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Research Proposal

Consumers Attitude towards Agriculture Biotechnology

Submitted by Zaki Ahmed MS Commerce

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Table of Contents
1 Introduction .................................................................................................................................. 3 1.1 Problem statement ................................................................................................................. 3 1.2 Significance of research ........................................................................................................ 4 2 Review of Literature .................................................................................................................... 5 2.1 Hypotheses .......................................................................................................................... 10 3 Research Methodology .............................................................................................................. 11 3.1 Research design ................................................................................................................... 11 3.2 Data sources ........................................................................................................................ 11 3.3 Population............................................................................................................................ 11 3.4 Sampling.............................................................................................................................. 12 3.5 Data collection..................................................................................................................... 12 4 Data Analysis ............................................................................................................................. 13 4.1 Analysis of questionnaire for farmers ................................................................................. 13 4.2 Analysis of questionnaire for consumers ............................................................................ 13 4.3 Analysis of Interviews biotechnology engineers ................................................................ 13 5 Plan of Dissertation .................................................................................................................... 14 References ..................................................................................................................................... 15

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1 Introduction
1.1 Problem Statement Application of biotechnology to overcome starvation, maximum yield, reduced use of chemicals and immunity to resist against bacteria cannot be overlooked. However, Consumers acceptance is vital for success of such application. Since its inception, agriculture biotechnology is questioned for its moral, environmental, social, economical, and health effects. Consumers perceived that agriculture biotechnology is a threat to well-being of planet and its inhabitant. Consumers perception regarding application of biotechnology in agriculture is ambiguous. Many industrialized nations are favoring cultivation and production of genetically modified crops while others are opposing its application. British are not in favor to produce genetically modified crops while Americans are showing trust on such production. There are numerous reasons for acceptance and rejection of biotechnology in agriculture. Consumers health is the foremost concern regarding application of biotechnology in agriculture. Study published in British Journal reported allergies to consumers who used genetically modified products (William, 2000). Genes modified for antibiotic resistance and production of toxins can have lasting impact on health. Consumers want informed decision and choice to purchase organic or genetically modified products. Consumers seek simple labeling that can differentiate organic products from genetically modified. They want them recognizable through labels (William, 2000). Consumers perceive that biotechnology have adverse impacts on wildlife and produce micro organisms in environment that cannot be resisted naturally. Consequently it will deplete the environmental health. Consumers are opposing biotechnology in agriculture as they perceive it an open challenge to natural laws. Changes made in genes of living beings is said to be playing with God. Prince Charles said that God has some rights too and biotechnology should not make any changes into natural phenomenon. It is immoral and unethical to change the natural genetically structure of a living being (William, 2000). Finally, consumers and activist are afraid that agriculture biotechnology will make some countries self-sufficient and some will be left with infertile land. There will be trade conflicts rising after bulk production of crops. This technology will lead to unemployment and dependency of farmers to specific organizations.

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All these reasons accompany by many others lead to restricted or low acceptance of agriculture biotechnology throughout the world. This research is undertaken to build consumers confidence in agriculture biotechnology and adaptation of biotechnology by farmers. Consumers concern towards agriculture biotechnology will be addressed and their possible solutions will be forwarded to concern departments for policy making. 1.2 Significance of Research Pakistan is agriculture base economy and agriculture biotechnology can provide potential solutions to economical issues like poverty, inflation, unemployment and balance of payment. Consumers confidence will create a segment of consumers who can make informed decisions regarding use of genetically modified foods or ingredients. Labeling policy, endorsement from government will be potential tools to build consumers confidence in genetically modified products. This research will eradicate the perceived risks of consumers.

