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East Anglia: Farmers urged to start sowing seeds for pollinator revival

PUBLISHED: 11:00 19 July 2014

Plants providing sources of pollen and nectar for pollinators, courtesy of the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.

Plants providing sources of pollen and nectar for pollinators, courtesy of the Campaign for the Farmed Environment.

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Farmers and landowners are being urged to get involved in a campaign designed to encourage the resurgence of pollinators and help boost crop productivity.

Country Land and Business Association (CLA) East says it is backing an industry-led Campaign for the Farmed Environment’s (CFE) Sowing the Seeds for Pollinator Revival project, which is offering growers packs containing a mix of annual flowers for autumn sowing.

The CFE is a group set up to encourage farmers to adopt voluntary conservation schemes in order to avoid the Government introducing compulsory measures.

CLA eastern regional rural adviser Maisie Jepson said: “The CLA is a CFE partner, which has proactively produced advice on how to implement options specifically for pollinators.

“Three quarters of the world’s major crops are dependent on, or benefit from, animal pollination. In the UK, insect pollination contributes approximately £400 million a year to the nation’s economy. Wild pollinators therefore have a vital role to play in the sustainable future of agriculture.

“Those getting involved in the scheme will be able to provide special areas producing valuable season-long pollen and nectar, helping bumblebees, solitary bees and other pollinating insects – along with crop and wild fruit yields, which will consequently help the birds and other fauna. Strengthening food webs in this way will help to make animal communities more resilient to environmental change, while also helping our food crops.

“Providing habitat for wild pollinators also has the potential to be financially worthwhile for farmers.

“A recent study suggested planting field margins with wildflowers can outweigh the costs of setting-up and maintenance because it can lead to increased numbers of wild bees on adjacent crops, significantly increasing yield.

“Many farmers have already been doing this through environmental stewardships schemes, but I would encourage those that have not to seriously consider getting involved.”

A one hectare pack of wild flower mix is available from the Sowing the Seeds for Pollinator Revival project for £35, with the offer limited to 10 packs per farm on a first come, first served basis. The closing date for applications is October 1.

For further information or to apply for packs, contact the CFE East Anglia Regional Coordination Office on 01223 841507.

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