The Gobi desert in Mongolia: one of the tourist attractions for its extensive area, in which you can drive around without seeing anyone for hours. However, also in this area herders live and herder groups are formed that participate in our project. Last Friday I visited the soum centre of Guchin Us. With only about 2500 people living in this soum of which 1000 in the centre of the village Guchin Us, population density is very low. Few activities were going on in this soum, until a young new governor started working here. He made a 10 year planning, included all stakeholders in the soum, and is starting up small businesses with them at this moment (they need some funds by the way: if anyone is interested, please contact me). Already 40 business plans have been developed for small enterprises.
One of the projects is to establish a camel farm with 1000 camels, which exists of some herds of camels that already stay in the soum and some new ones. By grouping them, selection can be done and milking during the summer, which makes it more efficient according to the planning. Enough feed is available in the pasture and the camels always survive harsh winters, which are abundant in this region (with temperatures down to -50 degrees Celcius and a lot of wind, which makes it even colder…).
At this moment a small dairy farm is already established. A water point is repaired and two cows have been bought, which produce at this moment 7 litres per cow per day. They are fed with hay, which can be bought from the government for a reduced price. The milk is sold to the local schools and is processed into dairy products, like yoghurts. The cows with their calves are held in the backyard of the family, who is planning to buy more cows and expand their businesses, as it gives good profit and the demand for milk is big. Many others will follow her and are planning on buying cows and start breeding with them through a local government program. Besides cows, she is planning to grow potatoes in her backyard to sell and feed herself and her cows.
By establishing water points and giving small funds in combination with training and increasing knowledge, even in desert areas food can be produced and people can have a good income. Let’s hope many people in this soum will follow this female farmer’s example. The governor and his staff are ready for it!