Should You Support the Countrywide Fruit Boycott Campaign?

Price hikes of essential food items are a common occurrence in Pakistan during Ramzan every year. While people call out this phenomenon openly, it is the first time that the resentment has led to a countrywide boycott of fruit sellers.

The boycott started after a concentrated social media campaign spurred by Whatsapp messages that implored people not to buy ‘overpriced’ fruits in the market.

The Campaign

Titled ‘jihad against fruit prices’ and ‘Important information’, the messages started circulating on Whatsapp. They asked everyone to stop buying fruit and force the retailers to reduce their rates.

Soon social media picked up the issue and for the first time, these messages took an organized form and called for a boycott of those selling fruits at an exorbitant rate, between 2-4 June 2017.

The campaign started initially in Karachi, but has now morphed into a countrywide event.

There’s even a Facebook event page for the boycott now and the message is being spread through all means of communication.

Despite wide support for the boycott, there’s a large segment which is against it and have voiced their concerns. Some say that people will simply buy three days’ worth of fruits before the boycott or that this boycott will only hurt the street sellers, while the supporters claim that a step like this is needed to put an end to this mafia once and for all.

There are two angles to this – both for and against – this campaign of boycotting fruit sellers. We’re going to go in-depth with both of the sides so that people are better informed about the whole situation.

The View from those Who Support the Boycott

Consumer rights groups across the country are saying that a fruit boycott will hurt the sellers who are looking for premium price sales during the weekend. Since most of the people buy household groceries on weekends, the sellers will have to notice and mend their ways.

The Pro-Boycott campaign says that it isn’t just a single person who is affected, and that when the public unites they can do anything. It is the consumer who can force the seller to agree to their demands.

Supporters say that even if someone can afford fruits at premium rates, they have a duty towards the society and their fellow countrymen and should raise their voice for the poor who cannot even buy fruits for their family.

This has led the people to share the message with friends on social media, eventually leading to the boycott. Even the Commissioner of Karachi, Ejaz Ahmed Khan, has extended his support for the boycott and asked the citizens to refrain from buying fruit and take the matter into their own hands since the government cannot control the mandi mafia.

Supporters argue that through this boycott, any party which is robbing the citizens in broad daylight is bound to get hurt. Whether it’s the producers, middlemen or the end retailers, eventually the boycott will dent the source of the mafia and they will refrain from overcharging customers.

At the same time, people are also questioning the hypocrisy of saving a few hundred rupees on fruits while named brands and restaurants charge obscene markups on items and get away without a single complaint. If a protest is to be organized, they ask, why isn’t it against the 400% markup lawn suit sold by brands who don’t give their employees a living wage or the restaurant selling a deal for two for over Rs. 5000?

Arguments Against the Boycott

Since yesterday, messages against the boycott have started making rounds on social media too. Arguments from those against the boycott state that the public needs to understand that this act is meaningless and will hurt the poor, while at the same time the real masterminds will continue to make profits.

Such messages quote the logistics of the market. They cite the fact that farms are owned by landlords who sell the fruit to middlemen days before it reaches the market. The middlemen buy it at a certain price, transport it and sell it to wholesalers at the mandi who grade and price it. Up until this stage, each party can set their own rates. Eventually, the seller or pushcart vendor buys the fruit from the wholesalers, investing all of their income into it.

The price that the consumers get at the end is decided days before the fruit even reaches the market and it’s beyond the control of the wholesalers or the fruit vendors but through this boycott, we would be hurting the poor pushcart seller or small shop owners while the real culprits would already have made all the money beforehand.

Final Remarks

It is indeed true that shop owners and small-time sellers only make small profits from these sales and some barely make enough to feed their families. A boycott such as this will obviously hurt the sellers and wholesalers whose investment would be wasted. People should be mindful that fruits are perishable goods and need to be sold off soon.

On the other hand, it will stop the buying cycle eventually forcing the producers and the middlemen to stop their sales for a day or two. In the end, however, it may not even affect the fortunes of the real culprits i.e. the mafia, middlemen and the land owners.