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2 Review of Literature
Charles Hagedorn and Susan Allender-Hagedorn (1997) Issues in agricultural and environmental biotechnology: identifying and comparing biotechnology issues from public opinion surveys, the popular press and technical/regulatory sources, Public Understand. Sci. 6 (1997) 233245 According to Charles and Susan (1997), consumers are very sensitive to certain types of biotechnology applications, such as food-related products. Charles and Susan (1997) have emphasized to identify and consider public concerns and opinions in the biotechnology debate about perceptions of biotechnology, media images and newspaper coverage of biotechnology issues, studies of social implications and public concerns. A frequency index based on content analysis was used to rank issues within categories of genetically engineered (foods, plants, animals and microorganisms); and the social/legal, risk assessment/regulation, science education and international aspects. These issues were compared to those similarly identified from scientific/regulatory sources. Authors found that the scientific/regulatory communities have dealt primarily with one subset of issues (research oriented), while the public is largely concerned with a different subset (issues of ethics, safety and value). Aidan Davison, Ian Barns and Renato Schibeci (1997) Problematic Publics: A Critical Review of Surveys of Public Attitudes to Biotechnology, Science Technology Human Values 1997 22: 317 Aida, Ian and Renato (1997) collected and discussed different surveys of public attitudes toward biotechnology. The authors identify a number of problematic features of the surveys: the use of predominantly consumerist rather than civic conception of public discourse; the assumption of a unitary "general public," a "cognitive deficit" approach to public understanding of science; and the presumption of a politically neutral and instrumentalist model of science and technology. Focused dialogical surveys, consensus conferences, and parliamentary inquiries are means of exploring perceptions of biotechnology. Aida, Ian and Renato (1997) reported the threat of these media to be used to control or rationalize public debate and to legitimize technological developments rather than to create the space for genuine public deliberation. Jan M. Gutteling (2002) Biotechnology in the Netherlands: controversy or consensus? Public Understand. Sci. 11 (2002) 131142 Jan (2002) addressed the issue of public perception of modern biotechnology in the Netherlands. Biotechnology Eurobarometer (1999) indicated that the position of the Dutch public in general is uncertain. The issue is described in terms of differences between the Netherlands and other European countries on political-economic, social-cultural, or media coverage indicators. On many indicators, the Dutch population differs from that of other European countries, and the Dutch opinion-leading media present a rather balanced perspective on modern biotechnology.

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Ioannis S. Arvanitoyannis & Athanasios Krystallis (2005) Consumers beliefs, attitudes and intentions towards genetically modified foods, based on the perceived safety vs. benefits perspective, International Journal of Food Science and Technology 2005, 40, 343360 Genetically engineered foods are questioned for environmental safety, food safety, moral obligations and economical objectives. Social and biological benefits of genetically modified foods are not accepted as consumers tend to be less aware and lack sufficient knowledge. Hence these claimed benefits are not accepted without criticism (Ioannis, 2005). Ioannis and Athanasios (2005) conducted a research study to find out Greek consumers beliefs, attitudes and intentions towards genetically modified (GM) food products. Research performed an analysis of consumer beliefs towards GM foods. These beliefs are built around the safetybenefits axis. The authors tried to segment the Greek market in terms of consumer beliefs about GM food products. They also identified a number of clusters with clear-cut behavioral profiles. The research was performed in Athens. Researchers used survey methodology with random sampling. Total 503 people participated in this research. Research concluded that overall attitude of Greek consumers towards GM food is negative. However, there exists a market segment of substantial size, whose beliefs about GM food appears to be positive. Consumers attitudes towards GM foods are shaped by pre-existing beliefs, distrust the usual market channels, benefits derived from GM food consumption such as tastier and cheaper, sociodemographic variables (education level and gender), and perceived quality. Ioannis and Athanasios (2005) identified six categories of factors related to consumers attitudes and beliefs, which influence the overall consumer behavior vis--vis GM foods. These are (1) awareness, pre-existing beliefs towards food technology and its risks and other general attitudes, (2) perceived GM consumption benefit, (3) sociodemographic profile, (4) social and moral consciousness, (5) perceived food quality and trust, and (6) other secondary influential factors. Marieke Saher, Marjaana Lindeman, Ulla-Kaisa Koivisto Hursti (2006) Attitudes towards genetically modified and organic foods, Appetite 46 (2006) 324331 A clear distinction between genetically modified (GM) foods and organic foods (OF) is their method of production. Marieke, Marjaana and Ulla (2006) investigated the potential role that field of education, thinking style, values, meat avoidance, magical thinking, behavioral avoidance and gender play in GM and OF attitudes. Marieke, Marjaana and Ulla (2006) were interested in seeing whether these effects would be direct or mediated. Intuitive and rational thinking styles, values and behavioral avoidance were included as exogenous variables in the model since they are stable individual differences that are closely associated with personality. Marieke, Marjaana and Ulla (2006) concluded that OF attitudes are rooted in more fundamental personal attributes than GM attitudes. They are embedded in a more complex but also in a more modifiable network of characteristics.

