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FAO in Mongolia

A new technical cooperation project was launched to support the assessment of animal genetic resources in Mongolia


Genetic diversity provides the raw material for farmers and herders to improve their breeds and adapt livestock populations to changing environments and changing demands. Animal genetic resources (AnGR) are the main biological capital for livestock development, food security and sustainable rural development. Despite the importance of livestock biodiversity, the value of local breeds are yet not fully understood, they have been neglected to some extent. That has led to substantial erosion of genetic diversity – a trend that is likely to accelerate with the rapid changes affecting the livestock sector in response to massive increases in demand for livestock products and more specialization in some highly productive transboundary breeds.

Under the Convention of Biological Diversity, countries are obliged to report on the status of their national biodiversity. In the case of AnGR, the primary route for reporting on the state of diversity is to FAO, via the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS). The Commission on Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (CGRFA) urges countries regularly update their national data in DAD-IS or FABIS-net and other relevant databases, including information on animal genetic resources both in situ and ex situ, and to provide information on population sizes and breed classifications, in order to ensure that decisions on the implementation of the Global Plan of Action for Animal Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture are informed by the most up-to-date data and information available. Very limited breed information in Mongolia is available in the Domestic Animal Diversity Information System (DAD-IS, and most of the information is already outdated.

At the request of the Government of Mongolia, FAO launched a technical cooperation project “Support the Assessment of Animal Genetic Resources” on October 1, 2019. In close cooperation with the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industries (MoFALI), the project contributes to the sustainable development of the livestock sector and improving national food security.

The output of the project include, (i) regular monitoring and update of the population size of local breeds is ensured by strengthened national capacity for conducting genetic assessment, and (ii) sound and reliable data on the population size of breeds available for livestock sector planning and policy formulation.

During the inception workshop, the project objective and context was explained and discussed a detailed work plan to stimulate the preparation of a national report on the state of animal genetic resources for food and agriculture for the listening in the Mongolian Parliament in November and submission to FAO early next year.

Twelve leading experts, each responsible for organizing data collection on breeds in 1-3 provinces were selected and agreed to complete methodological training in 21 provinces by October 20, as soon as the heads of provincial breeding divisions submitted their training schedules with a detailed budget estimation to the FAO Mongolia.