Wednesday, February 23, 2011


With increasing emphasis on consumption of fresh fruits and vegetables which are considered protective foods, the logistics of making them available at affordable cost to the citizens must receive priority in every country that cares for its population. In a country like India there is practically no access for the consumer to the farm gates to buy their small daily needs directlyand most depend on retail markets which are set up in almost all urban and semi-urban areas at strategic locations. As for the villagers there are weekly shandies or rural market gatherings where fresh produce is offered to population from nearby villages. In contrast there are the so called wet markets in some countries like Malaysia which converge in assigned areas every day opening for business in the mornings. In Pakistan there is the phenomenon of Sunday Bazaars which congregate once a week at designated places for the people to buy their needs of fresh foods. The experience in Pakistan shows that unless the civic bodies actively support and render assistance to these markets, they could become places shunned by the consumer unable to bear the mental and physical strains in accessing to such markets.

"The Sunday bazaars are losing their vitality, as there is a minor difference of food items prices at these bazaars set up to provide relief to the citizens and other markets of the city. The visitors told Daily Times that after paying high transport fare to arrive these weekly bazaars they found a minor difference in bazaar prices as compared to markets close to their residences. A comparison of prices at Sunday bazaars and fruit and vegetable markets showed that the Sunday bazaars' market authorities did not check the fruit and vegetable market rates while fixing the prices of different items. Moreover, the weekly bazaars have failed to provide quality food items, especially vegetables and fruits to the residents at reasonable prices. During a visit Daily Times found that the prices of most of the items in bazaars were only Rs 3 to 5 less as compared to other city markets. A customer Tariq Hussain said the provision of essential commodities to the masses at controlled rates was the main purpose to establish these bazaars, but the government was paying no attention to control the rates and they just issued lists and never bothered to implement the price list.He said in Rawalpindi bazaars the stalls had been set up near drains, which was dangerous for public health and sanitation was in worst condition at these bazaars. The visitors also complained of traffic mess on the roads leading to these bazaars due the apathy of traffic wardens"

"The traffic on the congested road of the Committee Chowk weekly bazaar, Shamsabad, Chungi No 22, Satellite Town and Dhoke Kala Khan weekly bazaars was also not different. The traffic police authorities deployed only few wardens at the weekly bazaars and they failed to maintain smooth flow of traffic. The bazaars also lacked proper parking facility. Most of the customers parked their vehicles on the main roads hindering the traffic flow. "You go to bazaar for shopping and could not return without paying fine on no parking violation, said Nazir Ahmed, a visitor to Shamasabad Sunday bazaar. "I don't mind but my question is where should we park our cars for shopping," he questioned, adding, has the city district government allocated some place for car parking and if not then why police impose fine."

While the concept of Sunday Bazaars is a sound one, its planning and location call for great care. Besides focusing on the convenience of the consumers, its location should also make it easy for farmers to reach the place for offering their produce. In the US Farmers' Markets are thriving and the support extended by the local authorities goes a long way making them an attractive place to go for shopping. Unlike the fresh produce offered by the Super markets, Farmers' Market really sell farm fresh products brought direct from the cultivation area with minimum time lapse. Ideally all countries must strive for such vibrant Farmers' Markets that will serve the interests of both the grower as well as the consumer.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Dear Dr.
There is very well organised Sunday Market in Islamabad (two days a week Sunday + Friday). It is having all the facilities and no such complaints as mentioned in Daily Times report. It is run by idndependent body under the CDA(capital Development Authority Islamabad).