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For Decades, Aarhtis have played a pivotal role in Pakistan’s agricultural landscape, serving as the bridge between producers and consumers in the intricate dance of fruit supply and demand.

However, their influence has come under scrutiny in recent times, with some questioning their contribution to rising fruit prices. This article delves into the multifaceted role of Aarhtis in Karachi’s bustling Sabzi Mandi, exploring their impact on the market’s efficiency and fairness.

Within the microcosm of the fruit market, Aarhtis act as intermediaries, connecting farmers with wholesalers and retailers. They streamline transactions, ensuring a smooth flow of goods from farm to table. In some cases, Aarhtis even provide financial assistance to small-scale farmers, covering transportation costs or offering advances on expected sale prices. Their expertise in quality assessment and sorting allows them to categorize fruits based on factors like size, maturity, and overall condition. This meticulous sorting caters to diverse buyer interests, maximizing the value extracted from each harvest.

Furthermore, Aarhtis play a crucial role in price negotiation, leveraging their market knowledge to secure the best possible deals for both producers and buyers. They may also handle logistical aspects like arranging transportation from farms to the market, and even temporary storage or packaging of fruits before sale. Finally, Aarhtis stay abreast of market trends and fluctuations in supply and demand, keeping both producers and buyers informed to facilitate informed decision-making.

Despite their undeniable contributions, the lack of regulations surrounding Aarhtis’ operations opens doors for potential manipulation. In some instances, Aarhtis might collude to restrict the supply of fruits entering the market, creating an artificial scarcity that drives prices upwards. This manipulation not only harms consumers who face inflated prices but also reduces profits for producers who may not see a corresponding increase in their earnings.

Another concern is the potential for unnecessary handling within the supply chain involving multiple Aarhtis. Each additional intermediary adds a layer of cost, ultimately inflating the final price for consumers. Additionally, unscrupulous Aarhtis might resort to fraudulent practices like spreading misinformation about crop yields or import limitations to create panic buying and inflate demand.

To mitigate these risks and foster a more transparent fruit market, a multi-pronged approach is necessary. Implementing a standardized pricing system based on pre-defined quality grades can reduce room for negotiation and hidden fees charged by Aarhtis. Regular publication of data on fruit production, imports, and market arrivals can combat misinformation and provide a clearer picture of supply and demand. Additionally, mandating detailed receipts that clearly state weight, quality grade, and individual costs can empower consumers to make informed choices.

Strengthening regulations through anti-cartel measures and weight and quality checks by independent authorities can deter manipulative practices. A licensing system for Aarhtis with clear guidelines and penalties for fraudulent activities could instill a sense of accountability within the system.

Empowering both consumers and producers is crucial for long-term market stability. Encouraging the creation of farmer’s markets allows producers to sell directly to consumers, eliminating the middleman and potentially increasing their profits. Consumer awareness campaigns can educate buyers about seasonal fluctuations, quality grading, and fair pricing practices, enabling them to make informed choices that don’t favor inflated prices. Encouraging farmers to form cooperatives can strengthen their bargaining power and reduce dependence on individual Aarhtis.

Technological advancements can also play a key role. Exploring online auction platforms for fruit sales can introduce greater transparency and potentially reduce Aarhti influence. Mobile applications that allow consumers to compare prices across different vendors and markets can empower them to make price-conscious decisions. Finally, implementing blockchain or other traceability systems can track the origin and journey of fruits, making it harder to manipulate information about supply and quality.

Concluding, the role of Aarhtis in Pakistan’s fruit market is a complex one, marked by both positive and negative aspects. By acknowledging their contributions while mitigating the risks associated with their operations, stakeholders can work towards creating a fairer and more transparent market that benefits consumers, producers, and honest Aarhtis alike.

Finding the right balance between regulation and empowerment will be key to ensuring the long-term sustainability and efficiency of Pakistan’s vital fruit sector. Now, it’s a right time to take these proactive and reactive measures both to restructure the diagram of local markets and we are hopeful that new cabinet and elected Prime Minister will take this suggestion on positive note seriously as a feedback based on rationality to safeguard the businessmen’s stake along with consumer’s interest.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

Syed Yousuf Raza

The writer is Fraud Examination (ACAMS) Certified

Comments

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KU Mar 13, 2024 11:02am
Agriculture in Pakistan is ruined by Aarhtis and local administration with unfeasible crop prices. Farmers recently sold potato and onion crops for Rs. 30 n Rs. 50 per kg. Menace goes on unchecked.
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