The development of organic agriculture in Bangladesh has been slow. According to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (2018), approximately 12,000 farmers in Bangladesh produce organic crops on around 7,000 hectares of land. The transition from conventional to organic farming has been an issue of debate, especially in the context of developing nations such as Bangladesh. The debate stresses the urgency for the transition to preserve environment and health and to ensure a safe, sustainable and environmentally friendly food production system, but also emphasizes the pressure of maintaining food production for a large growing population. We focus on the debate in the context of Bangladesh, and question whether it is the proper time and stage in the development process to attempt the transition from conventional to organic food production systems. We ask why the organic rice market is not expanding in Bangladesh and explain the slow market growth through the two main factors of income constraint and lack of awareness among people about the environmental and health detriments of non-organic farming. The exploratory study finds that it is not mainly the lack of awareness but the income constraint that can be principally attributed to the slow expansion of the organic rice market in Bangladesh. Through exploring consumers’ awareness about organic farming methods and their demand for organic products, this study shows how income as a major constraint, besides price, affects consumers demand for organic and non-organic rice in Bangladesh. Income being identified as the major barrier reveals the potential of the organic rice market to grow in the future, as Bangladesh continues its journey towards becoming a middle-income country.
DOI: 10.12924/of2020.06010001 |Publication Date: 28 April 2020
Organic Farming in Bangladesh: To Pursue or not to Pursue? An Exploratory Study Based on Consumer Perception
Keywords: agriculture; consumer income level; consumer perception; food production; organic rice; primary data; survey data analysis