Best practices of Mongolian herder groups 3

The case of herder group Bayankhangai in Esonzuil soum

Using all opportunities that the Waterpoint project offered them, herder group Bayankhangai started new business in potato growing and sheep trade and realized profits of more than 30% in the first year. Furthermore, they created a sustainable job for a poor group member and improved the livelihood of 3 poor member families by providing them 100 kg of potatoes and vegetables free of charge.

Small potato fields can improve herders diet and give business opportunities

Small potato fields can improve herders diet and give business opportunities

During the first years of the project, the herder group was formed, became a legal entity and participated in several trainings, such as bookkeeping, pasture management, use of the new water point and business development. After successful participation in these trainings and writing a business plan, the group received a grant of over 5 million Tugrik (over 4000 USD) to start their business in June 2010. This money was used to buy potato seedlings, fence a field and buy packaging material for sales of the harvest. Besides, they hired an expert out of this budget to demonstrate good techniques of growing potatoes, so they would be successful.

In 2010, a start was made in growing potatoes. This resulted in a yield of 2 tonnes of potatoes, which were partly given free of charge to the poor members, sold in exchange for sheep to the richer group members and the remains were sold to the local hospital. Half of the yield was used as seedlings for next year. The sheep were sold to the local market during a time of high prices, which resulted in an income of 1,2 million Tugrik. This amount was put in a revolving fund. From that fund, three poor members got a loan with low interest for 6 months. In 2011, again potatoes are planted (this time of the locally known as improved ‘Holland’ race), as well as carrots and turnips. The whole herder group is involved in planting, harvesting, selling and other activities related to the crops.

Results after 1 year:
– Profitability of business is over 30%
– One full-time job for a poor group member
– Low interest loan for three group members
– Improved livelihood for all group members due to a diet including potatoes and vegetables regularly

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