AKIPRESS.COM - The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors approved US$30 million in loan financing for the Mongolia Livestock Commercialization Project on December 13. The project will help improve the health and productivity of livestock and increase value of products such as meat and dairy by commercializing targeted value chains in selected locations.
With more than 60 million livestock and wide pasturelands, the Mongolian agriculture and livestock sectors have huge potential to drive economic diversification and as a key source of broad-based employment.
However, major challenges such as low productivity, animal health issues, and vulnerability to climate change and extreme weather events, limit the sector’s potential. About 56 percent of Mongolia’s herders own 200 head or fewer of livestock and are trapped in a low-input, low-output, low-productivity cycle. Animal disease, coupled with poor food hygiene and inadequate nutrition, limit the output and quality of meat and dairy products. As a result, Mongolian meat exports have stagnated at less than 10 percent of their potential despite the country’s proximity to the region’s largest markets for meat imports.
“Livestock productivity holds the key to boosting the sector’s competitiveness. Improving animal health and livestock productivity by commercializing the value chain will enable greater economic diversification and contribute to broad-based employment and income growth in rural areas and at the same time improve food security and food safety,” said Andrei Mikhnev, World Bank Country Manager for Mongolia.
The new project aims to improve the quality of and access to veterinary services nationally and help establish transboundary animal disease free zones. The project will help improve performance of the Mongolian Veterinary Services Authority to effectively control animal diseases, promote responsible use of antimicrobials, provide veterinary public health services, and improve food safety in line with international standards.
In addition, the project will improve livestock productivity and increase the volume of livestock products that meet market requirements by promoting partnerships between producers and processors. Collaborative research with academic and research institutions, as well as investments to improve animal breeding and nutrition services, will also contribute to this goal. Moreover, the project will provide immediate response in the event of an eligible crisis or emergency.
The 5-year project will be implemented by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Light Industry of Mongolia.