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Yarang Velvet Tamarind – Forest Heritage of Pattani Province

 17 ก.ย. 2564 17:50 น. | อ่าน 1606
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Velvet Tamarind is a local plant of Pattani Province and it is a kind of large and high hardwoods that is similar to Dipterocarpus Alatus with long age that can reach to one hundred years that can naturally grow by itself. In the past, velvet tamarind was grown to show boundary of land or garden or to build houses. In Yarang District, there are almost hundred velvet tamarind trees with the age over than 100 years plus with over than three thousand young velvet tamarind trees in the same area. The special feature of velvet tamarind trees is its long growth period, i.e., it requires 30 years to yield fruits. Therefore, all velvet tamarind trees with fruits are considered as tree angels grown by our ancestors. To pick velvet tamarind fruits, it requires skillful person to climb up to reach the top of the tree for cutting branches with fruits and those branches will not yield any fruit in next year until the next Two years because velvet tamarind fruits will be grown from old branches only.

From records and tales, it was found that the story of velvet tamarind was appeared in a Malay lullaby, “To Chae Ya Lae Yai Lee More Ya Ngae Lu Por Who Kayee” that can be translated into “An old man visited Yarang so he should not miss to bring velvet tamarind home.”. From such record, it can be evident that Yarang’s velvet tamarind has been in this area from the past. From skills of local people on climbing and collecting mature velvet tamarind incorporated with local wisdom on maintaining and processing velvet tamarind as velvet tamarind products in various formats. The best quality velvet tamarind processed product in the beginning of harvest season is velvet tamarind in syrup. Subsequently, the remaining crops will be processed as velvet tamarind juice, velvet tamarind jelly, velvet tamarind soap, and our familiar products like dried velvet tamarind paste and sweet velvet tamarind chips. Currently, velvet tamarind sauce is under research process.

Dong Ton Yee Community – OTOP Tourism Community

Ban Pu La Tayao Khor, Village No. 5, Rawang Sub-District, Yarang District, Pattani Province, is the location of a community tourist attraction called Dong Ton Yee Community that is there are with the largest number of velvet tamarind trees in the area of Yarang District and villagers have processed velvet tamarind from generation to generation. This community participates in The Project on Tourism Community Development Based Model Communities in 3 Southern Border Provinces for becoming a OTOP Tourism Community. This community has a large ancient velvet tamarind tree with the age of 400 years that may be the oldest velvet tamarind tree in Thailand. Its height is also similar to the height of a 10 storey building. The secret of this long-life velvet tamarind tree is inheritance of local people from generation to generation. They establish Velvet Tamarind Tree Conservation Group with Maintenance Rules. Local people will pick velvet tamarind fruits every other year for conservation.

For economy, this community has management process started from upstream to midstream and downstream, i.e., from production process to distribution. Their crops are able to be harvested from August to September only. For this period, it is blooming season. However, the blooming rate of this year is quite low therefore there may be the small amount of crops affecting to importation and distribution in the areas of southern border provinces and other countries. However, if the number of crops is low, market demands will be high leading to higher price.

Yarang’s Velvel Tamarind – Geographical Indications

Geographical Indications (GI) means symbols or other things used for calling or substituting geographic sources that can indicate that products produced in such geographical source are quality products with reputation or characteristics of such geographical source. Geographical Indications are considered as a type of intellectual property. Difference between Geographical Indications and other types of intellectual property is ownership that is not only one person but the owners of intellectual property are people in the community who are the producers or entrepreneurs in such geographic areas with the right to produce those products under such geographical indications only.

Other producers outside such geographical source are unable to produce any product under such geographical indications for competitive purpose.

Since Yarang District is the source of over thousand velvet tamarind trees with cultural and economic significance, Pattani Province applied for registration in 2019 and it was announced to be registered for Geographical Indications by Department of Intellectual Property, Ministry of Commerce on May 22nd, 2020, under the name of “Yarang Velvet Tamarind and/or Lukyee Yarang”. This registration covers all details including Yee Tuai or Tuai Nga Chang specie and normal velvet tamarind specie or native velvet tamarind specie that is mature velvet tamarind with cracking and mature velvet tamarind without cracking. Its size is large with thin black shell. After cracking, its pulp is thick and soft with red or vermillion color. Its taste is sour or sweet and sour or sour and astringent. Geographical Indications also include mature velvet tamarind with cracking that is already processed as garnished velvet tamarind, sweet velvet tamarind chips, and dried velvet tamarind paste with sweet, salted, and sour flavor or sweet, spicy, salted, and sour that is grown and processed in Pattani area.

In southern border provinces, there are some products that are selected for registration and many of them are already declared and registered as Geographical Indications. For Pattani, besides “Yarang Velvet Tamarind”, there are also Yaran Puko Pomelo . For Narathiwat, there are Tak Bai Salted Threadfin Fish and Tanjong Mas Longan. For Yala, there is Bannang Sata Saba. Moreover, there are also a large number of products waiting for registration. Registration of Geographical Indications for products with potential and local uniqueness is considered as another tool to build unity of local people caused by cooperation in developing quality of their products. It also helps to build relationship and pride of their hometowns leading to creation of local value helping to strengthen communities sustainably.

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