Flower sellers in Kenya are losing an estimated USD 2 million a day as a result of the blanket cancellation of flights to Europe.
Kenya Airways and other airlines flying from Nairobi are not able to fly to the main flower markets in London and Amsterdam due to the closure of European airspace.
Volcanic dust from an eruption in Iceland has drifted towards Europe. The dust is known to damage aircraft engines so flights have been grounded. This has hit the aviation industry hard - but is also affecting the suppliers of perishable items.
All Europe-bound passenger and cargo planes at Nairobi's Jomo Kenyatta International Airport have been grounded until further notice, and it is not clear how long the flight ban will continue.
By Saturday, March 17, Kenyan flower sellers, already struggling with reduced sales following the global financial crisis, had lost an estimated USD 4 billion and will continue to lose USD 2 million a day until flights resume.
"We have lost over USD 4 billion by yesterday (Saturday) morning and we are still counting," Jane Ngige, Kenya Flower council chief executive said in an interview with The Standard on Sunday.