Insects pollinate crops and work as natural predators in the field. Yet insects often have a negative reputation in agriculture, and billions of dollars are spent every year fighting them. The use of pesticides, a loss of habitats, the cultivation of exogenous species, all provide potential threats for insect populations: their effect is seen in, for example, the decline of bee populations. What are the implications of this for family farmers? Can they contribute to efforts restore insect populations?
This issue of Farming Matters looks at these issues, focusing on the many ways in which small-scale farmers benefit from insects, and on the steps they take in order to increase these benefits.