Update: 18:12 | 15/02/2022
A bright spot of intellectual property in 2021 was the successful registration of geographical indications for Luc Ngan lychees and Binh Thuan dragon fruits in Japan.
Being granted geographical indication protection in this highly demanding market has affirmed the reputation of Vietnamese agricultural produce, while opening new opportunities for boosting Vietnam’s agricultural exports to other markets.
Harvesting dragon fruits in Binh Thuan.
According to Bac Giang leaders, throughout the first year of being granted geographical indication protection in Japan, Luc Ngan lychees became a strong brand and sold well in the domestic market even when Bac Giang was the Covid-19 epicentre of Vietnam.
Exports to the Chinese market were also made primarily online, thanks to trust in quality, instead of hundreds of traders purchasing fruit directly like in previous years. The price was stable throughout the harvest season, with fluctuations at times even higher than years without Covid-19.
The successful registration of geographical indication protection for Luc Ngan lychees and Binh Thuan dragon fruits in Japan has stimulated the protection efforts of other Vietnamese agricultural produce in foreign markets.
Recently the Ministry of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development announced plans to work together on geographical indication protection for some of Vietnam’s exports during the 2022-2025 period. They will select the first three products, namely Bac Giang lychees, Dong Thap mangoes and Son La longan, to conduct research on key markets, so as to provide support for brand or geographical indication protection within the appropriate markets.
Such actions have demonstrated increasingly higher awareness about the importance of intellectual property. Geographical indication has proved to be a useful tool for Vietnamese products in order to be more competitive.
However, a weakness of many domestic geographical indications is the lack of quality control systems, to ensure consistent quality for the protected products.
As such, local authorities, trade associations and farmers need to take measures and promote the sustainability of geographical indications, while increasing experience sharing on management and making use of geographical indications from localities with certain success.
The successful registration of geographical indications in Japan will be a valuable lesson for many other products. In turn, the local government needs to develop domestic geographical indications, in preparation for reaching out to demanding foreign markets.
The most important thing is that owners of such geographical indications need to continue improving the quality and maintaining the distinctive characteristics of their products, while paying more attention to brand promotion, and expanding the areas where good agricultural practices are applied.