By Paulette Cully
The recent media coverage of the disruption to air travel due to volcanic activity in Iceland concentrated mainly on the impact it had upon holiday travel. However, stranded holiday makers were not the only victims of the flight ban across Europe, not least the flower and vegetable growers of Kenya. Recent news articles on this subject have highlighted that Kenya provides nearly a quarter of all the fruit and vegetables that are air-freighted into Britain and it is estimated that in total, 1,000 tons of roses, carnations, mange tout, asparagus green beans and other fresh produce is exported each day to European supermarkets. Additionally,there are more than 150,000 people who work in Kenya’s horticulture industry, which is one of the country’s largest earners of foreign exchange, providing a fifth of the economy which in 2009 was worth $924 million.
The horticultural industry in Kenya is just one example of recent economic growth within the countries of the African continent and Pádraig Carmody discusses this in his Geography Compass article “Exploring Africa’s Economic Recovery”. Pádraig investigates the depth, structure and significance of Africa’s current economic recovery. He explains that for most of the past 30 years Africa has been blighted with economic decline, AIDS, degradation of the environment and conflict, but more recently the number of conflicts has reduced, the economic growth rate has improved and for the first time in decades poverty may be reducing. He also pays attention to the rising role of the Chinese trade and investment in the country.
To fully understand how and why these changes are taking place it is highly recommended to read Pádraig’s fascinating article and the next time that you buy flowers from the florist or choose green beans cultivated in Kenya from the supermarket shelf you will appreciate how and why they got there.
Read Pádraig Carmody’s article, 2008, Exploring Africa’s economic recovery, Geography Compass, Volume 2, Issue 1, pages 79-107