Israeli flower growers are demanding that the government declare last month's Icelandic volcano eruption a natural disaster for agriculture, which would enable them to claim monetary compensation under the Compensation for Victims of Natural Disasters Law.
The Israel Flower Growers Association claims that the week-long suspension of flights to and from Europe, due to fears that the gritty ash would cause irrevocable damage to aircraft engines, left Israeli flower growers with 40 million flowers destined for export that could not be shipped.
The secretary of the professional association, Haim Hadad, noted that efforts to ship the flowers through Greece or other countries were unsuccessful. A small proportion of the flowers designated for export were sold at a loss within Israel, but most of them wilted in the greenhouses and had to be discarded.
The total damage to local flower growers as a result of the suspended cargo flights came to NIS 20 million, Hadad said.
Adding to the losses was the fact that this is the time of year when local growers usually export large quantities of Gypsophila (Baby's Breath), Gerbera, Solidago (goldenrod) and greenery for flower arrangements.