Of rotting fruits and the boycott spree

By Didar Ali Khan

Rahim is a resident of Pandora, Rawalpindi. He earns his livelihood by selling fruits on a cart. He has to get up early in the morning to reach the fruit market. In the fruit market early in the morning hundreds of vendors gather to purchase commodities that they sell during the rest of the day.

Sharing details of his routine at the fruit market, Rahim said that he does not get the time to check quality of the fruits he busy, because of the hustle and bustle in the market. On the other hand, a customer checks the quality ten times before he purchases a kg of tomato. “Most of the time we don’t earn the whole day equivalent to the amount that has been invested”, said Rahim.

The history of boycotts is old. The Swadeshi movement, a part of Indian independence movement, highly affected the British Textile Industry, when Indians stopped buying British Textile products in 1930. Similarly, in America, then a colony of the British empire, a boycott movement was started against the Tea Act of 1773, involving purchase boycott of the tea imported from India by East India Company.

Recently, t a substantial campaign of domestic goods boycott was recorded in Egypt, in the month of March this year. This campaign initiated against the recent hike in the price of domestic product,  like fish. Initially this campaign started in the coastal area but later on it spread to entire country.

In Pakistan consumer prices index number is used as tool to measure inflation rate. For this a basket of consumer goods is used. In order to collect the current prices of the domestic goods federal bureau of statistics conducts survey monthly in few selected cities. According to recently compiled data, the consumer prices in Pakistan rose 5.02 percent in May 2017, compared to a 4.78 percent in the previous month. It was the highest inflation rate since 2014.

The fact finding reports indicates an increasing trend in the prices of consumer goods particularly on foods items and the inflation rate is to be at increasing rate in the month of June ( the holly month Ramadan). As compare to other items, the rate of inflation on food items is higher. This is perhaps, due to the recent hike in the price of fruits.  If so, the current campaign run by ordinary public through a social media campaign is certainly genuine to a larger extent.

Otherwise, a short term negative impact would be on the vendors who are directly linked with the end users; whereas, the other would certainly remain safe. One of the reason would be the fresh fruit they sale, as they have no resources or capacity to store for several days. There is another party who is equally responsible to speed up the price, the merchants of whole sale markets. They are the one, who are equally responsible to exploit, the end user and the producers. Interestingly, there was no such ordinary impact on them. There were no a single pile of fruit that was left for rusting in third day of social boycott.

The impact of the campaign would be on the small scale vendors, as they have to purchase and bring it to the end users any way. This is because they have no other choice to earn livelihood.

There were dozens of rotting bananas on the vendor’s cart, on the third day of the boycott. Quite a revenge, indeed!

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