afrol News, 19 April - Tanzania's local flower growers have reported serious losses in their produce since flights were cancelled on the European space. Also Kenyan flowers are rotting in stead of being marketed.
Local media reports in Tanzania said small horticulturists said they have suffered since Thursday when the flights were cancelled because of the volcanic ash from Iceland, which has darkened most of Europe's airspace.
Farmers were also reportedly running out of storage for already cultivated flowers, which could mean that fresh ones will have to be left in the pots in the hope they would not be affected or just be left to waste.
The East African bloc cashes a lot from flowers from the European market, with returns said to account for 20 percent of the exports.
In Tanzania only, the horticulture sector is said to have contributed up to one percent of GDP or about US$ 22.6 million (about Sh29.3 billion) between last year and January this year.
In neighbouring Kenya, thousands of tonnes of flowers and other vegetables destined for the European market were also reported to have gone to waste.
Officials in Kenya, the country which also exports about 1000 tonnes of fresh agro-produce to Europe daily, said the situation was more devastating than any other natural disaster that has hit the country in years.
While produce continues to end up rotten in Kenya's ports, workers have also reportedly been laid-off because of the flights' crisis.
Kenya is the biggest East African exporter of flowers to the European market, said to account for almost 30 percent of the regional bloc's exports.
Meanwhile, volcanology and meteorological analyses, together with an EU ministerial decision to ease flight regulations, paint a more optimistic picture about an opening of European air space within a few days, especially for long-distance flights that go above the ash clouds.
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