Pollination occurs when pollen is transferred from the male part of a flower (the anthers), where pollen is produced, to the female part (the stigma) of another flower of the same species, where the pollen germinates. Pollinators (like bees, wasps, moths, bats) transport pollen between flowers, ensuring that flowers produce seeds and fruits. Many crops cultivated in East Africa require pollination.
Common crops that benefit from pollination include avocado, coffee, cowpeas, eggplant, mangoes, pigeon peas, pumpkins, okra, and tomatoes.
Indeed, studies have shown that 75% of all crop species, and over 80% of all flowering plant species are dependent on pollinators, primarily wild insects. Crops like passionfruit, cocoa, strawberries, eggplant, watermelon, cucumber, and pumpkin are wholly dependent on pollinators. For other crops, like coffee, avocado, mango and runner beans, pollinators contribute to increased yields and quality.
For trees and plants in natural habitats, the contribution of pollination to ensure regeneration with healthy seeds and fruits is yet to be measured or fully understood.
Studies have estimated that pollination services provided by wild insects globally are worth over €150 billion (or over US $200 billion). In the Baringo region of Kenya alone, watermelons worth KES 900 million (US $9 million) are produced as a result of pollination by wild insects, primarily bees.
The pollination systems and pollinators described on this website are some of the most common pollinator-dependent crops in our region.