Fruit boycott campaign failed to bring down prices

Sunday, Apr 09, 2023

Islamabad: The fruit purchasing boycott was observed by citizens of the twin cities due to frustration with high prices and profiteering during Ramazan, could not get success to bring down the prices.

The boycott, which took place during the last week of March, was spurred by social media posts using the hashtag #BoycottFruits. Many people urged others to join the protest, which gained widespread support from citizens who feel that they are being overcharged for essential items. The boycott began as a simple message shared on WhatsApp and was then forwarded to more people, gaining momentum on Facebook and Twitter.

Karachi-based philanthropist Syed Zafar Abbas shared a video of himself vowing to boycott fruits for a few days. The video went viral, and Abbas claimed that the price of bananas dropped from Rs450 to 200 in one day, and oranges were available for Rs400 instead of Rs600.Contrary to his claims, fruit prices in the twin cities remained the same, with a slight increase in the prices of a few items. On the other hand, fruit vendors say they are struggling due to inflation and have no choice but to charge higher prices. Citizens were hopeful that their efforts would lead to relief.

In the meantime, Islamabad and Rawalpindi authorities are cracking down on profiteers following widespread complaints from citizens about overcharging and price gouging. However, the boycott campaign neither affected the prices nor the demand. “People thought they would boycott fruit, which would decrease demand and ultimately prices.

“However, they don’t understand that big fish in the fruit business have established cold stores where they can stockpile fruits for months. “Such a boycott campaign cannot help decrease prices, and vendors can store fruits and release them when the demand increases,” said Yasir, a fruit stall owner at F-8, to APP.

Yasir was of the view that the only way to control high fruit prices was to facilitate growers so that domestic demand for fruit could be fulfilled locally, instead of importing fruit. He also suggested launching a crackdown against middlemen in the fruit business who exploit both growers and consumers by purchasing fruit from the former at a low rate and selling to the latter at high prices.