Update: 19:33 | 22/03/2021
(BGO) - Luc Ngan lychee is the first product of Vietnam that has been officially granted a geographical indication (GI) certificate in Japan. This event marks an important milestone and is a new opportunity for lychee exports to many different markets. On this occasion, Bac Giang Newspaper interviewed Nguyen Thanh Binh, Director of the provincial Department of Science and Technology, on this event.
The people of Quy Son commune (Luc Ngan district) care for lychees during flowering period.
Luc Ngan lychee just obtaining a GI certificate in Japan is good news for the people of Luc Ngan in particular and lychee growers in the province in general. Could you tell us the significance of this event?
Nguyen Thanh Binh: The event has special significance for lychee as it provides an additional prestigious certificate for the product. When a product obtains the GI certificate in Japan, it means consumers in the country have absolute confidence in the product. Thus, the value of lychee is much higher than that of the unprotected products. This facilitates the shipment of lychees to not only the Japanese market but also to other markets because many other countries consider the Japanese GI certificate a passport for the product to enter their markets.
What solutions does the province need to tap and promote as well as maintain the GI certificate in the coming time?
Nguyen Thanh Binh: When being protected, the keeping of the certificate should be taken into account immediately. We have to make annual internal assessments of product quality according to the protected GI criteria and regularly update them on the system for purchasing partners to understand. To have good criteria, there must be good products and the key point is that farmers need to comply with the production technical process to create products that have good appearance and quality, ensuring food safety and hygiene. Thus, the responsibility of producers must be raised as it is a decisive factor for the product quality as well as a core factor to promote the value of the product after the GI protection.
In the lychee crop in 2020, the Department of Science and Technology coordinated in collecting samples for analyzing. After comparing with lychees grown in areas such as Phu Binh (Thai Nguyen province) and Chi Linh (Hai Duong province), the results showed that Luc Ngan lychee was 11 percent heavier than lychees in other provinces, with the sugar level 2-3 percent higher and the sweetness (Brix) 3-5 percent higher. With those efforts, on March 12, 2021, the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries granted the GI protection certificate to Luc Ngan lychee in Bac Giang province.
In the immediate future, the Department of Science and Technology will develop a communication plan and organize a ceremony to receive and announce the GI certificate; promote lychee consumption, with priority given to connecting central agencies and lychee exporters with gardeners. At the same time, the department is completing a dossier, through the Ministry of Science and Technology, to propose the Prime Minister recognize lychee as a national product in May 2021.
From the experience of obtaining the lychee GI certificate in Japan, next time, which products will the department focus on?
Nguyen Thanh Binh: Bac Giang has the largest number of products with protected collective trademarks in the country, of which Luc Ngan lychee and Luc Nam custard-apple have obtained the GI protection. Therefore, the Department of Science and Technology will advise the province to focus on implementing measures for Luc Nam custard-apple to be protected overseas, especially in Japan. Bac Giang also strives for all of its OCOP products and typical products to be granted the Certificate of Industrial Property Rights.
A corner of the lychee growing area in Hong Giang commune (Luc Ngan district).
In 2021, the province will focus on building the GI for Luc Ngan orange. As a new point, Bac Giang is now both building and developing GIs. The department is developing a product traceability portal and will then advise the province to issue lists of products with compulsory origin traceability and those encouraged for traceability.
With the above measures, I believe that the province's agricultural products will affirm their prestige and brand names, thus increasing their competitiveness and value, and winning more trust of consumers at home and abroad.