Nineteen Chinese experts and technicians were sent to Mongolia for three years to share knowledge and experiences on improving national food security, building resilience and adapting to climate change. The project introduced intensive farming technologies for crop and livestock production that are producing quick results under extreme climatic conditions. This has improved food availability, as well as people’s access to it. It has also contributed to changes in food preferences among Mongolian consumers who are opting for healthier and more nutritious choices. Additionally, the project facilitated mutual exchanges and promoted economic and trade cooperation in the agriculture sector.
No one feels the effects of climate change quite like farmers. In Mongolia, the growing season lasts for just 90 days and weather conditions have grown increasingly unpredictable, affecting crop production and, in turn, dietary diversity and nutrition. Malnutrition is high and diets are highly imbalanced.
In response, six Chinese experts and 13 technicians were deployed to 29 housing units in Mongolia, where they transferred knowledge on animal husbandry, crop production, food safety and trade and capacity development to local farmers and agriculture extension staff. The experts were primarily from the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region of China, and shared similarities in language, culture and agro-ecological conditions with those they assisted. Over three years, they introduced 11 new technologies, 42 new varieties of fodder crops and 80 pieces of agricultural equipment, in addition to organizing 67 training courses and training 4 700 people.
Seeing the results
The main aim of the project, facilitated under SSC with China, was to carry out the National Programme for Food Security (NPFS). The NPFS seeks to enhance agricultural production for national and household food security by improving water control, intensifying and diversifying production (such as greenhouse crops and livestock production) and promoting better food storage, food safety and marketing. Thanks to this initiative, achievements were made in a number of areas:
- Animal husbandry – The SSC experts introduced 42 new varieties of fodder crops and early-maturing corn. This cultivation was highly successful and accepted as part of the Mongolian Government’s strategy on building the resilience of herders. The experts and technicians also provided technical support in livestock production and artificial insemination.
- Poultry farming – The SSC experts and technicians provided technical support to increase egg supplies through enhanced intensive farming production, and set up the first chicken farm veterinary laboratory in Mongolia.
- Crop production – The SSC experts and technicians installed seven irrigation systems, demonstrating irrigation and water management technologies on 4 000 ha. It developed small-scale greenhouses, which extend the growing season by about two months, and introduced 32 new varieties of vegetables for mass cultivation and over ten varieties of trees and flowers. It also successfully introduced technology for designing and constructing winter solar greenhouses to prolong planting seasons and support crop diversification (vegetables and berries).
- Food safety and trade – The SSC experts and technicians set up a Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points working group. This group completed a report on the establishment of commodity exchanges in Mongolia, proposing seven recommendations for amendments to Mongolian law on agriculture sideline product market.
- Technology extension – The SSC experts and technicians assisted the Mongolian Agricultural Technical Extension Centre to improve its system, and provided technical consultancy services to over 30 companies.
- Capacity development – Thirteen training courses were organized, training more than 400 participants.
The programme effectively transferred knowledge that can be adopted at local level, supporting national and household food security as well as agricultural intensification and diversification in Mongolia. Scaling up requires more partnerships and increased investment in agriculture. The technologies and varieties introduced could be carried out on a much larger scale given adequate resources.
Based on these initial successes, the Government has agreed to move ahead with the next phase, which will involve scaling up key technologies introduced during the first phase. Priority areas have already been identified, and 12 new experts are ready to work.