Viet Nam News
LÝ SƠN — The island district of Lý Sơn has asked the I Am V company from HCM City to dismantle advertising banners for their ‘Lý Sơn garlic products’ that were displayed on the Shark tank Việt Nam TV show recently.
Vice chairwoman of the island district’s people’s committee, Phạm Thị Hương confirmed to Việt Nam News that the company’s Lý Sơn garlic products – including black garlic, black garlic cake, fermented black garlic soft drink, black garlic extract juice and one clove garlic – was fake and had seriously violated the registered brand of the Lý Sơn garlic product collective trademark.
Hương said the company’s director Lê Minh Hồng Phúc showed the I Am V Lý Sơn black garlic products on the TV show on national television channel 3 (VTV3), stating that her company’s garlic products were grown on Lý Sơn Island, and the company supplies 300kg of one clove garlic (or Tỏi Cô Đơn) to the market.
Hương said the I Am V Lý Sơn black garlic products were quite different to those from Lý Sơn Island in both colour and size.
“We reconfirmed that the company lied. Lý Sơn garlic product is white, not violet like the company showed on VTV3. The district has not given approval to any companies farming or producing products from our garlic,” Hương said.
“Lý Sơn garlic is only grown and produced by farmers living on the island, 30km off the coast of Quảng Ngãi Province, while the I Am V company was not a member of the Lý Sơn Garlic Association,” she said.
The vice chairwoman said the district’s 400ha of garlic and onion farms could only harvest 300kg of one clove garlic (Tỏi Cô Đơn) each crop (one year), so the company’s claim of a 300kg production capacity was not true.
She also confirmed the company had not farmed or bought garlic from any farmers in Lý Sơn Island so far.
The district also asked VTV3 to correct the Lý Sơn garlic brand shown on ‘Shark tank Việt Nam’.
Lý Sơn Island’s people’s committee also sent a request to HCM City’s Market Watch agency to inspect violations of the Lý Sơn Garlic product brand by the company in protection of the original registered Lý Sơn garlic product.
According to the island district, the mass trade of fake garlic has hurt the island’s signature product in recent years, and at least dozens of companies and shops have sold the fake products, even in Quảng Ngãi city.
Hương said the district, in co-operation with the provincial border guard and market watch, was working to stop illegal shipments of fake Lý Sơn garlic from the mainland to the island.
Many shops and traders have used the Lý Sơn trademark without permission, according to the Quảng Ngãi provincial department of trade and industry.
Earlier this year, the district seized 620kg of garlic that was headed from Khánh Hòa to the island to be sold under the Lý Sơn trademark.
Some farmers transported garlic planted and harvested in a district in Khánh Hòa to sell on Lý Sơn Island, while tourists and visitors are unable to recognise the original Lý Sơn garlic. The fake garlic was often packaged without any labeling or certificates of origin.
In 2017, the district produced more than 6,500 tonnes of garlic.
Lý Sơn garlic is priced at VNĐ60,000 (US$2.6) for a fresh kilo, and VNĐ150,000 ($6.6) for a dried kilo, according to the district.
In 2007, the National Office of Intellectual Property of Việt Nam, under the Ministry of Science and Technology, recognised the brand ownership for the products of Lý Sơn Island including garlic, onions, seafood, garlic wine, dried seafood and seaweed for 50 households on the island.
Lý Sơn Island has been building the Geographical Indication (GI) for their Lý Sơn garlic products and more than 100 members of the Lý Sơn Garlic Association.
The island, known as the Kingdom of Garlic in Việt Nam, has 21,000 inhabitants, of whom 73 per cent make their living from farming garlic and spring onions or fishing. — VNS