Consumers are ready to pay higher prices for safer fish – 28% more for Tilapia and 39% more for Pangasius, a study has found.
They have the willingness to pay even higher if they know the lab test result of the fish.
"The bid price of trial tilapia (cultured under controlled feed management) was 28% higher than the controlled fish (produced using traditional feed available in the market) after knowing the lab test results which was also 22% higher than the bid they made based on the appearance (size, colour, gill colour etc.)," the study said.
On the other hand, after being informed of the lab test results, the consumers agreed to provide a 39% price premium for the safer pangasius which was also 16% higher than the bid the consumers provided based on the appearance.
The preliminary findings of the trial were presented at a sensitisation meeting of the USAID-funded Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Safety project titled 'Enhancing Food Safety in Fish and Chicken Value Chains of Bangladesh' held on Sunday at BARC auditorium in the capital.
The main objective of the research project was to find consumers' willingness to pay for safer fish and chicken products.
State Minister for Planning Shamsul Alam was present as the chief guest at the meeting, said a press release.
In the trial, it was found that fish farmers want to produce safer fish but they wish to know how to get a higher price for that. They mentioned the high price of fish feed, which is making it difficult to be involved in farming safe fish. They want government support to keep feed prices lower and stable.
Professor M Saidur Rahman from Bangladesh Agricultural University who chaired the meeting said the trial was conducted at three ponds with three farmers in Phulpur and Muktagachha in Mymensingh.
"We provided all the inputs and they applied it accordingly. Due to that desired application, we got safer fish and it is proven in the lab test," Professor Saidur said.
"We want to make safer fish available to the fish farmers and we believe that conscious consumers will be ready to pay higher prices for that. The results mentioned earlier are what we got primarily".
He also said they have observed three major points in farming safer fish– microbes, antibiotic residues and heavy metals, especially chromium. In the safer fish, the presence of all these elements was less.
Three papers were presented there by US PI Prof Madan M Dey, Bangladesh PI Prof Saidur Rahman and Samina Luthfa.
Experts expressed satisfaction over the involvement of the BFSA in implementing this project saying it would institutionalise the final recommendations on the fish and chicken safety issue.
Chief guest Shamsul Alam suggested conducting an experimental auction at the market places directly to see the consumers' willingness to pay for safer fish. He also mentioned that the government is trying to ensure safer food and all relevant stakeholders need to come forward as well.