The National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, has recognised the Geographical Indication (GI) for the Ly Son garlic products and more than 100 members of the Ly Son Garlic Association.
Ly Son Islands-rooted garlic is seen as special farm produce of Quang Ngai Province. The product has Geographical Indication (GI) for better protection. VNS Photo Son Ly Son
Vice chairwoman of the Ly Son Islands District People’s Committee, Pham Thi Huong confirmed the decision to Việt Nam News, stating the GI was granted a year after submission.
She said the GI would help promote the islands’ key farm produce brand and protect the original garlic from being hurt by fake garlic from other provinces.
It’s a progressive step in turning the islands’ garlic as a typical key farm produce for sustainable development.
“We have been calling on investment from the private sector in starting up high-tech and sustainable garlic farming for export,” Huong said.
“The district and the Ministry of Science and Technology would build a strict rule on organic crops – garlic and purple onion – on the islands. Farmers are encouraged to use less coral sand as soil for garlic plantations.”
In 2007, the National Office of Intellectual Property of Vietnam also recognised the brand ownership for the products of Ly Son Island, including garlic, onions, seafood, garlic wine, dried seafood and seaweed for 50 households on the island.
According to the island district, islanders could produce 2,500 tonnes of garlic and 6,500 tonnes of purple onion on 1,000ha of farmland per year.
In recent years, the mass trade of fake garlic has hurt the islands’ signature product, and dozens of companies and shops sold fake products.
Ly Son garlic is priced at VND60,000 (US$2.6) for a fresh kilo, and VND150,000 ($6.6) for a dried kilo, according to the district.
The island plans to produce organic black garlic as well as garlic oil for export to Japan, the US and other Asian countries.
The islands, known as the Kingdom of Garlic in Vietnam, have around 22,000 inhabitants, of whom 73 per cent make their living from farming garlic and spring onions, alongside fishing.
Local farmers on the island have been gradually applying safe farming techniques and have joined value chains with high productivity.
|Garlic is farmed on Ly Son Islands, off the coast of Quang Ngai Province. The farm produce is an attraction for tourists. VNS Photo Chu Manh Trinh|
The province has included the islands and nine districts of Quang Ngai in the Ly Son-Sa Huynh Global Geo-Park list for recognition by UNESCO.
Eco-tour services have developed on the islands with 18 hotels, guest houses and 56 homestays for hosting up to 2,000 visitors.
Annually, more than 200,000 tourists visit the islands and An Binh Islet – which were formed by dormant volcanoes.
The terrain of the islands was created from eruptions 25 to 30 million years ago, leaving landscapes with rocks, caves, cliffs, arches and a lake. VNS
The National Intellectual Property Office handed over a certificate to the People’s Committee of Ly Son island district recognising its specialty garlic with a geographical indication (GI) during a ceremony on July 5.
People in the central province of Quang Ngai's Ly Son Island are currently busy harvesting garlic.