Since 2002,Global Communities has been working in the peri-urban areas surrounding Mongolia’s largest cities. Known as "Ger" areas these peri-urban communities are located in the outlying districts of major cities. Ger areas tend to be comprised of thousands of small, fenced-in plots of land and remain isolated from the main commercial activity and public services. These rural smallholders often struggle to produce high agricultural yields as they have little support from the central government, must face harsh Mongolian winters that can decimate their livestock and lack access to improved inputs, technically advanced production methods and alternative markets. Global Communities' work in Mongolia has focused on expanding economic opportunities in these areas by promoting cooperative development among these smallholder farmers encouraging them to work together and share information to overcome these challenges.
The Enabling Market Integration for Rural Group Empowerment (EMIRGE) program which began in Mongolia in September 2010 assists smallholder farmers in the dairy and vegetable value chains to increase their production yields. EMIRGE’s portfolio originally began with four cooperatives but has grown to 46 cooperatives and groups since the inception of the program. EMIRGE is highly invested in helping farmers in the dairy and vegetable value chains, as such EMIRGE has conducted a series of iterative value chains analyses culminating in two major studies conducted by Action for Enterprise (AFE), a leader in private sector development. As a result of these studies, the EMIRGE program is bringing major actors in the dairy and vegetable value chains together to assist them in implementing market-based solutions of their choosing.
The EMIRGE Mongolia program also offers a host of other technical assistance to our cooperatives and groups mainly in the form of on-farm management techniques. In the dairy sector the EMIRGE team provides training on veterinary techniques, milk quality standards, feed production and management techniques, curd production, acid milk production and provides an approach to conduct a cost/benefit analysis of feed inputs. In the vegetable sector the EMIRGE program provides information on soil protection, greenhouse training, pest management training, seed management training, vegetable technology training and provides information on post-harvest handling techniques. This specialized training in each of the value chains is strengthened by education on cross-cutting subjects in cooperative development such as cooperative fundamentals, cooperative management, financial literacy, and nutrition programming. The EMIRGE activities are part of a larger Global Cooperative Learning Program that builds on the experiences of cooperative members, private sector stakeholders and program implementers focusing on how cooperatives can impact members, their communities and markets around the world.
Read more about Global Communities' work promoting the development of cooperatives.
To assist the economic development of Ger areas, Global Communities implemented the the Growing Entrepreneurship Rapidly (GER) Initiative. The program was provided business development and employment services by working with a variety of private sector partners. Local banks partnered with GER to provide entrepreneurs with access to credit. Medium and large businesses were partners in the program’s employment training, employment matching and business-to-business linkages.
In addition to the GER Initiative, Global Communities promoted the development of cooperative systems through the Innovating, Measuring and Promoting Poverty Alleviation by Cooperatives in Transition Societies (IMPPACTS) program and the Mongolian Agribusiness Support Program (MASP). With support from USDA, MASP provided training and technical assistance to existing and prospective agricultural micro-enterprises, cooperatives and associations, made grants to organizations investing in collaborative business ventures and promoted linkages between suppliers, producers and processors. MASP also implemented an animal health program to improve veterinary care for swine though introduction of a specialized pig-health training curriculum and supported value chain development through technical assistance to the pork and felt industries.