Best practices of Mongolian herder groups 2

The case of Botgonii Gol in Bayan-Undur soum

With a salt-lake nearby and receiving funds from the Waterpoint project, herder group Botgonii Gol saw the opportunity to add value to this salt by making salt blocks for livestock becoming reality. The investment of 2,5 million Tugrik is calculated to be earned back within 2 years with the profit of producing the salt blocks. 

For years and years herders visit the area of herder group Botgonii Gol to collect salt from the lake or let their animals lick the salt themselves. However, the amount of salt is more than enough for all of them. Though funds were lacking to do something more with this salt and obtaining a loan from a bank was not possible. After writing a business proposal and receiving money in July 2011, a brick maker and some ingredients for the salt blocks were bought by the herder group. By planning ahead, the herder group members already ‘harvested’ 10 tonnes of salt from the lake (as the salt can only be ‘harvested’ in a special period) and can start making blocks right away. A workplace in the soum centre is arranged by the local governor and production will start in September.

All salt and mineral blocks come from Ulaanbaatar now, and prices are high, so good benefits can be made. Profit is depending on the amount of salt that can be collected from the lake. If the water level rises, the salt cannot be collected. However, with a reasonable harvest of 10 tonnes of salt a year, profits will be enough to pay off the initial investment of 2,5 million Tugrik within 2 years. During the soum stay of the marketing & adding value experts of the project, the herder group leader asked for different recipes of salt and mineral blocks. These are now provided to the group, translated into Mongolian, so different blocks can be made and new options can be explored to improve the quality and increase profits.

Results after 3 months:
– Investments in machinery have been made, raw material and a workplace are arranged
– Profit has been calculated based on realistic assumptions
– 5 poor herder families will have extra income and loan opportunities
– A unique product will enter the local market with big potential

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