Whoever is regularly paying a visit to the supermarket, the gas station or any other place where you have to swipe your credit card will know that prices are on the rise. Inflation is real and we are all feeling it in our daily lives. For some products, the price increases are easily visible: one look at the fuel pump suffices to know that things are looking grim. For other products, however, changes are less obvious. Maybe your milk costs a few cents more, maybe a crate of beer is half a euro more expensive. But surely, at the end of the month we all see and feel the difference.
The reasons for that inflation are multiple. Of course, after two years of pandemic, it doesn’t come as a surprise that things have changed. But there’s more. The war in Ukraine certainly hasn’t done any good to price tags around the globe and, to be honest, we’re just living through difficult times. Earth is warming, the effects of climate change are clear and even if some of us are doing our bests to behave, it can be easy to feel a little lost at times.
Certainty in difficult times
And according to a new study by the University of Reading, published in the journal Ecology Letters, our natural surroundings – pollinators such as bees in particular – could actually help to stabilise those prices on the rise. In the magazine Ecology Letters, they explain how.
Our findings suggest that preserving pollinators provides a double benefit, reducing fluctuations in food supplies as well as boosting supplies in the first place.Study by the University of Reading
“Stable and predictable production of nutritious food is a necessity for farmers and for global food security. We are seeing right now that instability or shocks across the food system can lead to dramatic increases in food price.”
“The research has revealed another reason why pollinators are so important to our planet, and to so many families who are struggling to feed themselves with sufficient, safe and nutritious food. Pollinators are particularly important in the production of fruit and vegetable crops. Around half of the experiments we analysed were testing the effect of real pollinator populations in real crop fields so our results illustrate the benefits that pollinators are currently providing.”
In short: by analysing more than 200 studies about the effects of pollinators on crops, they found that bees and other pollinating insects have a big impact on the stability of the produce. They found there was 32% less variation in the yields of plants visited by bees and other pollinators than those grown in absence of pollinators. Meaning that in a world where very few things are certain (due to drought, storms, floods and others), pollinators can bring a bit of certainty to the crops and their prices.