Economic Benefit of Crop Pollination by Bees: A Case of Kakamega Small-Holder Farming in Western Kenya
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In most developing countries, crop production is by small scale farmers, who mainly produce for their own consumption and the extra for market. Pollination in such systems is unmanaged and is usually incidental, supported by nearby ecosystems. One of the reasons of not managing pollination is the lack of understanding of its economic value. The “public-good” nature of pollination in these systems also discourages individual initiatives intended to conserve pollinators. We evaluate the economic returns from bee pollination in small-holder farming systems. To do this we apply the factor of production method, a form of revealed preferences methods available for valuing ecosystem services. Our analyses show that bee pollination enhances the yield of most crops grown in the farmland and improves immensely the quality of produce. Almost 40% of the annual value of crops under consideration represented the net returns derived from bee pollination. More than 99% of this benefit is attributed to pollination by feral bees. We provide in-depth valuation of pollination service and discuss applicability and limitations of the factor of production method in developing countries.