Their high-quality wool and nourishing milk make yak an important source of income for Mongolia's nomadic herders.
Photo: © SDC / D. Davaanyam


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The number of livestock in Mongolia has heavily increased. The SDC is supporting the sustainable use of pastureland, to improve animal health and the marketing of livestock products.

Mongolia's vast grasslands seem to stretch for ever into the distance – but decades of overgrazing now threaten their existence. When Mongolia was under Soviet control, livestock numbers were limited to around 25 million. Since the end of state regulation they have grown to about 70 million (2017). Consequently, two thirds of rangeland – most of which is owned by the state and on which the herders' livelihoods largely depend – is degraded. Many once rich pastures have given way to vast swathes of sand and stone. The animals no longer find enough food over the short summers to survive the cold winter, and many die because of diseases. The herders are finding it increasingly hard to make a living.

In response, the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC) is supporting a number of measures under its Green Gold scheme. Green Gold, which brings together two previous projects and will run until 2020, has three main goals:

1. More sustainable use of pastureland

The project encourages nomadic herder families to work together in pasture user groups to improve the management of pastures.

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