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Believing organic foods to be tastier and healthier than they really are is not very harmful, but banning a scientifically very promising technique with potential benefits for both humans and the environment is an enormous sacrificeespecially when for notional reasons alone. GM attitudes appear to operate at a level that is responsive to external influences gives hope for future discussions. Wallace E. Huffman (2007) The effects of prior beliefs and learning on consumers acceptance of genetically modified foods, Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Vol. 63 193206 Consumers prior belief shapes their perception towards agriculture biotechnology. New food products using genetically modified crops appeared in U.S. supermarkets starting in 1996. Consumers had concern towards risks associated with agriculture biotechnology. Wallace (2007) discussed that new information regarding agriculture biotechnology has an impact on their willingness to pay for foods. Consumers with informed prior beliefs discounted GM-labeled food products more highly than those who had uninformed prior beliefs. Uninformed participants were especially susceptible to information from interested and third parties. In contrast, informed participants were generally not affected significantly by new information. Montserrat Costa-Font, Jose M. Gil, W. Bruce Traill (2008) Consumer acceptance, valuation of and attitudes towards genetically modified food: Review and implications for food policy, Food Policy 33 99111 Consumer response towards introduction of agriculture biotechnology is discussed with evidence. Montserrat (2008) reported on how consumers could potentially react to the introduction of genetically modified food. Montserrat (2008) contributed to the literature by bringing together the published evidence on the behavioral frameworks and evidence on the process leading to the public acceptance of genetically modified (GM) food and organisms (GMOs). Montserrat (2008) gathered an understanding of the published findings on the determinants of the valuation of GM food both in terms of willingness to accept and the willing-to-pay a premium for non-GM food, trust with information sources on the safety and public health and ultimate attitudes underpinning such evidence. Montserrat Costa-Font (2009) Structural equation modeling of consumer acceptance of genetically modified (GM) food in the Mediterranean Europe: A cross country study, Food Quality and Preference 20 (2009) 399409 Genetic modification (GM) techniques in food production convey both opportunities and risks. These characteristics differ across heterogeneous populations, which calls for a better understanding of behavioral responses to risk and benefit information. Behavioral researches considered food values and trust in information sources in a way that causality is accounted for. Montserrat Costa-Font (2009) examined the behavioral process that drives individuals perceptions of GM food taking advantage of an empirical choice methodology. The research was

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performed for food decision making in three specific Mediterranean countries, namely Spain, Italy and Greece. Montserrat Costa-Font (2009) indicated that public attitudes toward GM food are being formed from a reasoning mechanism that departs from trust in science and in public authorities, ultimately determining consumers final purchasing decisions. Montserrat Costa-Font (2009) suggested marked differences in the reasoning mechanism that lead to the acceptance of GM food in the three countries examined suggesting different food communication strategies to each culture. Consumer intentions towards GM food are the result of a complex decision-making process that results from a specific cumulative interaction of attitudes towards science, risk and benefit perceptions along with and trust in information sources. Social constructs such as trust in relevant institutions is found to positively affect perceived benefits and negatively impact on perceived risks. Anthimia M. Batrinou and Vassilis Spiliotis (2008) Acceptability of genetically modified maize by young people, British Food Journal, Vol. 110 No. 3, 2008, pp. 250-259 Anthimia and Vassilis (2008) examined label information affect on the acceptability of young consumers of a food produced by genetic engineering methods. A popular snack derived from maize (corn chip) was presented with five different labels (organic corn, conventional corn, product that contains genetically modified (GM) corn, product that contains GM corn approved by EU, non-classified corn) to 229 university students in Greece in order to taste it. The results obtained showed that the GM label evoked a deeply rooted negative attitude as more than half of participants (63 per cent) refused to taste even a single piece of the product. The product labeled GM but approved by EU was viewed as more credible but still 28 per cent refused to sample. Authors found that trust is build considerably when the label message was supported by a certifying authority. Mei-Fang Chen (2008) An integrated research framework to understand consumer attitudes and purchase intentions toward genetically modified foods, British Food Journal Vol. 110 No. 6, 2008 pp. 559-579 Genetically modified whole foods or foods containing ingredients are common in society. Genetically modified (GM) foods made their first appear once in the food market in the 1960s. US consumers were neutral toward GM foods, but recent research studies report mild disapproval of such foods. Mei-Fang Chen (2008) discussed the antecedents relating to the extent of both the adoption and the purchase intention of GM foods. This studys data were collected by means of a national consumer self-administered questionnaire survey. Stratified sampling based on the area classification (there are four regions and 22 counties (cities) in Taiwan) and demographic variables (e.g. gender and age) was conducted according to the data from standard statistical area classifications from Taiwans Ministry of the Interior (2003). A total of 608 out of 2,000 questionnaires were returned and 564 were useful.