There’s another point to ponder. In the whole world, even in non-Muslim countries, there’s Ramzan discounts for food items, the opposite is witnessed in Pakistan. Everything from fruits to essential household items become more expensive. The government and other regulatory authorities fail to implement fixed prices and it’s the citizens that suffer at the end.

In the end, there are both legitimate arguments for and against the fruit seller boycott. As consumers, it is up to us to exercise our choice. Would you be lending your support to the boycott? Or would you rather support those who are selling fruits in your area out of necessity and/or helping those who are less fortunate than us? Let us know in the comments below.

He is the Editor-in-Chief at ProPakistani. Reach out at aadil.s[at]

  • I fully support boycotting, if it didn’t work for 3 days, we need to extend the boycott period, until they came to their senses.

  • I support boycotting. These ‘thailay walay ghareeb’ are involved in this corruption too.
    Fruits pe color karna, injection maar kar meetha ya jaldi pakana wagera ye khud hi krtay hain.

  • Yes I Support them :
    But Iska Nuqsaan Subzi Mandi Walo Ko Nahi : Bal k Un Ghareeb Fruit Sale Karne Wale Ko Hoga :
    Jo Stock Kar Lete Hai Ab Koi Nahi Lega :
    Jin K Ghar Roz Ka Chola Jalta hai Unk Bache AB Bhoke Rahe ge !
    Shame our Police, Our Control Department, Our Government Etc!

    • Hum sbko chahy k hum bhi aik compaign main Abdul Wahab k comments ka boycott kren takay yh bandaa jaan chor dy propk ki

      • Commentors ki Aag me aapko kya takleef hai ap k comments b aaty hen as usual to kya boycottttt kr den
        Shame on ur soh

        • App Dr Shahid na baneen please. Awien munh chukk k ajanydy. Jab apsy baat krnga tb jawab daina.. Put your nose out from this. Thanks for your understanding

          • @disqus_IcEufMQwiX:disqus
            aap b dekh len kitni jalti awaam
            AAg he lagi hoi

            • Wah Jaise K Fruits Main Mehange Awam Ko Bech Raha ho !
              Yaha Shareef Sahab Pura Mulk Kha Rahe Hai to Awaz Nahi Ati Kisi Ki :
              Hum Shareef Kia Howe Sara Zamana Mere He Peeche Parh Gaya

  • If only the people made such concentrated efforts against corrupt politicians and officials.

  • These types of boycotts are carried out even in the developed countries via consumer societies and communities. I fully support it. It might hurt poor if carried out for 3 days, but eventually the middlemen or Dallas at fruit mundis will start bearing the loses if its extended further.

  • No,
    Waisay Karachi Walon Sai kaho bijleey Kay bill ek month na do, ek ho jao tou, to kudhgarz ban jatay hain !

    Jab Kaho mqm, zardari ppp, Nawaz pml ko vote na dou koi naay leader select karo, tab Karachi wally kudhgarz ban jatay hain,

    jab Karachi Walton Sai Kaho Kay transport mafia ka by cott karo tab Karachi wally kudhgarz ho jatay hain.

    jab Karachi Walton Sai kaho Kay roads kharab hain, traffic jam Kay leay ehtajaj karo, tab Karachi wally kudhgarz garz.

    bas Karachi wally hum tax sab sai zada data y hain, es par ek hain. poray Pakistan Mai sab Sai zada kudh garz Karachi wally hain.

  • Boycott will only hurt poor people. So it is totally meaningless. If you have to boycott then boycott the institutions who failed to fix prices and have no control over pricing or boycott the petrol mafia, sugar mafia, tanker mafia….

    • and how to boycott those institutions? they’ve no dealings with general public as such.

  • بائکاٹ کے ساتھ ساتھ سبزی منڈی میں بیٹھے دلوں کے خلاف حکومت کو ایکشن لینا چاہئے۔

  • I would think of it as an experimental group exercise so we could also unite on other issues where government machinery is involved or failed to stop it.

  • fully support the boycotting! Even they charge more than the list quoted prices.

