Official recognition of the fruit will give Phuket Buffalo Orange vendors similar protection to that enjoyed by purveyors of Champagne under the ‘Appellation of Origin’ status in the European Union.
The move was discussed at a meeting chaired by Phuket Vice Governor Pichet Panapong on Monday (Sept 19).
Having the fruit recognised as such “will create added value and upgrade product standards, increase competitiveness for entrepreneurs to manage and control the quality of product identity standards to meet market demands”, Vice Governor Pichet said.
Overseeing the procedure to have the fruit rights-protected is Woranit Aphiratjirawong, Chief of the Phuket Commerce Office.
Ms Woranit explained that the focus of the procedure was to ensure that the registration complied with the regulations and laws of the Department of Intellectual Property under the Ministry of Commerce.
At the meeting were representatives from Best Wisdom Consulting 2014 Co Ltd, which was hired to conduct research into having the fruit registered under GI protection.
Among the important criteria for registering the fruit under GI protection were factors including the name of geographical indication; the unique characteristics of the product and the scope of production area, the representatives said.
There are currently 872 buffalo orange trees planted in Phuket, with 136 farmers cultivating buffalo orange trees, the representatives added.
The benefits of GI including protecting against others from falsely claiming the name or mark indicating the origin of the product in order to increase their prices, the Best wisdom team explained.
“PGI registration will also support local industries by helping to distribute income to rural people, and it will also strengthen the community and preserve local wisdom as well as to protect consumers,’ one of the representatives said.
Many localised versions of fresh produce are already under GI protection in Thailand, including the "Samut Songkram Big White Grapefruit", which even under promotion can fetch as much as B359 per "bag" of two to three fruits.