Will the Icelandic volcano affect food price in Greenland?

It’s been about a week that the Greenlandic airspace was shut down since the Iceland’s Grimsvotn volcano eruption. Although it was open on Wednesday and briefly Thursday, it’s closed again later Thursday.

Air Greenland released a news this morning that the ash cloud shut Greenlandic airspace and the North Atlantic today, canceling most flights, if not all. It said about 1,000 passengers and 20 tons of cargo are directly affected by the closure.

The airline said it is planning to “set up extra flights for the weekend when the ash cloud forecast looks promising.” Currently, there are 6.9 tons of cargo in Kangerlussuaq that is waiting to be shipped to Nuuk and about 2.5 tons to be shipped to North Greenland. Only today 10 more tons of cargo is stuck in Denmark, which won’t be able to make to Greenland.

So, will the volcano affect the food price in Greenland? According to Jan, who is in charge of Greenland Development, the food here is imported by both ship and air. While most are supplied by sea, fresh vegetables and fruits are shipped by air. “If vegetables and fruits cannot be shipped until this weekend, it might affect the prices here,” Jan said.

As of yesterday (Thursday), I haven’t yet noticed a much increase in food price at a local supermarket, but I certainly noticed a decrease in the varieties, particularly in the vegetable section. A squash costs DKK35 ($7), which is 5 kroner higher than last month, but I saw only two left on the shelf. There were only a few cucumbers left, and not much onions were found. On the other hand, fruits, including apples, pears and oranges, were sold at the lowest price I’ve seen—10 for DKK20, and bananas were 10 for DKK25, not the lowest but low enough. Grapes were also on discount by DKK15. (Saturday, however, the price of banana rose to 6 for DKK25.)

It’s not just food. The airspace shut-down also affected the flower market here. We went to a flower shop today to buy flowers for a colleague who’s going to marry tomorrow but couldn’t because first, not much were available and second, those available were already five days old. (The bride also told me later that the flower she ordered for her wedding didn’t arrive so she had to make a bouquet with whatever was available.)

+ Thankfully, all Air Greenland flights resumed on Sunday.

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