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Request for Application

Standardizing and Developing Dried Fish Products and Consumers’ Preference Test


The USAID Feed the Future Bangladesh Aquaculture Activity (BAA), is intended to foster sustained, positive aquaculture sector growth through an inclusive market systems approach.  BAA is a USAID-funded activity implemented by WorldFish to sustainably improves the livelihoods of fish farmers and improve nutrition through more productive aquaculture. BAA is implemented in 21 southern districts of the Zone of Influence (ZOI) and two districts (Cox’s Bazar and Bandarban) designated as the Zone of Resilience (ZOR) in south-eastern Bangladesh.

Dried fish is an important food in the diet in Bangladesh. It accounts for the fourth largest share of fish consumed and is the most accessible type of fish product for consumers across all income levels. Dried fish is the most frequently eaten type of fish product, and its consumption is particularly important for poor consumers. Dried fish intake (per capita per year) is reported at 1179g, 1045g, 822g, 713g and 297g for people living in Sylhet, Chottogram, Rangpur, Dhaka and Barishal divisions respectively.

Commercial fish dried sites were identified in 56 upazilas in 22 districts in Bangladesh. These run almost the entire length of the coastline from Cox’s Bazar to the Sundarbans mangrove forest and inland includes the Haor basin along the floodplains of the Meghna River; around Chalan beel and beside Kaptai Lake. The number and spread of dried fish sites are indicative of the geographical extent of dried activities and the significance of their contributions to rural livelihoods in these areas.
Fish drying is the biggest fish processing activity in both value and volume in coastal region especially in Cox's Bazar. The market of dried fish is about BDT 300 crore where 85% is marine fish species and the rest is freshwater fishes while about 15% of marine species were using as fishmeal. A significant number of people are involved in dried fish industry. Only in Cox’s Bazar, more than 1000 processors, 5000 traders and 20,000 workers with two-thirds women are engaged in dried fish business for their livelihood.

Several studies on dry fish and its marketing system in Bangladesh had been conducted by many researchers (Fersoushi et al., 2015; Shamin et  al., 2014; Amin et al., 2012; Monir et al., 2012; Sultana,  2011; Flowra et al., 2010; Nayeem et al., 2010; Samad et al., 2009; Hafiza, 2008). However, lack of information and knowledge   particularly on food safety issues, new product development and marketing strategies is inadequate. A better  knowledge on  quality  and  safety  of  sun-dried  fish  is  important  because  a reasonable quantity of sun-dried fish is exported to International market every year and at the same time, the product should have desired quality and it should be safe for health of the domestic consumers.
Currently, dried fish marketing is saturated with products, decreased economies of scale and high competition. Lack of appropriate marketing strategies including market segmentation and product positioning, dried fish processors are struggling to sustain and grow their market share. BAA is working with many dried fish processors and market actors through partner organizations at Cox’s Bazar to develop dried fish products on food safety issues and value added products suggesting appropriate marketing and branding strategies, finally improved access to diverse and nutritious foods.


BAA is looking for a consultant/consulting organization (s) who can identify and standardize the different dried fish products including RTC (Ready To Cook) and RTE (Reay to Eat) in Bangladesh, conduct a survey at Najirartek dried fish business centers and examine consumers’ preferences of various dried fish products of processors in Cox’s Bazar and develop the skills of dried fish processors.  

Scope of Work

  • Identify current product range offered by processors in the marketplace, and purchase and consumption related behavior of dried fish products such as organic/safe and healthy, salted, RTC and RTE of different species with detailed timeline. The consultant (s) will help collecting the samples of dried fish products (3 times in 6 months) from the dried fish processors, wholesalers and retailers covering major sites in Bangladesh including coastal and freshwater regions and get the samples analyzed of major species in labs on nutritional quality and food safety issues (presence of pesticide especially organochlorine). The consultant(s) will also test consumers’ preferences at all markets such as local, urban, top end of various dried fish products of processors in Cox’s Bazar and recommend them the suitable dried fish products for commercialization by dried fish processors. The consultant (s) will also conduct a survey at Najirartek dried fish business centers, Cox’s Bazar to capture the present status including output, profitability on annual and seasonal basis of dried fish business of small, medium and large dried fish processors and recommend them to improve their business responding to survey results on types of dried fish consumers prefer, and improving their management practices.
  • Desk review of existing information done by others. This would inform the structure of subsequent information gathering exercises in the contract.
  • Delivery of the workshop with BAA partners and dried fish processors (identified and invited by BAA)
  • Delivery of the trainings for dried fish processors (identified and invited by BAA)
  • Interim progress report and mid-term progress report
  • A final report and popular article covering quality, food safety aspects, consumers’ preferences, key challenges associated with markets, way forwards to sustain the dried fish industry.
  • Areas of opportunity for new or improved products and processes - what the consumers want in different market segments and potential avenues to improve delivery.
  • A policy brief to highlight areas of potential advocacy to improve standards and identify target organizations/institutions relevant to this advocacy.

Expected Outcome 

  • Overview of current dried fish products with quality (in terms nutrition and food safety) and improved products through total quality management, new product development, market size, (current and potential) and consumers’ preferences for the processed dried fish products in domestic.  Identified the minimum standards required in certain key potential export markets through a desk exercise, and linking that information to the lab findings from the study, to see if there is potential for Bangladeshi products to be more widely accepted in export markets.

The results of the study will be disseminate among dried fish processors, major retailers, and private sector companies trading in dried fish to improve and sustain their business.

Time line and deliverables:

  • We expect that the Consultant(s) will accomplish the work in a maximum of 65 working days within 6 months of signing the contract.
  • Identifying and developing different dried fish products, testing of its consumers’ preferences, market challenges and workshops with BAA partners and dried fish processors, develop relevant training materials, and conduct training to 200 dried fish processors.
  • Collection of the samples of various dried fish products (3 times in 6 months. 2 months interval) from the dried fish processors, wholesalers and retailers from major sites in Bangladesh and get the samples analyzed in labs on nutritional quality and food safety issues.

Who can apply?

Only qualified applicants should apply. "Qualified" means an individual or established organization with a track record in dried fish products safety issues; products development, marketing; and training. Ideally, the lead researcher should have a masters’ degree preferably PhD in aquaculture and fisheries/fish processing technology with MBA major in marketing, or similar along with practical experience in dried fish businesses management, developing training materials and facilitating the training;  native fluency in Bangla; at least five years' professional experience working in dried fish business and comprehensive knowledge on fish processing technologies, businesses planning and management, socio-economic conditions and nutrition, and gender situation of the people especially south-eastern Bangladesh; and experience working with donor-funded activities.

Submission details

Interested parties should submit a technical and financial proposal with a clear timeline of all activities described in the SOW on or before October 25, 2021 to procurement.wfbd@worldfishcenter.org mentioning the title of RFA in the subject line.
The technical proposal should include:

  • CV with qualifications and relevant experience in developing dried fish products, conducting training and workshops, and capacity building and including particulars of previous related works
  • Key concept about the content and design of the dried fish product sample collection, analysis on safety issues; consumers’ preferences test on various RTE dried fish products.  
  • Proposed timeline
  • Budget with breakdown of consultancy fees, sample collection expense, laboratory test fees, travel & accommodation and training expense.
  • References with names, position, contact numbers and email ID.

When selected, the consultant/company will be required to show a tax identification number (TIN) and bank account details.