How many mangos make a crisis?

As the ash cloud drama continues with the news our favourite worm charmer, Howard Orange, and her lovely husband Farmer Phil are stuck on their hollybobs in Madeira, the panicky shoppers of the UK have begun to worry supermarket shelves are running bare.

According to reports, some parts of Europe get 90% of their fruit, veg and flowers delivered to them by air. And with the UK’s skies being a no-fly zone for another day, this has led to fears food will be in short supply because of a lack of imports.

The Country Land and Business Association sent a rather brilliant press release this afternoon though which no doubt made the worrying shoppers of the world realise they had to get a grip.

While it’s clear some perishable food isn’t getting into the UK, it said, missing out on one Alphonso mango doesn’t make a crisis.

While the line amused me, the CLA did go on to make a good point about the fragility of food supplies and the food distribution network.

Domestic figures actually reckon the UK gets just 1.5% of its fruit and veg via air freight. But the potential disruption the Icelandic volcano has caused to our food system will undoubtedly add strength to calls to increase UK production and address food security issues.

This of course works in favour of UK farmers. And  if our mango supplies run out, shoppers will be able to turn to British-grown fruit to satisfy their needs. It’s a shame Kenyan farmers won’t be quite so lucky.

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