“Poor pasture management ruining Mongolia’s grasslands”

2019-08-15 13:41:03

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. On August 14, the Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) Mongolia, global humanitarian organization, in cooperation with the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry organized a discussion under the theme “Proper pasture management and breeding of fine wool sheep”.  The meeting convened to deliberate on issues of pastureland degradation, which affected some 60 percent of the land surface of Mongolia and its prevention. 

D.Bulgamaa from a project “Green Gold-livestock health” of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation in Mongolia introduced about a nationwide network that conducts monitoring activities on pastureland use and performs an annual study on 1500 points throughout the country. “The study, which released nationwide reports in 2015 and 2018 to put forward to the Government of Mongolia, concluded that 65 percent of total pastureland of Mongolia, mostly in the central region, had hit by some forms of land degradation. However, pasture renovation is possible for 90 percent of those deteriorated grazing land with the help of alleviation of the burden on pastureland by allowing alternative use of grazing land. Also, the number of livestock animals should reconcile with pasture carrying capacity. In order to do this, the animal quality should be improved to encourage sales of the animals”. 

The meeting highlighted that it has become important to raise herders’ awareness on this issue and use a mean of economic incentive to increase herders’ willingness. Officials from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry expressed their position that 20 million livestock animals should be put into economic circulation in order to prevent from pasture degradation. 

At the meeting, Byron Shelton, Senior Program Director of the Savory Institute and Rolf Pretorius of the Olive Leaf Foundation introduced about the activities of the Savory Institute and outcomes of their study carried out on pasture land in Ider soum of Zavkhan aimag and Ikh Tamir soum of Arkhangai aimag. The Savory Institute is a worldwide nonprofit organization that promotes large-scale restoration of the world's grasslands through holistic management to address the global issues of desertification, climate change, and food and water insecurity.

On the conditions and management of pastureland of Mongolia, Byron Shelton said the pastureland management in Mongolia is what plays an important role, not the number of livestock animals. If it continues that way, overgrazing is quite near and the land would probably face the risk of desertification or even more serious problems.  Therefore, herders should use grazing land, considering the grazing readiness and growth period. The participants also exchanged opinions on improving the quality of fine wool sheep breeds “Khangai” and “Orkhon” and their benefits.