- Researchers will analyse fishes and chickens from local markets to see if they contain any harmful heavy metal or pathogenic bacteria
- They will also produce fishes and chickens in the safest system in separate places
- Then they will bring these products to different markets and inform customers about improved food safety and its cost
- Researchers will observe how customers act upon their knowledge of food safety and if they are willing to pay more for safer food
- The Texas State University in USA, in partnership with Bangladesh Agricultural University and Dhaka University, will run the study
- USAID has granted $700,000 for the project
- The study will take 3.5 years to complete
Researchers from the United States and Bangladeshi universities are going to conduct a study to find out if consumers here are willing to pay more to buy safer and healthier fish and chicken.
The researchers will examine how safe is the process through which fish and chickens are produced at local farms and brought to consumers' tables.
Besides, they will produce fish and chickens in the safest system in separate places to produce improved quality food.
Then, they will place those products in markets following a campaign on improved food safety and its cost and will observe if people are willing to pay more than the usual for getting the better quality foods.
The Texas State University in the USA will run the study. Bangladesh Agricultural University (BAU) and the University of Dhaka will be its Bangladesh partner institutions.
Sources at the BAU said the process of agreement regarding the research will be completed this year.
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has granted $700,000 for the project that will take three and half years to complete.
Dr Md Saidur Rahman, professor of agricultural economics at the BAU, told The Business Standard, "Through this research, we will mainly work on the production system used for farming fish and poultry. We will run microbial tests on the products available in the markets. We will also produce fishes and chickens in safe methods."
Dr Rahman further said, "We will bring two types of products to the market and ask customers how interested they are in buying good quality products and if they are willing to pay more for those."
Relevant sources said the researchers will collect Rohu, Tilapia, and Pangasius fishes from local markets and run tests on them to see if there is any harmful heavy metal or pathogenic bacteria in them. All the samples will be products of the systems currently followed in local farms.
In addition to that, the researchers will produce those fishes in the healthiest and safest way in a totally different place. These will go through the same tests during the research.
After that, the researchers will take the two types of fishes to different markets and run a campaign to inform the buyers about the research findings on them. They will also inform the customers about the cost of producing fish in a safer way.
Then they will ask consumers for their opinion and observe if they are willing to spend more money on better quality fish.
Frozen drumsticks of chickens will also be presented to the customers in a similar way.
Researchers will collect opinions of 1,400 buyers to assess their attitude towards food safety. They will see how customers behave or what they do after knowing about the subject and get an option to buy safer food. This will help them understand consumers' decision-making processes related to purchasing safe food.
The Department of Livestock Services, the Department of Fisheries, and the Bangladesh Food Safety Authority, and some other agencies will work in the research project along with the universities.
Sources said the research will be run in different places in Dhaka, Mymensingh and Patuakhali districts.
The researcher paper will include a direction on adopting a safe and appropriate farm-to-table system to produce the two sources of protein.