Mongolian milk and dairy product producers organized the Forum on Dairy Sectoral Reform and Sustainable Provision on Wednesday.
The forum, initiated by the Mongolian Dairy Farmers’ Association, attracted more than 200 people who debated the current situation in the dairy industry, identified challenges, and exchanged their opinions on possible solutions and improvements.
There are around 2,000 farmers raising 43,000 animals for milk production, according to attendees of the forum. Producers stressed the lack of intensified farming is the main reason they are unable to fully meet domestic milk and dairy needs. Reportedly, 66 million livestock in Mongolia produce merely 20 percent of the milk demand in Mongolia and the rest of the demand is supplied through imports.
One of the challenges faced by local producers is that they can milk animals only during warm seasons. As a counterplan, producers proposed developing intensive agriculture, paying more attention to production of milk and dairy products, and requesting government support.
“We have no other option but to develop intensive agriculture to meet local demand. The demand for milk and dairy products is especially high during cold seasons but we’re unable to supply it locally. Intensive agriculture in Mongolia has become outdated because we didn’t have a general policy for it. We can completely meet domestic demand if we start a decisive movement and policy,” stated Head of the Mongolian Dairy Farmers’ Association O.Amartsengel.
The government is especially motivated to improve intensive agriculture in non-farming regions and launched a few projects aimed to develop intensive agriculture for meat and milk production, says O.Amartsengel. However, dairy producers complained that centralizing intensive agriculture in one particular region is not the best decision as it will limit the number of consumers and its reach. Instead, they advised developing intensive farming based in a large city or settlement to resolve transportation related issues.
“Government support for the development of farms has been decreasing in recent years. In particular, it’s hard for farms with around 20 milk cows to get government support. It’s possible to give incentives for every liter of milk supplied through intensive agriculture,” noted Labor Hero and milkmaid S.Khandsuren, who has been engaged in the production of milk for 50 years.
Another problem faced by dairy farmers is animal feed. Farmers can produce high-quality milk by feeding nutritious feed to cows and other animals. Yet, farmers have to frugally use feed because of the high taxes imposed on this type of product.
President of Vitafit Group LLC S.Bolorsaikhan reported, “All Mongolian companies engaged in dairy production use dry milk because milk needs aren’t met domestically 100 percent. The main reason the dairy industry is slumping and all local milk and dairy products aren’t supplied locally is because milk production stops in the winter. Although large milk producers seek opportunities to acquire milk from remote settlements during the winter, it is impossible. Dairy producers have advanced technologies with high capacity but there is a shortage of milk and the volume of imported milk is decreasing every year. Therefore, a state policy is essential for the development of intensive farming.”
“Mongolia’s milk preparation is unable to keep up with the demand. The type of milk and dairy products has increased over the past years,” said Executive Director of APU Dairy LLC G.Enkhbileg. “We must pay special attention to boosting farmers’ productivity and capacity to produce milk. Intensive farming is a solution for the seasonally-dependent liquid milk production.”
At the end of the meeting, Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold declared to support and cooperate with dairy producers in the future.
“I believe there’s an undeniable requirement to support dairy production. Both action plans of the government and the Mongolian People’s Party reflect a support for the development of dairy and meat production, and intensive agriculture, as well as the launch of a campaign in this direction. We must fulfill these targets. The public shouldn’t face hypocalcemia (a low blood level of calcium) and the majority of children suffer from tooth cavity when we’re one of the countries with the highest population of livestock and acquire a massive amount of milk directly from milk animals,” he said.
Speaker M.Enkhbold named meat, milk and flour as the most strategically important products. He said that Parliament called on the public to support and promote local production of milk and dairy products after evaluating that the state’s attention to this industry is lower than attention to the meat and flour industries.