Links between businesses in Ho Chi Minh City and other cities and provinces in the south have improved significantly as a result of a trade co-operation programme started in late 2011.
Speaking at a conference in the city this week on matching demand and supply, Le Van Khoa, vice chairman of the city People's Committee, said the programme has helped HCM City-based distributors and retailers find suppliers of quality products.
It has also helped manufactures find steady outlets for their products, making them feel secure about investing more into expansion and improving product quality, he said.
More and more businesses have signed up for the programme, with 965 contracts worth more than US$888.88 million signed as of last month, he said.
HCM City firms bought goods worth US$600 million and sold for US$288.89 million.
Nguyen Hoa Hiep, Director of the Dong Nai Province Department of Industry and Trade, said activities to link up suppliers and buyers help small-scale production units sell their products to modern distribution systems in HCM City.
Her province supplies large volumes of pork, rambutan, durian, grapefruit, banana, and other products to the city, she said.
It would make efforts to sustain the quality of these products, she promised.
Mai Thi Anh Tuyet, director of the An Giang Province Department of Industry and Trade, said businesses in her province that are in the programme enjoy annual growth of 20-30 percent.
"With the country's increasing international integration, the province in collaboration with businesses will focus on developing supply sources that ensure food hygiene and safety and traceability of origins, which would create a solid foundation for our products."
Nguyen Thi Hong, former deputy chairwoman of the HCM City People's Committee, said the city has huge demand for many kinds of products but on its own can meet only 20-30 percent of it.
She hoped more businesses would join the programme in the coming years to increase supply of quality goods. Distribution networks should be expanded to make it easier for customers to access the products, she added.
Le Ngoc Dao, deputy chairwoman of the HCM City Department of Industry and Trade, said product quality has improved significantly thanks to the programme.
She said authorities in provinces should persuade more and more farmers to apply good agricultural practices to improve product quality.
Distributors and retailers in the city would prioritise purchase of VietGap certified products, she said.
Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai hailed the programme and urged HCM City and the other cities and provinces to prevent fakes and fraud.
At the event, 273 contracts were signed between distributors, restaurants and hotels in the city and specialty manufacturing establishments, agricultural co-operatives, and others.
More than 1,300 producers, distributors, wholesale markets, restaurants, hotels, and eateries from 30 provinces and cities took part in the meeting.