Fruit sales in Karachi dip as citizens' boycott campaign on social media meets success

Published: June 2, 2017
The citizens of Karachi are boycotting fruit for three days to protest against the price hike in Ramazan. PHOTO: AFP

The citizens of Karachi are boycotting fruit for three days to protest against the price hike in Ramazan. PHOTO: AFP

KARACHI: As Karachi’s residents observe a three-day strike against fruit vendors for overcharging during Ramazan, the effect of the campaign, which began on social media, was quite evident on its first day on Friday.

The Old Sabzi Mandi on University Road is usually a crowded market and sees a lot of clogged traffic because of parked cars left behind by customers visiting to buy fresh fruit and vegetables after work, but on Friday afternoon, the market was largely empty.

“I’ve only had a few customers since morning,” Abdullah Jan, a fruit vendor told The Express Tribune. “All I have been doing today is keeping flies off my fruits with my handkerchief.”

Jan was unaware that there was consumer strike because he said he had not had the opportunity to watch TV for the last few days.

Will a fruit boycott bear fruit?

As he spent time swatting the flies away, the only customers who did approach Jan’s stall were those returning from a nearby mosque after Friday prayer.

Tariq Mirza was among them. He conceded that prices were lower, saying earlier a dozen bananas were being sold for Rs160 but on Friday they cost Rs100.

Mirza said he believed such strikes could help but maintained that it was the government’s responsibility to ensure that vendors sold fruit in compliance with the price list.

Zafar Hussain, who is observing the strike, said he was only at the market to buy mangoes for his grandson and nothing else.

“Sadly, there will be no fruit chaat in my house for three days,” he added with a laugh.

Fruit vendor Gul Muhammad explained that vendors were only selling at increased prices because they were being charged higher at the wholesale level.

“Everything is overpriced in this country. The public should protest against everything then,” he said.

Torkham border controls drive fruit vendors to the edge

The situation was similar in various markets throughout the city – only a few people, who may be unaware of the strike, were seen purchasing fruit from vendors.

The boycott has however met with mixed reactions from the public. Some ardently support it.

Others, including prominent personalities, feel it targets poor sellers instead of wholesalers and retailers who are the real culprits behind excessive prices.


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Reader Comments (6)

  • JK
    Jun 2, 2017 - 7:35PM

    That’s good sign, people are raising there voice practically. Its evolution process of society integration and understanding their comman interest. If this strike is successful, people can use these strategies to press other mafias as well, good work Karachi.Recommend

  • chanda
    Jun 3, 2017 - 1:06AM

    Asalaamwalaiakkum May be the rich people can purchase the fruits with hiked prices but what about the common man who wants to see the smile on the faces of family members which fades away with prices souring as high as gold rates. Good that people are creating sensation over social media. Recommend

  • FAZ
    Jun 3, 2017 - 4:19AM

    I wish i see similar strikes against lawn mafia, dairy mafia, poultry mafia as well to name a fewRecommend

  • Syed Javaad
    Jun 3, 2017 - 5:58AM

    Well on 1st Ramzan I went to buy some fruit and was astonished to see the exhorbitant rise in prices that happened overnight. The same kharbooza that was selling for Rs 30 a kilo went up to Rs 70-80. And when I asked the “poor” vendor to consider his asking price, his attitude was totally humiliating and disgusting. In fact when another poor lady said that he is asking too much this “poor” vendor started verbally abusing her, advising her to refrain from buying if she can’t afford. At that time, I decided that I will not buy any fruit that is being overcharged despite the fact that I can afford it. I have to come out of my air conditioning car and home and at least do the minimum that I can to show solidarity with the people who can’t afford. I will not let these snobbish, fruit sellers humiliate my fellow citizens who cannot afford!Recommend

  • Kashif
    Jun 3, 2017 - 10:49AM

    People have found solution for their problems.Recommend

  • Shah faisal
    Jun 4, 2017 - 5:24AM

    No doubt it will affect vendors as well but ppl should bycott fruit bcz it is only way to save halal money from fruit mafia. It sign of alive nation otherwise v will b facing jungle lawRecommend

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