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Author reported that GM food marketing should make special efforts to convince the public. Consumers should be communicated that biotechnology will provide more benefits. Melanie Connor and Michael Siegrist (2010) Factors Influencing Peoples Acceptance of Gene Technology: The Role of Knowledge, Health Expectations, Naturalness, and Social Trust, Science Communication, 32(4) 514538. SAGE Publications Melanie and Michael (2010) examined factors influence on peoples perception of gene technology. Principal component analyses for acceptance, risks, and benefits of 12 gene technology applications resulted in two factors: one related to medical applications and the other to nonmedical applications. Melanie and Michael (2010) showed that three different types of knowledge did not substantially influence perceived risks or perceived benefits of gene technology. Overall results suggest that the experiential system and not the analytical system determine lay peoples perception of gene technology. Social trust or perceived naturalness is important factors influencing perceived risks and benefits. Even health and environmental concerns are most likely more related to affect, images, and analogies and, therefore, to the experiential system than to the analytical system. Amin L. et. al., (2011) Factors influencing Malaysian public attitudes to agrobiotechnology, Public Understand. Sci. 20(5) (2011) 674689 Amin L. et. al., (2011) identified the relevant factors influencing public attitudes towards genetically modified (GM) soybean, and to analyze the relationship between all the attitudinal factors. A survey was carried out on 1,017 respondents from various stakeholder groups in the Klang Valley region. Results of the survey have confirmed that attitudes towards complex issues such as biotechnology should be seen as a multifaceted process. The most important factors predicting support for GM soybean are the specific application-linked perceptions about the benefits, acceptance of risk and moral concern while risk and familiarity are significant predictors of benefit and risk acceptance. Attitudes towards GM soybean are also predicted by several general classes of attitude.

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2.1 Hypotheses Hypotheses 01: Consumer behavior towards Agriculture biotechnology is influenced by socio-demographic profile and prior belief to Agriculture Biotechnology.

Socio-demographic variables will be Age, Income and Education level. These variables create difference among consumer perception and attitude towards agriculture biotechnology.

Hypotheses 02: Perceived risk, awareness level, perception and trust shape the consumer attitude towards agriculture biotechnology.

Consumers attitude towards biotechnology are shaped by potential risks associated with application of biotechnology into agriculture. Some of these concerns are summarized as follows:
Health and safety Allergies Disease Toxin Chemical changes Antibiotic resistance Economical Unemployment Trade conflicts High cost of production Environmental Wildlife Presence of microorganism Ecosystem changes Moral and ethical Natural law Purity of food

Hypotheses 03: Labeling and endorsement from government build consumer confidence in Agriculture biotechnology.

This hypothesis is possible solution to prevailing public concerns and attitude towards Agriculture biotechnology.

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3 Research Methodology

3.1 Research design This research will follow survey research design. 3.2 Data sources Three potential data sources are selected for this research. These three groups are consumers (labeling, attitude, awareness, perceived risks, belief, response), farmers (ingredients, change to nature, possible economical and scientific benefit), genetic engineers (consumer concerns, threats, potential of biotechnology). 3.3 Population Consumers Total population for first data source includes total population of Pakistan as they are involved with consumption of genetically modified food directly or indirectly. Population of Pakistan is 177 million (Economic Survey, 2012). Farmers Exact population of farmers is difficult to report. However, economic survey (2012) reported 54.92 million people are employed and 45% (24.714 million) of them belong to agriculture industry directly or indirectly. Biotechnology engineers Similar to population of farmers, it is difficult to report the accurate figure of biotechnology engineers. Total 21 institutes are engaged in research for agriculture and molecular biotechnology (Institute of Biotech & Genetic Engineering in Pakistan, 2012).

