Farming in Khangai zone: Khujirt and Bat Ulzi

The next soum we visited was Khujirt (pronounced as ‘Hujirt’). This small village is not even mentioned in the Lonely Planet, but is famous amongst Mongolians for its’ hot springs. Unfortunately the project team was not able to visit these, as we had to work very hard the whole day.

Khujirt village

Khujirt village

Only five herder groups in this area are involved in the project. Most of these groups got a water point last year and are working on growing crops and rearing livestock in a more efficient way. Furthermore, this city is known for it’s wooden products and wood carving. The wood is cut from the local forests. A forest cooperative is established to protect the local forests and collect firewood from it that consists only of shrubs and tree branches that fell of trees already, instead of cutting trees for firewood.

The government is stimulating the local people to grow vegetables and forages, but has limited sources, such as seeds and irrigated land. The herders expressed interest in trainings on processing raw products such as milk, hides, wool and constructing/using greenhouses. This means many opportunities to do basic, practical trainings with the knowledge from surrounding soums!

On the road from Khujirt to Bat Ulzi

On the road from Khujirt to Bat Ulzi

In the evening we arrived in Bat Ulzi, a village with 17.000 people and 84.000 livestock, a little more than 2 hours driving from Khujirt. The next morning we woke up to find that already 10 cm of fresh snow had fallen down and more was on its way…so we didn’t expect many herder groups. The surprise was big that over 50 people showed up for the training in the local theatre.

The meeting room was filled with people for the water point training

The meeting room was filled with people for the water point training

This touristic municipality (‘soum’), famous for its’ waterfall (however, only the waterfall is mentioned in tourist guides, which leaves the village itself unspoiled), has a very active governor and energetic herder groups. Many events are organized, of which one is how to ‘harvest’ and select the highest quality of cashmere from the local goats and and another how to process dairy into butter, cheeses and other dairy products and yearly a yak festival is organized to select the best ones and have entertainment for tourists. One herder group got training on making wooden products and started a small business. Now there are many people enlisted and waiting for a bed, cupboard, ger and other products as the demand is much higher than what can be produced. To find a bigger place to make a higher production possible is the next challenge this group faces. Some women got enthusiastic to earn their own income and want training to learn sewing. As they don’t have materials yet, they will hand in their business plan to the project and hope for some funds to buy materials and get some training. If funds were available through local banks with reasonable rates of interest, they would already have started!

The accommodation for the wood processing herder group: inside a ger!

The accommodation for the wood processing herder group: inside a ger!

Besides these small business, there are large mining companies working in this soum. One of them works together with the local government on a plan to start planting trees and clean the environment and has given the local herding families support after the cold winter of 2009/2010. Others don’t really bother about the local people, however, with more and more attention for social corporate responsibility this could be changing in the future and gives good options for new small businesses. In this soum completely other opportunities arise for business and alternative income generation!

This kitchen could be in an IKEA flyer, but is homemade top-quality Mongolian!!!

This kitchen could be in an IKEA flyer, but is homemade top-quality Mongolian!!!


8 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Paul Hoyer on March 20, 2011 at 2:21 pm

    Hallo Dorieke,

    Ik heb nu pas een aantal van je interessante e-mails gelezen. Het is wel een heel andere wereld daar. Ik ben net anderhalve week naar Manilla geweest. Ook een andere wereld, maar voor mij wel bekend, omdat ik vroeger 3 jaar in Mindanao in het zuiden van de Filippijnen in het onderwijs heb gewerkt en er daarna best vaak ben terug geweest. Ik heb een loondienstbaan in Nederland, maar onderhoud contacten met een bedrijf in Manilla dat cursussen geeft (business analyse, kwaliteitsonderwerpen, software quality enz.) en ik nam deel aan een Lean Six Sigma conferentie. Ik wens je veel succes daar. Take care, Paul Hoyer


    • Posted by Dorieke on March 27, 2011 at 1:32 pm

      Dag Paul,

      Dank voor je reactie. Interessant om te horen dat je in de Filippijnen hebt gewerkt; hier in Mongolië werk ik met een aantal Filipino’s samen. Als je ergens de verhalen beschrijft over je werk in Manilla, hoor ik dat graag; leuk om af en toe te kunnen volgen!

      groeten Dorieke


  2. Dear Dorieke
    I liked snow because I have never been in snow.White and white all the way gives me a heavenly feeling.
    You can tell me more about Corporate Social Responsibility over there. May be I can fix CSR in some of the future projects including Jatropha for biofuel with ethnic women and climate refugees as the major benficiaries.


  3. Posted by Marcel Vijn on March 22, 2011 at 8:37 am

    Nou, de lente lijkt daar nog ver weg!

    Veel geluk op al je reizen.



  4. Posted by Arjan Somsen on March 25, 2011 at 10:28 pm

    Hoi Dorieke,

    Interessant om over de situatie in Mongolië te lezen. Het lijkt een beetje op Tibet, waar ik geweest ben. Landbouw is in beide gebieden erg moeilijk, vanwege de extreme klimatologische omstandigheden.

    Zo te zien ga je veel locaal op bezoek bij boeren. Zit je überhaupt nog wel eens op kantoor, of heb je daar mensen voor? 😉

    groetjes Arjan


    • Posted by Dorieke on March 27, 2011 at 1:34 pm

      He Arie,

      Helaas zit ik af en toe nog op kantoor om rapportages te maken over de bezoeken, week-, maand- en kwartaalplanningen/-rapportages in te vullen. Maar het werk in het veld is super: lees zodadelijk mijn verslag van de eerste Gobi soum!

      groeten Dorieke
      PS; en dank voor je mail!


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