Socioeconomic data on pollinators

Pollinating insects create economic values by enabling or enhancing fruit set of various crop species and – in the case of managed honey bee colonies – additionally by the production of various hive products, among which honey and beeswax. The extent to which the yield of a given crop is affected by insect pollination depends on a variety of factors. Different ranges for the level of dependence on insect pollination have been defined for leading world crops (1). Based on this definition and on production data provided by FAO (2), the economic value of crop pollination by insects has been calculated for all current EU member states. The average economic value of crop pollination by insects in the EU from 1991 to 2018 ranged between 7 and 18 billion USD per year, equivalent to 8,1% - 9,9% of the total value of plant production. Insect pollination of apple produced the highest economic value, accounting on the average for 24% of the overall value of crop pollination by insects between 2014 and 2018. High shares were also found for stone fruit, oilseed, cucurbits and tomato. Crop production in the EU member states relies to a different extent on insect pollination. While in some central and southern European regions on the average more than 12% of total agricultural production depended on insect pollination, in some northern European regions, this dependency was equal to or less than 6%. Between 2014 and 2018, on the average 1,4 beehives were kept per ha crop area requiring insect pollination in the EU. In a few central and southern European regions this ratio was 2 to 3 times higher than the EU average and in a range that is commonly considered to be sufficient for pollination of many crops.