A growing interest in quality (organic) foods specially vegetables, fruits and crops purchasing has prompted recently. Consumers’ preference for quality food taking is based on a general perception that organic foods have more desirable characteristics than conventionally-grown alternatives. Human health, food safety and environmental stewardship, along with several other product characteristics such as nutritive value, taste, freshness, appearance, and other sensory characteristics influence consumer preferences. With the growing number of diversified and complex goods, it has become difficult for ordinary and individual consumers to assess the quality of the products and get the highest value for the money spent. Consumers often feel frustrated and confused in choosing an item that would ensure the reasonable value for money. Often they are cheated and deceived in quality, weight and price by the dishonest seller. The general objective of this research is to investigate the consumer perception on organic foods and to what extent the stakeholders of agribusiness are effective to ensure the quality of agro- products in Bangladesh. This study also tries to find out the market situation of quality food purchasing by consumers in Dhaka city. Keywords: Quality Assurance, Agro-Products, organic foods, Stakeholders of Agro-products.
1.0 Introduction 1 Agro Products embrace a broad all-inclusive category of products related to agriculture. It includes a comprehensive range of raw and finished goods under the classifications of plants, animals and other life forms. The term 'agro' has stemmed from the Greek word 'agros' meaning field, which has led to its current usage meaning anything that falls under the ‘agricultural’ category. 1.1 Organic Foods and Consumption 2 Organic foods are those produced and processed through a system that encourages biological natural processes on the farm, allows farm plants/animals to exhibit natural behavior and excludes the use of synthetic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, antibiotics and genetically modified organisms. 3 Consumers nowadays are becoming concerned about environmental quality and chemical residues in food, and follow particular diet sets for various (medical or other) reasons. There are consumers who also are concerned with ‘factory farming’ methods. And, some consumers believe that a price premium on a product signals a better product. 1.2 Quality 4 In general quality means the measurement of excellence or state of being free from defects, deficiencies, and significant variations. ISO 8402-1986 standard defines quality as "the totality of features and characteristics of a product or service that bears its ability to satisfy stated or implied needs." *Senior Lecturer in Marketing,Department of Business Administration Northern University Bangladesh
5 Quality policies are to access the customer's satisfaction through continual improvement of product quality, product on-time delivery and quick services when the customers require. 6 The concept of consumerism was available in the world since 1962 which was initiated by the great American president John F. Kennedy. There he amended four rights at the presidential message. These are: (a) the right to safety, (b) to be informed, (c) to choose and (d) to be heard. UN General Assembly approved later eight rights on 9th April, 1985. Bangladesh has some separate laws for protecting the consumer’s interest. The Consumer Protection Laws of the country were amended last in the beginning of the eighties and such laws have become obsoletes in totally changed context. Consumers in Bangladesh complain that the unrestricted influx of substandard, harmful, adulterated and imitated goods and fraudulent services in the market are mounting. 1.3 The Objectives of the Study The...