Best practices of Mongolian herder groups

The case of Amanbulag in Burd soum

Fresh ice-cream in the middle of the hot steppe region in Mongolia? No need to do any marketing; people will crave for it! Herder group Amanbulag will use the opportunity of the milk production of their dairy cows in summer to create this seasonal product. In autumn the fresh milk will be sold to the local schools, but during summer holiday the milk will prove its’ value as ice-cream.

Milking the new dairy cows with their calves nearby

Milking the new dairy cows with their calves nearby

As a whole herder group and after participating in all trainings, Amanbulag decided to start a dairy farm. A business proposal was written to buy 100 sheep and a butter-making machine for a total requested amount of 5,5 million Tugrik. As only 3,5 million Tugrik was granted by the project, the group decided to take another strategy. With the 3,5 million Tugrik, two Simmental dairy cows, a hay cutter and shed/fence materials were bought. In July 2011 the two cows arrived at the herder group leaders ger and milking of the cows started. Both deliver 8 litres of milk a day, which is high in Mongolian circumstances. As the cows are more vulnerable, providing hay in winter and making a strong winter shelter will assure that the cows keep producing milk during winter and survive the extreme circumstances with temperatures down to -40°C.

A contract is made with a school to provide fresh milk starting from the new school year (1st of September). During the adding value & marketing training, the herder group leader’s wife got the idea to process the milk during the summer (as the children will be on holiday for 3 months) into ice-cream which can be sold in the soum centre. In this way, the profit of the milk(product) will be much higher than just trying to sell the fresh milk in the soum centre during the summer. All benefits will be donated to the revolving fund from which other group members can get loans to start their own business or other activities. Last year, the money from the revolving fund was used for buying hay and forage for the animals of all herder group members, so they would survive the winter in a better physical condition.

Results after 3 months:
– A new, good breed of cows is bought and preparations to produce milk during the winter are taken
– Milking activities can be undertaken together with regular herding activities
– Agreements for sales of the product are signed
– Options for adding value to the raw product have been found


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