Mongolia’s capital is hosting a meeting on sustainable herding. The Asian country has 66 million herds of livestock for a population of three million, Mongolia is one of the first countries in the world for livestock. However, the industry is in crisis due to climate change and rural exodus.
Ulaanbaatar (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL) is currently underway in Mongolia (11-15 June) with the participation of 120 experts from 34 countries.
The topics covered are: food and food security, means of subsistence and growth, animal health and welfare, climate and the use of natural resources.
In Mongolia, 40 per cent of the population is lives off the land. The livestock industry has been the main source of income for its people for centuries.
Herding has contributed significantly to economic growth in the country over the past 25 years.
During this period, the GDP tripled, thanks also to the mining sector, and livestock contributes 15 per cent of GDP. Livestock numbers have reached 66 million in a country of three million people.
However, in recent years, pasture quality and productivity have dropped, both for environmental factors (climate) and the aging livestock. For this reason, the Mongolian Livestock programme was launched.
The plan aims to protect breeder and livestock, with an eye towards protecting biodiversity, wildlife and landscape. Another important goal is better communication between herders and markets.
Under a plan called Industrialisation 21:100, about a hundred processing plants are in the works in 21 provinces to treat meat, milk and wool and provide better access to markets.
In a letter, Munkhnasan Tsevegmed, Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry writes that the government is “working to improve access to markets, both domestic and international.”
He acknowledges that Mongolia is also not alone. In fact, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation is lending a hand to set up “disease-free zones for beef and lamb”.
To this effect, a Mongolian delegation travelled to Botswana and Namibia “to learn from their experiences of opening up meat exports to the European Union.”