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article imageIcelandic ash costs Kenyan farmers millions of dollars a day

By Miriam Mannak     Apr 19, 2010 in World
The impact of the Icelandic Volcano stretches much further than Europe. Africa is suffering too, in particular its farmers. Due to the flight ban they are unable to ship their produce to Europe, and as a result they are losing millions of dollars a day.
Over the past four days, Kenyan farmers have lost 4 million dollars a day in lost shipments and about 5000 people have been laid off so far.
The ash clouds caused by the erupting volcano under Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull glacier are to blame for the farmers' problems. Not only are they disrupting flights from Europe to other parts of the world - they are also preventing air travel to this part of the world. This includes African cargo shipments.
"We usually ship 10-15 tonnes of produce every day to different parts of the world and that's come to a complete halt," said Ariff Shamji, managing director of AAA Growers in Kenya's capital of Nairobi, in an interview with The Guardian newspaper.
Kenya exports an average of 500 tonnes of flowers daily, of which 97% is meant for the European market. In 2009, horticulture earned the country 864 million dollars and is the country's top foreign exchange earner. In addition to flowers, Kenya exports tonnes of vegetables, fruit and dairy.
Shamji and other growers have warned that thousands more workers could be told to stay at home if flights did not resume by Tuesday, which would deal a serious blow to the country's economy. "By Tuesday we're going to have to make tough decisions. We can't keep having people come to work and not have any work to do," he said.
More about Volcano, Iceland, Ash clouds, Economic impact volcano
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