Mongolian Vegetable Project Celebrates Success in Sustainable Agriculture

Local news, 08.11.2023

The "Mongolian Vegetables" project, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and implemented from 2016 to 2023, marked its triumphant conclusion with an array of remarkable achievements, setting the stage for a more sustainable and self-sufficient future for Mongolia's vegetable sector.

Mrs. Dejid, beneficiary of Mongolian Vegetable project
Mrs. Dejid, beneficiary of Mongolian Vegetable project ©SDC

Under the guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Light Industry, the "Mongolian Farmers Association for Rural Development" NGO successfully executed the "Mongolian Vegetables" project in two phases from 2016 to 2023. This collaboration between the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and the Mongolian government was dedicated to reforming the country's vegetable production and supply chain. The project aimed at ensuring access to healthy and safe potatoes and vegetables for consumers, increasing domestic production, decreasing imports, and building a resilient framework for vegetable farming.

The impact of the "Mongolian Vegetables" project is striking. In 2015, domestic vegetable production covered only 40% of the nation's food requirements. By 2023, this self-sufficiency level soared to 80%. New vegetable varieties and seeds introduced into production led to a 1.4 to 2.4-fold increase in the production of cabbage, turnip, onions, and garlic between 2016 and 2022.

One of the pivotal achievements was the amendment to the Law on Seed and Plant Varieties, which came into effect on January 1, 2022. This change not only fosters increased seed production and promotes the use of certified seeds but also enhances food safety. It has spurred interest among scientists and researchers to develop new vegetable varieties and has encouraged private investment in the sector, ultimately benefiting farmers with increased income.

To eliminate the scarcity of vegetable varieties and seed policies and address the unstable supply and price of vegetable seeds, the Vegetable Seed Service Unit was established in 2016. Today, this unit operates independently and collaboratively with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Light Industry to implement the national vegetable seed variety policy.

A significant transformation occurred in 2018 when vegetable farmers formed primary and secondary cooperatives, paving the way for a more organized and profitable sales model to supermarkets, restaurants, and public procurement organizations. This cooperative structure will continue to operate sustainably beyond the project's conclusion.

Additionally, the establishment of "Consultation and Service for Vegetable Farmers" extension centers in three soums, with its own infrastructure and technical equipment, will contribute to self-sufficiency. However, these centers will require ongoing legal and financial support from the government.

Dr. Stefanie Burri, Head of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation emphasized the importance of "independence and self-sufficiency" as the basis for sustainable development. She praised the tangible results achieved through the "Mongolian Vegetables" project and encouraged continued support to ensure food security.

"Mongolian Vegetables" project, funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, has played a crucial role in transforming Mongolia's vegetable sector, leading the country towards self-sufficiency and sustainability in vegetable production and supply. The project, executed by the "Mongolian Farmers Association for Rural Development" NGO, has significantly increased domestic production, reduced imports, and introduced new vegetable varieties, making Mongolia more self-reliant in food production.

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