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FAO in Mongolia

Mongolia at a glance

Mongolia is located in the heart of Central Asia, sandwiched between People’s Republic of China and Russian Federation. Mongolia has just celebrated a birth of its 3 millionth citizen in March 2015 and therefore, its total population has been estimated a three million. Living sparsely over a territory of 1 566 500 square kilometres in the country making it the least densely populated country in the world with an overall population density of 1.7 per square kilometre. Due to continuous rural-urban in-migration, Mongolia now has a mostly urban population (65.3% in 2015) with a national sex ratio of 95 males per 100 females. Administratively, Mongolia is divided into 21 Aimags (provinces), 329 rural Soums (districts) and 1,568 Baghs (rural sub-districts).

Mongolia reported high economic growth rates in 2011 and 2012, but over the past two years growth has slumped dramatically. The economy is facing challenges from persistent economic imbalances. In 2014, economic growth slowed as it began to adjust to unsustainable economic imbalances. Real GDP growth softened to 7 percent in the first 9 months, from 12.8 percent in the previous year.

Poverty has been on a downward trend over the past decade. Most recently, it decreased from 38.7 percent in 2010 to 27.4 percent in 2012 (the most recent update by the National Statistics Office). Trade liberalization has contributed to improved availability and stability of food supplies. Supplies of wheat, meat, milk, and vegetables are adequate; reflecting the recovery of the agricultural sector. Average per capita annual consumption of basic foods has been increasing in recent years and meat and dairy products intake is high by regional standards. Substantial progress has also been made in regard to several Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) at the national level, though significant regional disparities prevail.

Agriculture is a traditional sector of Mongolia which produces approximately 15% of gross domestic products as the backbone for population food supply and domestic plants raw materials.

Animal husbandry: It takes a weighty position within the agricultural sector in terms of its inputs into economy, employment, export income and GDP production. It produces approximately 80% of overall agricultural products forming almost 10% of total export income. In addition to it, 35% of total employees in the country work in this sector forming the core source of their livelihood with sales income of agricultural products. As of year-end of last year, there were 209.8 thousand households with animals, 145.3 thousand of whom are herding households. There are 285.5 thousand herders in total. Young people 16-34 years of age form 38.6% of the herders, people 36-/55-60/ years of age 51.7% and pensioners 9.7%. Animal husbandry sector has always been and still is the main source for food of population and raw material supply for processing plants.

In other words, Mongolian economy is still dependent from development of animal husbandry. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to animal husbandry, reducing its dependence from weather and climate and increasing its productivity and yields. The animal husbandry prepares 23.5 thousand tons of sheep wool, 5.2 thousand tons of goat cashmere, 1.3 thousand tons of large animal hair, 1.2 thousand tons of camel wool, 335.0 million liters of milk on average per year. The sector has a potential of making hundreds of millions of dollar profit from using by-products. The income will be tripled if raw materials are processed and turned into final products. Therefore, the Government has always paid attention to intensive development of the food and agricultural sector, assuring production growth, increasing productivity and yields as well as further improvement of comfortable living and working conditions in rural areas.

Crop production: Mongolia’s economy had basically been based on animal husbandry development until 1959 when a need arose to solve many factors such as meeting growing demand of population, reducing imports, increasing production of wheat, potatoes and vegetables grown on motherland soil and improving risk-bearing capacity of pasture animal husbandry. The Government of Mongolia announced and implemented the 1st campaign on bringing virgin lands under cultivation in 1959, the 2nd campaign in 1976 and the 3rd one in 2008 in order to produce the required wheat, potatoes and vegetables domestically and improve the supply.

Private property based crop production sector has intensively been developing where the size of circulated field reached 700,0 thousand hectares by fully meeting demand for wheat and potatoes as well as vegetables demand by 54%. Presently, 1190 entities, 34, 5 thousand household producers with total of over 65,0 thousand producers, mechanics horticulturists operate on 706,0 thousand hectares of circulated field in the crop production sector. Currently, wheat, barley, oats, rye, buckwheat, soybeans, corns, colza, potatoes and approximately 30 types of vegetables are being grown in the crop production sector.