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3.4 Sampling Consumers Stratified random sampling will be applied for consumers by dividing them into rural and urban areas. Total 5000 respondents will be selected from urban areas and same number will be selected from rural areas. Agriculture biotechnology engineers Convenience random sampling will be performed for farmers as it is difficult to calculate the exact number of engineers engaged in production of genetically engineered crops. Total 50 indepth interviews will be conducted to collect the data from biotechnology engineers. 3.5 Data collection Data collection will be performed with questionnaires from consumers and farmers. Personally administrated surveys will be conducted to collect data from questionnaires. In-depth interviews will be performed to collect data from biotechnology engineers. Questionnaire for farmers This questionnaire will discuss the benefits and risks associated with cultivation of GM crop. It will discuss the impacts of producing GM crops on production, soil condition, and animal life. For convenience, questionnaire will be translated into native language of farmers. Questionnaire for consumers First section of questionnaire will check the awareness level of respondent towards genetically engineered food in terms of benefits and risks associated, prior belief, and current status either favoring or opposing biotechnology in food production. Second section of questionnaire will check potential concerns for the genetically modified food. These concerns are categorized under Health and safety, Economical, Environmental, Moral and ethical issues regarding genetically modified food. Third section will discuss the possible policy implications for genetically modified food. Consumers will be asked about labeling, endorsement of GM food and opinions for laws regarding GM foods. Interview with agriculture biotechnology engineers The interview will discuss the potential issues regarding cultivation and production of GM crops and potential changes in soil, environment, and crop production. This interview will be divided into two parts. First part will discuss the benefits of producing GM crops. These benefits will be based upon Health and safety, Economical, Environmental, Moral and ethical issues. Issues in cultivating GM crops, application of biotechnology in agriculture will also be discussed. Second part of interview will discuss the possible policy implications that can build consumers confidence towards genetically modified foods.

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4 Data Analysis
4.1 Analysis of questionnaire for farmers The questionnaire will be analyzed using descriptive statistics. Chi-square test will be applied to find out the variance of the population. 4.2 Analysis of questionnaire for consumers Consumers will be divided into three primary and two secondary groups. Three primary groups are unaware, partially aware and completely aware of genetically engineered food. The two secondary groups will be 1) people favor agriculture technology and 2) people oppose agriculture biotechnology. Response from completely aware consumers will be considered for labeling issues and policy of Agriculture Biotechnology. Respondents categorized as unaware of genetically modified food will be considered to create consumer confidence strategy on national level. Partially aware respondents will be analyzed for areas that can build confidence to adopt genetically engineered food. All groups will be analyzed separately through descriptive statistics and chi-square test. 4.3 Analysis of Interviews biotechnology engineers Interviews will be analyzed using content analysis. Coding will be performed for the two sections separately and theories will be formulated on basis of recommendations forwarded by biotechnology engineers.

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5 Plan of Dissertation
Beside conventional chapters of Introduction (Chapter 01), review of literature (Chapter 02), and methodology (Chapter 03); separate chapters will be designed for each area. The dissertation will put emphasis on discussing awareness level of consumers regarding agriculture biotechnology (Chapter 04), concern of consumers with agriculture biotechnology (Chapter 05), building confidence to adopt genetically engineered food (Chapter 06), issues faced by farmers in producing GM crops (Chapter 07), benefits of producing GM crops (Chapter 08) and finally a chapter of recommendations (Chapter 09) which will discuss the policy making, building consumer confidence and adaptation guidelines to employ biotechnology in agriculture.

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References

Economic Survey of Pakistan (2012) http://www.infopak.gov.pk/EconomicSurvey/12Population.pdf University of Sindh, Institute of Biotechnology & Genetic Engineering (2012) http://usindh.edu.pk/index.php/academics/faculties/faculty-of-natural-sciences/institute-ofbiotechnology-a-genetic-engineering William K. (2000) consumer concerns about biotechnology: international perspective, food policy institute