Mongolia, a vast land-locked country between China and Russia, has the lowest population density in the world. Its extreme climatic conditions pose daunting challenges for human life and activity. In the early 90s, Mongolia underwent a transition to a privatized economy, which led to mass closure of factories, resulting in widespread unemployment and also a significant drop in farm production due to the collapse of subsidized collective agriculture. The present intense rural exodus is creating new socio-economic challenges and new forms of poverty (especially in Ulaanbaatar where almost half of the population lives). These changes have led the Mongolian people to modify their diet and the vegetable consumption is increasing quickly.
Despite the active promotion of vegetable growing by the government, domestic production supplies only half the country’s needs, making Mongolia highly dependent on imports. However, the vegetable growing sector could create job opportunities and address the need for fresh and good-quality vegetables in the country.
GERES in Mongolia
GERES has been present in Mongolia since August 2010 to help develop the production of vegetables in urban and rural areas through the implementation of projects including:
- Innovative technical solutions to extend the growing season (passive solar greenhouses) and improve the storing of vegetables (bioclimatic cellars) in order to help families make savings. These techniques are adapted to the local context and designed to be built directly by the producers.
- Trainings on agricultural techniques and water and soil management with an aim to difersifying the crops and increasing the yields while preserving natural resources in the meantime.
- Support for the sale of vegetables and the integration in the local market to improve the family incomes.
- Education to introduction of vegetables (sometimes unkwnown by the population) in the daily diet allowing the diversification of meals and improving the global food balance.