,” it said. “Honey bees enable the production of at least 90 commercially grown crops in North America. Globally, 87 of the leading 115 food crops evaluated are dependent on animal pollinators.”
During pollination, insects, birds, butterflies and bats transfer pollen between plants, which allows them to make seeds and reproduce.
In addition to food sustainability, honey bees boost the American economy.
“Pollinators contribute more than USD 24 billion to the United States economy, of which honey bees account for more than USD 15 billion through their vital role in keeping fruits, nuts, and vegetables in our diets,” the White House said in a statement.
In California, the almond industry is at risk because it depends on 1.4 million beehives annually for pollination. Almonds rely exclusively on bees for pollination.