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Geographical indication protection of “Mang Yang” for “ba chăm” rice

On 23 November 2020, Intellectual Property Office of Viet Nam has issued Decision no.4524/QĐ-SHTT on granting Geographical indication registration certificate no. 00093 for “Mang Yang” ‘Ba Chăm’ rice. People’s Committee of Gia Lai province is the organization in charge of managing this GI.

Mang Yang ’Ba Chăm’ rice is a specialty product for generations of BahNar ethnics of Mang Yang district, Gia Lai province.

“Ba” in Bahnar tongue means “rice”, and “Chăm” means the people or the rice of Champa. The elders of Đăk Trôi commune, Mang Yang district could not determine when or where “Ba Chăm” rice originates from, they only know that the local people have eaten the rice since a long time ago and they have only eaten this rice ever since.

There is also another tale for the origin of the rice. In the 1960s, Chăm ethnics from Bình Định and Phú Yên have brought the rice to Mang Yang when they came for the revolution against the French colonists. The rice was kept and conserved until today. Mang Yang “Ba Chăm” rice grains have oblong shape, the grain belly is slightly round, opaque white and has a peculiar aroma.

                                     

“Ba Chăm” rice in Mang Yang district

 

The production area of “Ba Chăm” rice in Mang Yang district is a sunken field on the altitude of 700m – 1,000m, the temperature variance between day and night in blooming months (September to October) is 9 - 10 degree Celsius, humidity is always above 80% during the cultivation season (April to November). The peculiar topography and climate as well as the long cultivation (“Ba Chăm” rice is a long-cultivating dry rice) are favourable conditions for the rice of Mang Yang district to accumulate nutrition, resulting in the opaque white colour and the peculiar aroma.

Comparing to other similar varieties such as “A ri” rice of A Lưới district, Thừa Thiên Huế province which is planted on drylands, “Ba Chăm” rice of Mang Yang district, Gia Lai province is planted on sunken lands with open water channels.

The open water channels on the field are formed from the basin of A Yun river and Đăk Trôi stream. Thanks to that, the geographical area has abundant underground water. Moreover, the cultivation season coincides with the rainy season. As such, the soil in the geographical area has high moisture of 60 - 70% during the cultivation season. The peculiarity in climate, hydrology and paedology of the area has resulted in:

1. The traditional cultivation method in Mang Yang district is different to conventional rice cultivation methods:

- In Mang Yang district: The rice is planted by pothole method. Right after the last plow, around April 15th (14 days after the rainy season starts), the farmer will use wood or bamboo poles with pointed tip or hoes to make a pothole. The seeds will be directly planted into the pothole unsoaked and the hole will be covered by a thin layer of soil. The high moisture in the soil will accelerate the spout sequence, and it will continue to develop there until harvest, which is also the end of the rainy season. This particular method is called “pothole method” by local farmers.

- In other areas: Rice is planted by transplanting method. The seeds must be soaked beforehand, then planted to make seedlings. Once the seedlings are developed enough, the farmer will transplant the seedlings to the rice field. 

2. “Ba Chăm” rice of Mang Yang province has the ideal moisture at 14.08% - 15.44%. Therefore, the rice is easier to gelatinize as it has low gelatinization temperature. Alkali digestibility is at 6 - 7, and the rice can be cooked faster.

While “Ba Chăm” is a Oryza sativa variety, it has similar traits with varieties with Japonica origin. The variety’s traits combining with geographical conditions have resulted in the softness and elasticity of cooked “Ba Chăm” rice of Mang Yang district (gel consistency of 46mm - 139mm, Amylose content of 3.62% - 19.98%). The aroma is like that of glutinous rice but fainter. Thus, although there are many rice varieties on the market, generations of BahNar minor ethnics of Mang Yang district, Gia Lai province still produce “Ba Chăm” rice. Harvest is done in November when at least 85% of the grains on the cornflower turn yellow.

Geographical area: Communes of Đăk Trôi, Đê Ar, Kon Chiêng, Kon Thụp, and Lơ Pang of Mang Yang district, Gia Lai province.

 

Center for Examining Geographical Indication and International Trademark