VietNamNet Bridge – Authorities in Quang Ninh Province have issued an edict forbidding the practices of collecting, trading and conveying plant varieties listed as rare and precious.

National assets must be protected


The plant varieties include the nation’s rare and precious plants in Quang Ninh, which will bear Quang Ninh’s geographical indicators in the future when its program on branding local specialty plants is completed.

Professor Tran Dinh Long, Chair of the Vietnam Plant Variety Association, applauded the decision. He affirmed that under the new law, people who buy and export plant varieties must be licensed to do so. Therefore, any Vietnamese and Chinese who spontaneously trade listed rare and precious plant varieties will be in violation of the law.

However, the trade still has been conducted over the last several years, which Long says will have serious repercussions for the national economy and defense.

Chinese have been flocking to Vietnam in recent years, going to every corner in rural areas to collect plants, herbs, farm produce and cattle. This has raised concerns about the “bleeding off” of Vietnamese natural resources.

Quang Ninh and some other provinces, which own some precious gene sources and plan to build brands for their specialty plants, need to be aware of the importance of protecting their natural assets. If the precious gene sources fall into Chinese hands, the localities will lose those valuable assets and suffer economic losses.

Therefore, Long supports the decision made by the Quang Ninh’s authorities as legal, necessary and useful. In fact, he said, protecting precious genetic sources must not be solely the work of Quang Ninh, but of all relevant agencies and other local authorities as well.

It is unclear what objectives Chinese have in collecting Vietnamese plant varieties, but it is obvious that their efforts will exhaust the natural resources and can adversely impact national economic benefits.

It may happen that Chinese in the future will build brands on the Vietnamese rare and precious plants, or that Chinese will prevent Vietnamese enterprises from building brands based on the precious plants and genes.

Precious genes eyed by Chinese

A source said that in recent years, Chinese businessmen have been stepping up their collection, research, cross-breeding and enrichment of Vietnamese precious species, including fifth-month rice, fragrant rice, violet glutinous rice and “nep cai hoa vang”, a kind of large-size grain glutinous rice.

They have also been targeting some fruit tree varieties, forest plants and herbs which can be used to make drugs.

The items collected in Vietnam have been smuggled back to China by various means. Bundles of precious plants are bound together with other normal plants. In many cases, the precious plants are labeled as low-quality products so as to avoid inspection.

In Quang Ninh alone, Chinese collected phongba trees (Heliotropiumfoertherianum) in Hai Ha, lan kim tuyen (Anoectochilussetaceus) in Binh Lieu, Ba kich (Morindaofficinalis) in the eastern districts and Huyet giac(Dracaena).

Dat Viet