Rural advisory services for herder families - Mongolia

Mongolia is a vast country, rich in resources, with a low population density and a scarcely developed infrastructure. 98% of the agriculturally used area is managed by nomadic herders. When one considers that the country experiences an extreme scarcity of water and very short vegetation periods, this traditional form of land-use is very well adapted to these harsh conditions. Since the mid nineties the service system for these herders has collapsed due to the political changes that the country experienced. The Mongolian-German GTZ “Support Project for the privatisation of animal health services” aims to build a system to substitute the former state structures.

PACTeam has shared its experiences with the establishment of an advisory system for herders with project team members and others. With a “farmer-to-farmer” approach, whose “field extensionists” are very familiar with the needs of their colleagues and whose part time extension work is financed by farmer organisations, a system is build up, that is as “slim” as possible. Quality management with including the training of field extensionists, the development of extension material and the exchange with research institutions is under the responsibility of the state, thus complying with its responsibility to establish an adequate infrastructure in the rural areas.

The result of this five year old co-operation between the Project, the National Agricultural Extension Center and PACTeam is an advisory system for herders in four provinces. Well trained herder-advisors pay their extensions visits during four months in one year. They are supported by methodologically sound supervisors for each province. These supervisors in turn meet once a year in the capital Ulan Bator, to exchange experiences and to elaborate, in cooperaco-operation with the Agricultural University of Mongolia, new extension materials. Presently two Mongolian coordinators for the herder extension system are being trained at Hohenheim University in a specially designed programme