Since the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull, the cloud of ash which spread over Europe does not only concern vacationers stranded by airport closures. As a new eruption on Tuesday, April 20, cancelled for a while the reopening of the British airports, several English newspapers point at the risks it may run in terms of food supply. Fruits and vegetables being the first foodstuffs concerned, are mainly imported to the British islands from the Commonwealth countries, in particular from Kenya. On Friday, April 16, on the first day of the general closure of the European airports, 60 tons of fruits and vegetables were not forwarded.
In this situation, it is certainly exaggerated to talk about food shortage since the airports closures will have lasted only a few days. However, as underlines it Terry Jones, the Communications Director of the main British farmers' union, the National Farmers Union, these disruptions have the merit to raise the question of the food security by demonstrating "how much the international agricultural exchanges can be vulnerable in the face of extreme climatic conditions". According to him, it is a sufficient reason to preserve as best as possible a strong and competitive national farming sector.
The Iceland’s volcanic eruption which grounded thousands of people in every corner of the world has indeed the merit to remind us that even today there are still a certain number of unpredictable events which can hit food supply routes at any time. In such a context, relying on a robust farming sector is today, as it was in the past, a trump card to guarantee food security of populations and it would be inconsistent not to try hard to protect it by adequate policies.