The Green Gold Animal Health Project of SDC aims to identify the root causes of pasture degradation and introduce sustainable pasture management by conducting long and short-term monitoring of pasture conditions, in addition to adopting responsible livestock management and production based on the establishment of pasture user groups (PUG) and pasture use agreements (PUA). In order to achieve these goals, the Green Gold Animal Health Project partnered with key government and non-government organizations, including the Mongolian Pasture Users Association (MPUA), the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry (MOFALI), the Agency of Land Administration and Management, Geodesy and Cartography (ALAMGC), the National Agency For Meteorology And Environmental Monitoring (NAMEM), Mongolian University of Life Sciences (MULS), the MOFALI Research and Development Center, General Authority of Veterinary Services (GAVS), State Central Veterinary Laboratory (SCVL), and their branches and representative offices at the aimag and soum levels.
In other words, by building the capacity to diagnose pasture conditions and assess pastureland reserves, Mongolia established the foundation for effective and responsible natural pasture-based livestock production, and improved pasture use.
Since 2005, the Green Gold Animal Health Project has been handing over project results to 18 aimags and project partners, and has concluded agreements with these aimags and organizations to ensure the future sustainability of the project’s outcomes.
Herders organized themselves and concluded agreements to collectively use pastures without degrading them, according to their carrying capacity. This resulted in the establishment of 1,575 PUGs in 184 soums of 18 aimags. Of these PUGs, 1,254 signed pasture use agreements, which were registered in the Integrated Cadaster Information System.
In 2016-2020, 44.2 million hectares of pastures across the country were kept in healthy conditions and 20.6 million hectares were rehabilitated by managing pastures according to PUAs.
The MULS provided recommendations and shared technologies for the recovery of pasture vegetation, adjusting the number and structure of livestock herds to meet the carrying capacity of pastures, and adopting the scheduled use of pastures according to pasture use agreements. As a result, the Responsible Nomads standard was adopted in 15 soums representing different natural zones across the country.
The national, aimag, and soum level branches and representative offices of the above-mentioned government, non-government, and private sector partners now have the capacity to continue implementing this newly adopted management approach, to provide database services, and strengthen partnerships after the completion of the Green Gold Animal Health Project.
The Green Gold Animal Health Project, in collaboration with MOFALI, GAVS, and their local representatives, developed a digital traceability system to register the origin and health of livestock. This digital system was handed over to GAVS in November 2018, and the partners worked on the development of the system until 2021 by co-financing program activities.
The Animal Health Monitoring System, or Integrated Veterinary System, is designed to record and certify the origin and health of livestock. The digital system helps to issue veterinary certificates based on factual evidence and quickly provide the end user with product information.
In addition, GAVS signed a collaboration agreement with the National Police Agency to curb livestock theft, and the system was expanded by connecting to the national police network. Since the expansion of the veterinary system nationwide, soum veterinarians have issued 774,756 e-certificates to herders and buyers.
In order to support the implementation of the new Animal Health Law, the Green Gold Animal Health Project worked with partners on organizing training for veterinarians and veterinary specialists; the provision of equipment for offices, laboratories, and animal health traceability systems; strengthening capacity; and constructing veterinary service buildings in 10 soums of 6 aimags.
In collaboration with GAVS and NAMEM, the Green Gold Animal Health Project also developed and approved a methodology for detecting antibiotic residue in meat and milk, improved relevant legislation, and strengthened the capacity of soum veterinarians. The Premi Test, e-readers, and Unisensor tools approved and widely used in the European Union were provided by the project to detect antibiotic residue.
The role of informed and experienced herders is very important for the early detection and prevention of infectious animal disease outbreaks. Therefore, in cooperation with the Veterinary School of MULS, we organized training on animal health for herders from the project soums. A training module on 12 topics and video lessons on five topics were produced to raise public awareness. In 2018-2020, 5181 herders from the project soums participated in the public awareness training.
The Soum Pasture Users Association (SPUA) played an important role in organizing this training for herders. Founded at the initiative of the SPUA, the Pasture Users Association (APUA) represents 80,000 herder households in 18 aimags, members of SPUA’s in 169 soums, and 1,575 PUGs. The project works to build the capacity of these organizations.
The APUA and SPUA are important development partners protecting and representing the interests of herders and PUGs, which bring together local herders, are the key for providing marketing and extension services that meet the basic needs of herder households, as well as implementing pasture management.
Out of 120 herder cooperatives operating in the project aimags and soums, 76 cooperatives supply livestock raw materials and 44 are herder savings and loan cooperatives established from the PUG mutual fund. These cooperatives have 20,000 members and a total of 7.3 billion MNT in assets, of which 1.5 billion MNT is joint capital.
Based on the infrastructure established under the project, including the monitoring of pastureland conditions, herder organizations (PUGs, SPUA, APUA, and cooperatives), pastureland use agreements, a raw material supply network, and a digital animal health database and traceability system, the Green Gold Animal Health Project has been developing the Responsible Nomads livestock raw material traceability system since 2018.
The value of raw materials and herder incomes increase when registering cooperatives that supply raw materials in the Responsible Nomads traceability system, which certifies the origin and quality of yak wool, young camel wool, cashmere, livestock, meat, and milk. Domestic manufacturers are now selling yak leather balls, yak and camel wool products, and meat and dairy products that meet the Responsible Nomads standards.