With Flights Grounded, Kenya’s Produce Wilts (NY Times)

20kenya_span-articlelarge

[Editor's note: Travelers might be inconvenienced by the recent volcanic ash plume shutting down air traffic over Europe but lack of transport also affects our global just-in-time food supply chain, as this article from the New York Times highlights. Photo by Jehad Nga. Thanks K!]

Republished from the New York Times.
By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN. Published: April 19, 2010

NAIROBI, Kenya — When Kenneth Maundu, general manager for Sunripe produce exporters, first heard about a volcano erupting in Iceland, he was excited. “I thought, ‘Oh, wow, a volcano,’ ” he said.

And then reality hit him in the face like a hurled tomato.

Because Kenya’s gourmet vegetable and cut-flower industry exports mainly to Europe, and because the cloud of volcanic ash has grounded flights to much of northern Europe since Thursday, its horticultural business has been waylaid as never before.

On Monday, Mr. Maundu stared at the towering wreckage: eight-feet-tall heaps of perfectly good carrots, onions, baby sweet corn and deliciously green sugar snap peas being dumped into the back of a pickup truck.

“Cow food,” he said, shaking his head. “That’s about all we can do with it now.”

If farmers in Africa’s Great Rift Valley ever doubted that they were intricately tied into the global economy, they know now that they are. Because of a volcanic eruption more than 5,000 miles away, Kenyan horticulture, which as the top foreign exchange earner is a critical piece of the national economy, is losing $3 million a day and shedding jobs.

Continue reading at the New York Times . . .

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.