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The acquisition of a protected geographical indication (PGI) certificate in Japan for dragon fruit is a success for south-central Binh Thuan province but maintaining this status is the next challenge.

"Thanh long Binh Thuan” (Binh Thuan dragon fruit) officially became protected in Japan on October 7 this year. The acquisition of this certificate is an important milestone in the export of dragon fruit to Japan, and may open the door for other products, Dinh Huu Phi, Director of the Intellectual Property Office of Vietnam, told a meeting held by the Binh Thuan provincial People’s Committee on December 29.

He added it will help Vietnamese farm produce enter other strictly-managed markets like Europe, the Republic of Korea and New Zealand.

Chairman of the Binh Thuan Dragon Fruit Association Vu Huy Hoang said products with protected status in Japan are trusted more by local consumers and so can be sold at a much higher price. 

By the end of this year, Binh Thuan will have over 33,000ha under dragon fruit cultivation, with an output of more than 690,000 tonnes.

Phi noted that while gaining PGI certificates is important, maintaining them is just as vital. 

With a number of strict requirements in terms of production unit codes, quality and food safety from Japan, the entire political system needs to engage in the management and maintenance of this certificate.

All parties involved in farming, processing, trading, and distribution should cooperate with one another to ensure the sustainable development of the sector.

Between 2016-20, businesses in Binh Thuan exported nearly 32,000 tonnes of fresh dragon fruit worth 37 million USD via official channels. However, the volume accounted for only 2-3 per cent of the total shipments, while the rest was exported via unofficial channels.

Nguyen Minh, Vice Chairman of the provincial People’s Committee, called for compliance from farmers and traders with regards to PGI regulations, an increase in advertising of the Binh Thuan dragon fruit, the creation of a dragon fruit value chain, developing an e-commerce platform for the fruit, and forming specialised farming zones applying VietGAP standards./.