Consumer preference and willingness to pay for fish farmed in treated wastewater in Ghana
The reuse of treated wastewater for aquaculture has been practiced in several countries and has a potential to create a viable fish farming business in low income countries. However, wastewater aquaculture practices which satisfy health and hygiene guidelines and standards will not be viable if consumers are unwilling to purchase fish reared in treated wastewater. In this study we investigate consumers’ preference and willingness to pay for fish farmed in treated wastewater in Ghana. A consumer survey was conducted in Kumasi. We utilize a dichotomous-choice contingent valuation methodology to estimate willingness to pay for fresh Tilapia and smoked Catfish farmed in treated wastewater and analyze factors that affect consumer choice. Consumers in the survey ranked price, size and quality of fish measured by taste and freshness as the most important product attributes influencing their decision prior to purchasing fish. Source of fish is among the least important product attributes influencing consumers’ decision. Results indicate that surveyed consumers generally accept fish reared in treated wastewater if lower prices are offered. Socioeconomic factors such as household income, education and family size significantly determine consumers’ willingness to pay. Furthermore, results indicate that households with children are more likely to pay for smoked Catfish compared to fresh Tilapia indicating that postharvest processing of fish might be perceived as safer and thus increases consumers’ willingness to pay for smoked Catfish. The results of this study provide better understanding of fish consumers’ buying behavior and their perceptions of and attitude towards fish reared in treated wastewater. Moreover, results can contribute to identifying key product attributes that need to be targeted for improvement if sales of fish farmed in treated wastewater is to be achieved.