Vegetable Production Offers Diet and Poverty Reduction Benefits for Mongolia, Says New Book

News Release | 14 September 2020

ULAANBAATAR, MONGOLIA (14 September 2020) — Increased vegetable production in Mongolia would have a positive benefit on poverty reduction, as well as provide a more balanced diet for its citizens, according to a new book launched today by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of Mongolia.

ADB’s Director of Environment, Natural Resources, and Agriculture for East Asia Qingfeng Zhang opened the launch of the book, Vegetable Production and Value Chains in Mongolia. The event was cohosted by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Light Industry (MOFALI).

In his opening remarks, Mr. Zhang highlighted the importance of strengthening the agriculture sector and its role in providing for a more diversified and labor-intensive economic structure for the rural population.

“Agriculture is not sufficiently diversified and only about half of the country’s vegetable demand was met by domestic production during 2008–2016,” Mr. Zhang said. “Vegetable production provides an opportunity to reduce poverty reduction since it is particularly suited to small land areas, intensively uses labor, and matches the resource availability of the poor.”

ADB Country Director for Mongolia Pavit Ramachandran spoke at the opening ceremony and highlighted the importance of developing vegetable value chains in diversifying the economy, generating rural employment, and promoting better nutritional outcomes in rural areas. 

The book examines opportunities and constraints of supporting the vegetable subsector, the options for reforming value chains, and the possibilities of coordinating better the value chain in vegetable production, supply, and sales systems. The book describes vegetable value chains—from production to marketing or from producers to final consumers—discussing different models to enhance market access for smallholder producers through public sector interventions, specifically ADB financing. This includes opportunities for farmers to sell directly to farm stalls or a centralized wholesale center.

MOFALI’s Director General of the Food Production Policy Implementation Coordination Department, Choi-Ish, said the book launch is timely, given the inception of an ADB project that will upgrade, modernize, and climate-proof 12 selected schemes, along with directly associated infrastructure to provide irrigation services for 7,000 hectares of land.

The ADB-funded vegetable production and irrigated agriculture project design introduces innovative features such as high-efficiency irrigation technology in cold regions, and summer and winter greenhouses for vegetable production. A total of 3,458 households are expected to benefit, including 1,041 poor households. The total cost of the project is $46.25 million, of which ADB is providing a concessional loan of $25.3 million and a regular loan of $14.7 million. The government will provide $4.25 million toward the project cost.

ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.