As Ramzan our holy month of fasting begins prices are being jacked up day and night by our esteemed and honest shopkeepers. No one is suffering more at the altar of loot and pillage more than those who are buying sugar. We are told daily that there is a shortage of sugar in Pakistan.
“Really?” I asked one shopkeeper as I finalized my purchases. “Oh yes, sir ham kia karen peeche se hi mehngi aarahi hay” So here is the game, they claim sugar is being sold to them at exorbitant rates and this is partly true. However how does something jump 20 rs or so just before the peak consumption time arrives in Pakistan?
Very easy, say I have a sugar millÂ that is I am a grower/feudal( im daydreaming its a 14 hr long fast ok!). I instead of selling my produce to the local market at standard rates, decide to fill my warehouses with the product. In order to guarantee safety from official checking for hoarding I collude with parlimentarians who are usually either my distant cousins or even my closer family members. Once that collusion is achieved the calls for importing of sugar before the crises arrives are ignored in trade bodies and chambers of power. Instead people eagerly await the cashing in time and when that arrives, then everything goes haywire like it is now.
The government, or at least the part of it that is still working with those 9-12Â Ramzan timings are doing what to ensure the supply of this commodity to the masses? They claim that utility stores are selling sugar at the official rates of 38 rs but if you go to one you can see the wailing throngs outside and decide for yourself what the truth is. It ain’t too sweet let me tell you that much
We the people are off course to blame as well, we are part of the same cycle. We will all prefer to go nuts together before the fasting month begins instead of waiting and buying a bit later at a more convenient time. The way we act not only pushes up demand but makes for a sort of panic induced buying situation in which the sharks/shop keepers prey on what they can. For gods sake, Ramzan is about self control as well, so what makes us turn up at every grocery store like a biblical exodus and transform our cars and means of transport into mini arks, piling in everything we can!!
What makes me even sadder is that even amongst all this, places like bachat bazaars are also busy fleecing the masses. We are all in fact exploiting the masses and we will not stop, I think until they break the doors of these warehouses down and take what they want.
The day of that event is not far away if the elite, the government and the distribution mafia of this country do not give the poor any respite.
Great piece Faisal. I actually had an interesting convo with someone about commodity prices before Ramazan not too long ago in my effort to understand the issue. It really is a sense of panic about the rising prices which leads many of us to buy food in bulk prior to Ramazan and hence lower supply, and drive up prices further. There are so many issues at work, that it can be hard to pinpoint the main source of the problem.
Thank you! You often write very interesting articles. You improved my mood.
1)stop havin sugar in your tea (actually stop having tea at all)
2)stop eating all those jalaibis and kheers and what not.
3) Stop voting for sugar lords as your leaders
4) Stop complaining
thanks kal it is a group of commodity traders in collusion with feudal sugar mill owners in collusion with parliamentarians that cause prices to go up like this.
@ alyb your solutions to the problem if applied to something like “shortage of water” would thus be?
1) Stop drinking or using water
2) Stop voting for those in control of water
3) Stop complaining
makes sense? i don’t think so
I seem to remember that the sugar shortage is global – caused by events (- can’t remember what exactly) in South America.
Sugar isn’t something I buy that often so I haven’t been monitoring the price in the UK I have to admit!
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