Binh Thuan dragon fruit expected to get protected status in Japan hinh anh 1A farmer harvests dragon fruit in the coastal central province of Binh Thuan (Photo: VNA)
Hanoi (VNS/VNA) - Dragon fruit, a speciality of Binh Thuan province, is expected to be awarded the Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) certificate in Japan.

PGI status identifies an agricultural product, raw or processed, of which the quality, reputation or other characteristics are linked to its geographical origin. The PGI applies to agricultural, agro-food and wine products.

The application for PGI status in Japan for Binh Thuan province’s dragon fruit has undergone two appraisals and recently finished receiving third-party comments on September 21.

Japan will soon make an official decision after an expert council meeting held in late September, Dinh Huu Phi, head of the National Office of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Science and Technology, was quoted as saying by the Khoa hoc & Phat trien (Science & Development) online magazine.

If the application was approved, Binh Thuan province’s dragon fruit would be the second fruit from Vietnam to receive PGI status in Japan, he said.

Luc Ngan lychees became the first in March.

Phi said the approval of a PGI for Binh Thuan's dragon fruit had a great significance for the export of the dragon fruit, both to Japan and wider markets.

Nguyen Phuong Thuy, a lecturer in Oriental Studies at the University of Social Sciences and Humanities, said the PGI in Japan meant that the farm produce was given trademark protection.

Farm produce receiving the PGI often had a higher selling price and were popular amongst local people, she said. This is because consumers know that the farm produce is guaranteed by Japan’s Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.

“So, they will trust on the quality of the farm produce and be more willing to buy the farm produce,” she said.

Being granted a PGI in a market like Japan would contribute to improving the reputation of Binh Thuan province’s dragon fruit and create favourable conditions for the dragon fruit to enter other foreign markets, she said.

More work to do

Phi said getting the PGI was only the first step.

It is important that we maintain the quality of the dragon fruit to meet the Japanese market's demand, he said.

For example, after Luc Ngan lychee got the PGI in Japan, the Vietnamese exporter was required to maintain the quality of the lychee.

The Japanese side also required the Vietnamese exporter to send a periodic report on the quality of the lychee, he said.

Therefore, a set of regulations on management and control of the origin of the farm produce is required to ensure the quality of produce, once awarded the PGI, he added.

Data from the National Office of Intellectual Property show that, as of December 31, 2020, Vietnam had received 101 PGIs for its farm produce, including six in foreign countries.

The number of Vietnamese PGI's has increased rapidly; in 2007 there were only 10; 91 were awarded over the following 14 years.

Binh Thuan province is one of the provinces that produce the most dragon fruit in Vietnam.

The province annually harvests nearly 700,000 tonnes of dragon fruit, from 33,482 hectares. The land used in growing dragon fruit has grown by nearly 24 percent, while dragon fruit yield increased by nearly 35 percent between 2016 and 2020.

Currently, the consumption of dragon fruit by the domestic market only accounts for about 15 percent of the total yield; 85 percent of dragon fruit production is for export.

There are five localities in the province growing dragon fruit that is applied for the PGI in Japan, including Ham Tan district, Ham Thuan Nam district, Ham Thuan Bac district, Bac Binh district and Phan Thiet city./.