Bees In Crisis

Bees are currently declining at an alarming rate. The US alone have reported a 40% loss since 2006. Aside from making honey, bees are a vital component in a healthy ecosystem; they pollinate 70% of the crop species that feed 90% of the world. One third of our food is dependent on bees. If Malawi’s bees decline or die out this will have a serious impact on biodiversity, agriculture and thus food security for the entire country.

How Bees Work

Bees are an ecosystems best friend and top of the list in as far as important species go. Bees collect pollen as a source of protein to feed to their offspring, and while doing so pollinate plants and crops. The process of pollination that bees perform fertilises the plant and results in the production of seeds, necessary for plant reproduction. Without bees, a vast majority of crops and plants would not be able to reproduce at all and in turn we would be faced with a global food crisis.

Malawi & Agriculture

Agricultural profits make up over 38% of Malawi’s GDP each year, making it the country’s main industry and biggest source of income. Not only is it important for export and trade, a risk to agriculture also threatens the livelihoods of small-scale farmers, which make up 80% of Malawi’s population.

The Government of Malawi has acknowledged agriculture and nutrition as key national policy priorities. However, threats to the environment of Malawi, such as a lack of pollination, a high population growth and insufficient rains, together pose challenges that make Malawi’s agricultural efficiency unsustainable and are putting the country susceptible to food insecurity.

Protecting Our Pollinators

One of the ways to avoid crop losses is to protect our bees, and we can all do our bit to ensure this. Lilongwe Wildlife Trust have partnered with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fumigation International Malawi (FIM) to encourage the general public to take action to protect Malawi’s bees, and so have begun a local campaign. If you live in Lilongwe and have bees nesting in your garden or roof, rather of seeing them as a pest and having them killed, instead you can have them moved so that they can continue to do their vital work. With FIM bee removal is actually cheaper than extermination. We also plan to extend the campaign to other regions in the coming year.