Mongolia’s livestock count soared to a record 73m in 2016 with pans in the pipeline to increase meat exports, according to the country’s Ministry of Food and Agriculture.
Government figures show Mongolia had 55.9m head of goats, sheep, cattle, camels and horses at the end of 2015. Since the turn of the year, an additional 18.8m livestock were bred in the first four months of the year, registering an annual rise of 7.6% when compared to the first quarter of 2015.
Landlocked Mongolia is home to around 153,000 livestock herder families. This accounts for nearly 28% of the nation’s total labour force, according to government figures. To protect the heritage and prosperity of the sector, the Ministry of Food and Agriculture has implemented a range of policies to protect herders. These include an effort to raise productivity within animal husbandry without damaging the pasture land. Moves into the value-added protein market are also being “vigorously pursued” to diversify the meat Mongolia can export.
United Nations help
Meat is the main product that the country currently exports alongside raw materials like cashmere, wool and leather. Around 4.7m tonnes of meat were exported by Mongolia last year – a small figure which the nation hopes to increase in the future with an ambition to supply its neighbours to the north and south: Russia and China.
Earlier in 2015, the United Nations and the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies, warned of a long and damaging winter following a dry summer in 2015. Thanks to international relief efforts and responsive action taken by livestock herders, Mongolia limited the loss of animals to 1.1m.
Agriculture is responsible for 14% of Mongolia’s total GDP and accounts for 12.5% of exports, according to the Ministry of Food and Agriculture of Mongolia.