Gobi Economic Development Projects, Mercy Corps 2004-2008

    For What's New visitors, a new document, "How to Organize Market Days" has been added, which describes how Mercy Corps and its partners organize trade fairs to promote locally produced goods in Mongolia.

    Mercy Corps is implementing three major programs in Mongolia; two of the three programs support rural economic development in twelve aimags throughout the country and the third supports the strengthening of civil society efforts in two aimags in the Gobi region. All three projects are covered in the report on the right.

    The Goal of the two Economic Development Programs is to develop and strengthen rural businesses. The projects have the following objectives and overall focus:

    Program Objectives:
    - An increase in the number of new and strengthened productive rural businesses
    - An increase in the production and sale of marketable animal products and crops
    - An increase in availability, access to and use of business information by rural entrepreneurs

    Program Focus:
    - Supporting herder groups that are expanding and/or diversifying their business activities
    - Supporting the development of herder cooperatives
    - Supporting businesses that add value to herder products and link those products to markets
    - Improving the supply of critical inputs for production, including business financing
    - Improving the quality and accessibility of local business development and support services
    - Ensuring a safer supply of food products for Mongolian consumers

    The program assists herder groups and other rural businesses to access business consulting, training, and technical assistance. It provides loan guarantees to help small producers access loans from banks. It links businesses with potential trading partners. And, it increases access to business and market information through media - radio, television, and SMS.

    Summary of results
    In 2004, 100 herder groups and rural businesses generated US$650,000 in new sales.

    A key component of both economic programs is herder business diversification and expansion, defined as the initiation of commercially-viable business activities beyond cashmere and wool production. Results from the first year of implementation of this new strategy revealed that although some herder groups did experience problems with first-time production of vegetables, fodder, dairy, meat and felt products, most did not. Another important result was that profitability and marketability of newly-produced goods was not a constraint; whatever was produced was sold, and at prices that generated profits for the business. As a result, MC/Mongolia remains committed to a diversification/expansion strategy for the agriculture/livestock sector, and is in the process of more than doubling the number of herder groups/cooperatives with which the two programs will work in 2005.

    Associated Activities and Documents
    Programme Design
    »Gobi Regional Economic Growth Initiative, Mercy Corps, PACT 2004-8