Mongolia is the third most sparsely populated country in the world. About 40 percent of the total labour force of the country are herders engaged in animal husbandry and animal originated products with a livestock population of approximately 43 million.
A host of issues including access to finance, markets and low quality cost inputs make it difficult for herders to justify dedicating resources required to improve quality and quantity of livestock outputs. Faced with producing animals and products that do not meet quality standards necessary to access higher market prices, many herders focus on increasing their herd size. With more animals in competition for already over grazed pastureland, livestock are getting less of the nutrients required to support them through the long winter months.
The INVEST Co-op Mongolia project will work to build the capacity of herders' livestock rearing practices to increase the quality and quantity of sheep and camel wool production, reduce livestock mortality rates and improve financial literacy and agriculture enterprise management skills. The project will also focus on developing existing co-operatives to assist women and men herders' ability to access new markets, extension services and low cost quality inputs.
The INVEST Co-op Mongolia project will:
• Increase the quality and quantity of production through training on animal husbandry best practices along with increased access to high quality low cost feeding, breeding and veterinary extension services
• Increase access to markets through networking co-operatives to meet volume and commodity quality
requirements as well as potentially sharing of processing and transportation costs to reach new market and meet health and safety standards
• Increase access to financial services through engaging local financial institutions and identifying and alleviating current barriers at both the herder and co-operative levels.