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June 4, 2017

‘Fruit Boycott Campaign’ yielding fruitful results

National

 
June 4, 2017

ISLAMABAD: In a clear manifestation of the social media’s strong influence on public opinion these days, a drive against the ‘artificial Ramazan inflation’ on popular social networking websites has led many Islooites into refusing to buy the overpriced fruits in the current month of fasting.

The Fruit Boycott Campaign, which was launched earlier this week through the circulation of a WhatsApp and Facebook message, showed signs of success on Friday, first of the three days set for the people to abstain from purchasing fruits in a bid to bring their prices to normal.

The message asked the people to have curry instead of fruits in Iftar, the time to break the fast, saying only the boycott of fruits will cause their prices to crash. And on Friday when the three-day ‘boycott’ of fruits began, the campaign yielded ‘fruitful’ results.

From vendors to stallholders to shopkeepers, the fruit sellers from across the capital city reported lower sales in the day. They feared further drop in their business over the weekend, but ‘pleaded innocent to the profiteering charge’.

“We’re not to blame for this price hike. We just buy fruit from mandi (fruit market) and sell them at our shops. Now tell me if we get fruit at exorbitant price and sell it after reasonably increasing the rate, how we can be blamed for higher prices,” said Salman Jan, an E-11/1 shopkeeper.

Unaware of the ‘Fruit Boycott Campaign’, he said he sold less fruit than routine in the day. Jamal Din, a roadside stallholder in G-9/2 Markaz, too, reported lower sales and denied being a profiteer.

“If the truth should be told, growers and the middlemen are responsible for skyrocketing fruit prices. The price control should be ensured at their end and not ours. Under the current circumstances, selling fruit of good quality for an unreasonable profit is not possible for us, the poor shopkeepers and vendors,” he insisted.

The consumers welcomed the easing of prices and attributed it to the ‘people power’. “At a time when the government machinery is either dishonest or inefficient, more and more such social media initiatives should happen to make the profiteers mend their ways. Believe me this people power can turn around things in days and thus, making Pakistan what its founding fathers had envisioned,” Samina Jibran, a housewife from Islamabad, said.

Some people urged the public at large to boycott other overpriced kitchen items, too, to help their rates normalise and said the sustainability of such initiative should be ensured to yield long-lasting positive results.

Like always, after the start of the fasting month last Sunday, the prices of all fruits surged with apple selling at around Rs250 per kg against the pre-Ramazan rate of Rs150 per kg, mango Rs150 per kg against Rs100 per kg, banana Rs200 per dozen against Rs100 per dozen, melon Rs120 per kg against Rs60 per kg, plum Rs230 per kg against Rs160 per kg, cantaloupe Rs100 per kg against Rs60 per kg, watermelon Rs40 per kg against Rs25 per kg and cherry Rs300 per kg against Rs200 per kg.

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