Production and sales of agricultural products bearing geographical indications bring farmers economic benefit as Vietnam is one of the world’s leading agricultural export countries, the Vietnam Economic News reported.

Geographical indication is a sign used to identify where a product originates in. The reputation of a product bearing geographical indication is determined by the consumer creditworthiness to that product.

In other words, geographical indication increases advantages of a regional product that similar products outside the region cannot afford. Therefore, the normal selling price of a product with geographical indication is often higher than other similar products. In EU, sales of products with geographical indications have accounted for billions of euros.

According to statistics, Vietnam has 35 products with registered geographical indications including Phu Quoc fish sauce, Buon Ma Thuot coffee, Doan Hung pomelo, Binh Minh Nam Roi pomelo, Binh Thuan dragon fruit, Lang Son anise flower, Hai Hau perfumed rice, and Thanh Ha lychee. Geographical indication registration offer advantages for many products.

For example, Phu Quoc fish sauce was registered in 2001 and has reached an annual output of between 20-30 million liters, much higher than previous output of between 5-6.5 million liters. About 1.2 million liters are exported to US and several European and Southeast Asian countries. Binh Minh Nam Roi pomelo, since achieving geographical indication certificate, has sold for more than 20,000 VND (90 cent) per kg, and the annual income per ha reaches 80-85 million VND (about 3,800-4,000 USD).

However, only three among 35 products with domestically registered geographical indication have achieved international geographical indication protection. Last year, only six products achieved geographical indication registration while statistics showed that Vietnam had about 1,000 products apt to geographical indication registration.

According to Director of Vietnam Academy of Agricultural Sciences (VAAS) Prof. Dr. Nguyen Van Bo, many products with registered geographical indications are not protected from unauthorised use such as Phu Quoc fish sauce and Doan Hung pomelo due to a lack of sanctions. That has discouraged producers from registering geographical indications for their products.

According to former Director General of Ministry of Science and Technology’s National Office of Intellectual Property Tran Viet Hung, businesses and farmers should be fully aware of the role and effect of geographical indication in building brand identity and development, and should rapidly promote international geographical indication registration for domestic agricultural products because geographical indication registration is required in building brand identities and when bringing agricultural products into modern distribution chains.-VNA