Ho Chi Minh City's cooperation programmes with southern provinces and Can Tho City have improved business and production links between them in recent years.

Between 2000 and June 2011, the city invested 198.7 trillion VND (9.5 billion USD) in 782 projects in the Mekong Delta's 12 provinces and Can Tho City under the programmes, according to the HCM City Development Research Institute.

The projects were in agriculture, industry, trade, tourism, science and technology, health care, education, information, culture, transport, and environment protection.

The cooperation has helped foster socio-economic development, improved the lives of locals and reduced the number of job seekers moving to HCM City, according to the localities.

The city too has benefited by securing supply of products from these projects, especially livestock and agriculture produce.

HCM City can only meet 20 percent of its demand for livestock and poultry meat and other foods, according to the municipal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. A cooperation programme with the southern localities has helped improve trade one year after it began.

The city has identified the strengths of each province and built production-to-distribution chains for many goods, especially agriculture and food, that it consumes.

Livestock and poultry meat is provided by Dong Nai, Ba Ria – Vung Tau, Long An, Tien Giang, and Tay Ninh provinces.

Eggs are supplied by Dong Nai, Long An, Tien Giang, Kien Giang, An Giang, and Dong Thap.

Vegetables and fruits mainly come from Lam Dong, Long An, and Tien Giang.

The provinces said they sold around half their output to HCM City , with the rate going up to 70 percent for some like Dong Nai and Lam Dong.

But the programmes also faced many difficulties, according to the research group at the institute that compiled the report.

One of the biggest problems for the provinces was that they have failed to identify their own strong points when focusing on a certain industry or service to develop, it said.-VNA