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ISHS Acta Horticulturae 561: VIII International Symposium on Pollination - Pollination: Integrator of Crops and Native Plant Systems

POLLINATION FAILURE IN APPLE CROP AND FARMERS' MANAGEMENT STRATEGIES IN HENGDUAN MOUNTAINS, CHINA

Authors:   UMA Partap, TEJ Partap, HE Yonghua
Keywords:   Apple, hand pollination, pollen, Maoxian country, China
Abstract:
The present paper highlights declining apple productivity due to the lack of properfloral pollination. At the same time, it discusses farmers' awareness about pollination failures and their strategies to cope with the crisis by hand pollination. Pollination-related productivity problems in apple crop and farmers' management strategies were studied in six villages (Suangma Shidaguan, Mati Guangming, Daguo Jingzhou Fengyi, Jingzhou Fengyi, Zhongu Shiggu, and Jincu Nanxin) in the Maoxian County of Sichuan Province, China. The findings revealed apple productivity decline in Maoxian was caused by the lack of sufficient floral pollination or total pollination failures. Farmers were aware of it and they understood the significance of ensuring pollination of apple flowers for maintaining crop yield. Hand pollination of apples is a common practice adopted by farmers in Maoxian County of China to make sure that each flower is properly pollinated. It is a massive exercise in a sixty-km long valley in which every family member men, women and children are involved. Various co-operation mechanisms among farmers have also evolved for sharing labour and skills. The practice of farmers renting honeybee colonies from beekeepers, even though cheap and bees are found in the area, is surprisingly absent. Two possible reasons for this: first, it was not promoted; and second, beekeepers are hesitant to rent their bee colonies because of excessive use of pesticide sprays on apples. Cost-benefit analysis of hand pollination revealed it is a laborious and time-consuming method of pollination. On the other hand, using bees for pollination by these poor farmers can be about eight times cheaper than hand pollination.
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