    • Moarikh itna farigh nahi hai bhai. Agar likhay ga bhi tou saath main yeh bhi likhay ga k qoum nay ittehad ka muzahira kiya aur agar yeh first step kamiyab huwa tou buffet walon, ladies designer lawns ki bhi baari aaye gi. Qoum ko Mutahid tou honey dou pehlay. Buffet har aadmi nahi karta magar fruit har ghareb ameer kharidta hai, kia ghareb ko apnay bachon ko Ramzan main bhi fruit khilanay ka haq nahi? Theelay wala ghareeb hai tou leney wala bhi mazdoor hai. Kuch tou khayal karo Zafar jani.

        • Koi bhi beechta ho ab har aam insaan mandi se petiyan tou nahi uthaye ga na. Us nay tou theeley walay se lena hai. Theelay walay se koi nahi khareeday ga tou woh mandi se maal hi nahi uthaye ga, tou wahan jo mafia betha huwa hai usko effect karey ga yeh, ultimately it will hit the point.

    • Bhai, Ye News Achanak Nahi Ayei Thele Wale Nahi Market Se Maal Nahi Uthaya hai :
      Or 1500 Ka Bofe Wo Ap Khate Honge Hum to Parents K Sath Daal Wala Pakore Khate Ha

  • this is what we have in our hands , at least all pakistani are united with out any politics.
    This is Great

  • I do agree to boycott, the effect will channel down to the actual culprits.
    There are many examples to it.

  • Dumdums on social media following like sheep, as usual. Do you know anything about where the control lies for real pricing? Go to your city’s Sabzi Mandi and ask around how the distribution works.

    The prices are dictated by the mandi mafia – farmers are paid as low as 1/10th or of the price, “fruit walas” / vendors buy at the rates controlled by mandi mafia. Once you know the typical mandi price, account for logistics, wastage (yes, mandi mafia doesn’t let shop walas pick fruits – they have to buy both the rotten and good ones in bulk). And then compare the price.

    You can do ABSOLUTELY nothing to hurt the profiting of these mandi mafia unless government takes action. They’re the big shots. They are watching the news. Obviously the only one who will suffer here is the farmers (who are paid 1/10th of the price) and the small-time shop owners.

    Good job social media addicts. You have proved again you have no ability to think for yourself.

      • The trickle-down effect has nothing to do with it (Hint: Google it).

        You think you can affect the top guns / mandi mafia in 3 days or even in 7 days? What do they lose? They basically lose nothing. Not earning is not the same as not losing. They simply don’t buy from farmers.

        They are fine with not earning for 3 days and let you have the useless pleasure of the illusion that you can affect them in any way. Again, they aren’t LOSING anything – only farmers produce is going to get wasted.

  • Gharboo ko bhi shoaq hota hai ameero sa lotnay ka….. kisi mahengay restaurant main 5000 ka bill daity hai 200 tip da daity hai or bhair aa k 30 rupay k peechy rikshaw waly sa larty hai….

  • Full support for boycott, if they don’t to understood the message then again another to go on next weekend. To curtain the big, street seller not to buy fruit from mandi before weekend.

  • I Agreed.
    But this period is short it must be extended until the prices Match Original ones. We must do this act on every thing which Price raise.

  • being a Pedantic zealot Pakistani who supports everything senseless but the sane I too support this Boycott.. Now bring me that every week hiked Chai ka cuppa to chug into coz that’s Totally not BOYCOTT worthy mafia.

  • This boycott should at least be extended for a week so that this sabzi/fruit mafia ka damagh thikanay par a jaye. Moreover, we should also start this campaign against all those who are wickedly and selfishly making lot of extra profit with no justification like brand lawns selling lawns for 8000 or more, food outlets selling 100 rs costed burger in 700 rs and the list goes on. If we as a nation start controlling our will and boycotting these looters and plunderers, we can make them fall on their knees.

  • If there is a Meat chicken and expensive clothes and un-necessary hoteling Boycott campaign i am IN big time.

  • People on this forum and the women of their house buy clothes from khaddi, braeeze, saphhire WITHOUT even looking at price tags and not even bargaining and they have problem with buying a little expensive fruit what hypocrites this Nation is…1947 se le ka aaj tuk humay achay Hukumran nahi , achi Nation he nahi milli.

  • close