The Value of Pollination for Farmers in Trinidad and Tobago
By admin July 10, 2015


The benefits that we derive from the global commons is imperative, but the tragedy exists in the fact that we undermine the monetary value that ecosystems services provide to farmers.

Pollination yields much economic value for farmers. Pollination, as we know it, can take place in many forms, such as through wind, between plants, or more well-known through insects such as wasps and bees. Pollination stands as a vital ecosystem service, which is often under-looked.

Intended to bridge this silo, the Project for Ecosystem Services (ProEcoServ) was launched in 2010 with the view of researching and establishing how to integrate ecosystem assessments and valuations into national sustainable development planning and decision-making. ProEcoServ is a bi-funded project under the auspices of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Global Environment Facility (GEF). ProEcoServ is currently being implemented in several countries on four different continents: Trinidad and Tobago, Vietnam, Chile, South Africa and Lesotho.

With specific reference to Trinidad and Tobago, ProEcoServ, in conjunction with the University of the West Indies (UWI), is being implemented in three main sites in the country, namely: Nariva Swamp, Buccoo Reef and eastern Northern Range.

In Nariva Swamp, in particular, the contribution of pollinators in crop production is being investigated and valuated in order to obtain a better grasp on how climate impacts the livelihoods of pollinators and their diversity, as well as the nexus between pollination and pesticide use among farmers. The main output is to develop ecosystem service models and maps for coastal protection; sediment retention; crop pollination; biodiversity – habitat quality and rarity, carbon storage; water yield and water purification.

In view of pollination, ProEcoServ found that ecosystem services such as pollination is vital for local farmers of hot peppers. The average values of one crop yields over TT$54 million. Under the ProEcoServ`s Nariva Swamp research, pollinators are responsible for about 75% of the production of Trinidad and Tobago hot peppers.

It should be noted that pollination is not only compromised in Trinidad and Tobago. Recent studies have shown that climate change negatively affects the range of bumblebee’s worldwide – significant pollinators in the ecosystem service chain. This stands as a factor that could see the levels of pollination significantly decline. Of course, this may be countered by means of the assisted migration of bumblebees, for instance.

In statements to the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Industry and Commerce, ProEcoServ stated that “this does not only have implications for how much pepper we have to put in our food locally, but also for the diversification of the economy and the strengthening of the agricultural sector. There is leeway for further research into sustainable farming practices that would counter the effects of pesticides and fertilizers on the sustainability of the country`s farming.

In the end, it is envisioned that the ProEcoServ will enable policy decision-makers to place greater value on the protection of pollinators at the national planning and development level.


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Thanks for sharing !

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