Viet Nam News
QUẢNG NAM — In traditional markets in Nam Trà My district, prized and valuable Ngoc Linh ginseng abounds. What eager customers don’t know is that the herb they buy might not be the real thing.
In early 2017, Ngọc Linh ginseng, grown both in Quảng Nam Province and the central highland province of Kon Tum, was named a National Brand. But it’s easy to mix in herbs from other parts of the country without customers having any clue what they’re buying. To combat the fake Ngoc Linh (Panax vietnamensis, or Vietnamese ginseng), the central province has asked the Ministry of Science and Technology to build a quality test centre to protect the integrity of the locally grown herb.
Chairman of Nam Trà My District, Hồ Quang Bửu told Việt Nam News the centre will help customers distinguish between the special ginseng grown in the and products from other provinces.
Bửu said most sales of the Ngọc Linh ginseng in the district occur without any certificates of quality and origin.
“It’s just based on trust among buyers and sellers,” Bửu said. “We need a local quality test centre or authorised agency from the ministry of Science and Technology to recognise certificate of origin or quality of the Ngọc Linh ginseng roots.”
The country has a ginseng quality verification centre in HCM City, but not one close to the forests in Nam Trà My District and Tu Mơ Rông District in Kon Tum province, where Ngoc Linh are often grown 1,400m above sea level.
According to local traders, fake Ngọc Linh ginseng has been sold at some markets in the neighbouring province of Kon Tum.
Director of Quảng Nam Provincial Science and Technology Department, Phạm Viết Tích said some businesses and traders intentionally design the ginseng trademark on package to forge buyers.
Ginseng was first found in the late 1960s on Ngọc Linh Mountain in the middle of Quảng Nam and Kon Tum Provinces. Since then, the product has become a prized product of the area, and its survival is threatened because it grows slowly and is in high demand.
In 2015, Nam Trà My District and Hamyang County in South Korea signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on tourism, agriculture, conservation and the development of Ngọc Linh ginseng.
In 2016, seven investors agreed to invest $221 million to farm ginseng and process plants for essential oils, cosmetics, tonic drinks and capsules from ginseng in the district.
Nam Trà My District will host the first Ngọc Linh ginseng (Panax vietnamensis or Vietnamese ginseng) market from September 29th to October 1st to offer tested ginseng product and herbs grown at local farm.
The district also introduced the first-ever Ngọc Linh ginseng and medical herbs Centre in Trà Mai Commune as a major source of ginseng seeds and saplings in Việt Nam.
More than 200kg ginseng roots were sold at the first Ngọc Linh Ginseng Festival the district in June, earning VNĐ12.5 billion (US$553,000). — VNS