With cold-storage facilities at airports full, ready for air-shipment to Europe, growing piles of fresh flowers, fruit, and vegetables in Kenya will soon be fit only for cattle feed. Thousands of pickers are being sent home until air cargo services are resumed.
The Kenya Flower Council has announced that 3,000 tons of flowers have been lost because of the havoc to air cargo caused by flight cancellations. The Fresh Products Association of Kenya puts the scale of the loss at around 1,000 tons of produce worth US$ 3 million dollars.
Horticulture makes up 20% of the Kenyan economy and is the biggest foreign currency earner from exports, over 80% being exported to Europe. The only shipments that are leaving on schedule are those to the Far East; those destined for elsewhere in the world have to go through Europe and are therefore also detained.
Fish and flower shipments from Uganda have also been affected by the grounding of air traffic.