Fallout from volcano forces Europeans to eat local

The plume from Iceland's volcano  (Photo courtesy Icelandic Coast Guard)

The plume from Iceland's volcano (Photo courtesy Icelandic Coast Guard)

With millions of travelers stranded at airports and in countries around the world due to the eruption of Iceland’s volcano, fruits and vegetables from around the world lay rotting, unable reach their European destinations.

Farmers in Kenya are hard hit by the flight snarl. They usually ship 10-15 tonnes of produce every day to different parts of the world and, so far, have had to lay off 5,000 workers, with  thousands more layoffs pending. 

Kenya flowersHorticulture is one of Kenya’s top foreign earning crops – 97 percent of Kenya’s flowers are delivered to Europe. To date the country is experiencing $1.3 million in lost shipments.

So far, AAA Growers of Nairobi has donated or dumped 50-60 tonnes of vegetables. Ariff Shamji, AAA Growers’ managing director, said he’s delayed harvesting some produce and might try shipping to Belgium or Spain. From there vegetables can be trucked to market.

Consumers around the world have grown used to being able to get their favorite produce almost year round. The idea of eating locally – a new concept for many – is one we should  explore and embrace. It’s taken a volcano to shine a light on a simple strategy that could prove critical in the coming years.


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