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Country Briefs


Reference Date: 27-April-2020


  1. Plantings of 2020 wheat crop expected at above‑average level, driven by strong demand and public incentives

  2. Wheat production in 2019 estimated at above‑average level

  3. Cereal import requirements in 2019/20 forecast close to average levels

  4. Prices of beef and mutton increased sharply since last December and at high levels in March

Above‑average plantings of 2020 wheat crop, driven by strong demand and public incentives

Land preparation and early planting of the 2020 wheat crop, to be harvested in September, are progressing at a normal pace supported by favourable weather conditions and ample supplies of irrigation water. Strong local demand, together with official programmes promoting wheat production, are expected to keep the area planted close to the previous year’s above‑average level. In addition, in March the Government announced plans to support wheat producers amid the COVID‑19 pandemic through the distribution at subsidized prices of agricultural inputs, including equipment, fuel, fertilizers and pesticides.

Wheat production in 2019 estimated at above‑average level

The 2019 wheat production is officially estimated at 407 000 tonnes, 15 percent higher than the five‑year average. Strong local demand and the State’s support ensured above‑average plantings, while generally favourable weather conditions and adequate supply of agricultural inputs boosted yield productivity. Localized damages to standing crops were reported in the main producing northern provinces (locally called aimags) of Tov, Selenge and Khentii due to unseasonably heavy rains in August.

The 2019 output of other crops, including potatoes, barley, oats and buckwheat, is estimated at near‑average levels, supported by favourable weather conditions.

Cereal import requirements in 2019/20 forecast close to average levels

In the 2019/20 marketing year (October/September), cereal import requirements, mostly wheat, are forecast at a near‑average level of 165 000 tonnes. Generally the country is almost self‑sufficient in wheat and normally imports small quantities to cover the gap between local production and domestic demand. However, severe droughts in 2015 and 2017 severely affected local production, leading to unusual high imports, with the five‑year average standing at 145 000 tonnes. FAO’s forecast for the import requirements of wheat for the 2019/20 marketing year has been revised upward to 130 000 tonnes, to reflect the Government’s intentions to import an additional 100 000 tonnes of wheat to ensure adequate market availabilities in response to the COVID‑19 outbreak.

In 2020, imports of rice, which is not produced domestically, are anticipated at a near‑average level of 25 000 tonnes. In addition to wheat and rice, small quantities of millet, barley, oath and rye are also annually imported.

Prices of beef and mutton meat at high levels in March

Prices of beef and mutton meat increased seasonally since December 2019 and, in March 2020 they were between 10 and 35 percent higher than the level of one year earlier. The high level is the result of tight market availabilities due to the reduced sales of livestock after the autumn as well as the strong demand by China (Mainland), the country’s main meat importer. Since the beginning of 2019, China (Mainland) has increased imports of all meat categories, including beef, mutton and chicken, due to domestic tightness caused by the African Swine Fever epidemic, which is estimated to have killed at least 1.2 million domestic pigs.

COVID‑19 and measures adopted by the Government

On 13 February 2020, the Government declared a state of high alert and implemented measures to restrict the spread of the COVID‑19 virus, including travel restrictions, social distancing, cancellation of public events and closure of universities and schools. The Government is planning to import 100 000 tonnes of wheat throughout 2020 in order to ensure adequate market supplies. In addition, the Government will grant a loan totalling MNT 300 billion (USD 107.7 million) at a 3‑percent interest rate to national cashmere companies for the purchasing of at least 30 percent of all combed cashmere from herders. On 27 March 2020, the Cabinet has proposed a support plan, still pending approval by the Parliament, to support vulnerable households, including the increase of child allowance and unemployment benefits.

Due to the global COVID‑19 pandemic, a serious shortfall of fruits and vegetables is expected, as the country relies on imports to cover domestic demand. In an attempt to ensure future vegetables supplies, the Government has been implementing measures to increase the area planted with vegetables.

Disclaimer: The designations employed and the presentation of material in this information product do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of FAO concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries.