Pollinator Limitation and Crop Production: Experimental Observations on Few Economically Important Vegetable Crops in West Bengal, India
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Pollination limitation and its impact on agricultural production is a serious concern of recent time. Assessment of the extent of dependency of various pollinator dependent crops on insect pollination assumes importance in this context. On the other hand, measures for restoring the pollination service needs to be explored for sustainable production of economically important crops particularly for the benefit of the small and marginal farmers. The present study aimed to assess the extent of insect pollinator dependency of brinjal (eggplant) fruit production and impact of honey bee (Apis cerana F) box introduction on the production in vegetable farms of North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India. Through a pollinator exclusion experiment using enclosures it was found that brinjal fruit production reduces by 54.5 % when they are pollinator limited. This finding is in contrast with earlier report of 25 % dependency. The flower density in a pollinator limited environment was observed to increase by 31 %. This might be plant’s response to pollinator limitation where the plant invests more on reproductive structure than vegetative structures. However, this requires further exploration. Introduction of bee boxes in brinjal, pumpkin and pointed gourd farms showed significant increase in fruit production. This indicates both pollination limitation as well as the need for increasing the pollinators in the crop field for sustainable crop production.
KeywordsPollinator limitation Apis cerana Bee box Vegetable fruit production Brinjal Pumpkin Pointed gourd
We thank Mr. Nishambhu Sarkar, Mrs. Sandhya Mondal and Mr. Nilangshu Gayen of Swanirvar, an NGO based in Andharmanik, North 24 Parganas, West Bengal, India for providing logistics for this work. This project (328(Sanc.)/ST/P/S & T/1G-6/2009) was funded by Department of Science of Technology, Government of West Bengal, India.
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