Project background

CPR has been promoting environmentally friendly income generation among herders since early 2000s.

In 2017,  it has (i) proved the feasibility of herders reducing the herd size voluntarily under the WWF funded ‘Leopard friendly pastureland management’ project, to address the pastureland overgrazing, the long-persisting problem that has serious economic, environmental and social consequences; (ii) developed rules for herders’ loan revolving fund to leverage herders reducing the herd size for the “Biodiversity and Adaptation to Climate Change” project under the Ministry of Environment and Tourism Development.

In mid-2018, CPR has joined the XAC bank and Mercy Corps initiative to pilot eco loans to improve pastureland management and change herders’ behavior, which ended up in launching the pilot project ‘Green Pasture’ in December 2018 in the Bayan-Ovoo soum, Khentii aimag, where CPR played a key role in developing the project design including loan product.

Livestock herding in the Bayan-Ovoo soum

The herd size in Bayan-Ovoo soum was 56,180 in 2000 with a total of 152,000 sheep units. There were 1.4 hectares of pastureland per sheep unit and an additional 20% was available in emergencies of droughts & dzud. The animal & pasture ratio was ideal and the animals did not cause pasture degradation.

In recent years, the number of animals has grown dramatically and reached a total of 179,871 or 352,531 sheep units in 2017. There are only 0.6 hectares of pastureland per sheep unit and pasture supply is down by 2.3 times. This pastureland overgrazing leads to serious malnutrition of around 47% resulting in livestock to lose body weight, produce less output and become vulnerable to diseases, natural risks and to lose their market value. Moreover, overgrazing caused emergency reserve pastures to disappear making herders extremely vulnerable to dzud risks. The animal loss in the 2009 -2010 zud only was 20% decreasing the herd size from 89,800 to 74,000 forcing many households into poverty. The traditional mentality of prioritizing the number of animals hinders herders seeing opportunities for productivity improvements. In addition, herders do not cooperate in livestock marketing and sell animals individually at camp sites. This prevents from meeting animal quality requirements and fetching better prices for livestock products.

What the green pasture pilot is doing?

The project objective is to pilot ways to encourage herders in changing the existing non-sustainable behavior for the livestock number maximization and adopting pasture-friendly income generation strategies capable of making herders’ livelihoods sustainable in the long term.

Proposed mechanisms to achieve the project objective: 

  • Pastureland use agreements /PUA/ between herder’ groups and soum Governors and herd size reduction agreements between individual herder households and soum Governors as the mechanism to build herders’ commitment to reduce the herd size to optimum levels compatible with pasture carrying capacities
  • Livestock Risk Management Fund /LRMF/ mechanism to finance herders proposals for pastureland and livestock risk management and the operation of livestock quality examination and certification point to assist herders in increasing animal sales and fetch better prices through adequate quality examination and certification
  • Provision of eco soft loans to herders as mechanism to drive further herders interest to reduce herd size
  • Capacity building activities to enable both herders and the soum government to implement the pilot

Projects benefits

  1. Capacity building: Knowledge and skill to adopt pasture-friendly income generation strategies
  2. PUAs and herd size reduction agreements: Reduced overgrazing, recovered pastureland quality leading to improved animal productivity and incomes and better protection against dzud risks
  3. LRMF: Guaranteed finances for pastureland, livestock risk management and value chain activities
  4. Eco soft loans: Up to 12% annual interest rate soft loans that can be used for meeting household urgent needs

How to access projects benefits?

Capacity building. All herder households in the soum have been visited and educated in the project objectives, benefits and ways to access them. Households demonstrating the strong willingness and capacity to implement the project proposed mechanisms described below shall be selected to benefit further from detailed capacity building activities by actually participating in the  pilot.

PUAs and herd size reduction agreements. PUAs are established with herder groups who commit to reduce the herd size around 4-6% annual rate according to the carrying capacity of pastures under agreement. Herd size reduction agreements are established with individual herder households who commit to reduce the herd size around 6% annual rate. The project will assist herder groups and individual herder households in establishing PUAs and herd size reduction agreements.

LRMF. Herders pay contributions to LRMF in the sum of MNT 500 per sheep unit of animals counted at the end of the previous year. Herders who paid their contributions are entitled to access MNT 365 per sheep unit for financing their proposals for pastureland, livestock risk management and value chain activities and MNT 300 per sheep unit for bringing their animals to the livestock quality examination and certification point totaling MNT 665 per meaning herders get back 33% higher what they paid (MNT 500). The project assists herders in benefiting from LRMF.

Eco soft loans. Loans MNT 300,000-20,000,000 for up to 24-month duration are offered by the XAC bank. Member households of herder groups and individual herder households who (i) establish PUGs, herd size reduction agreements; (ii) pay LRMF contributions; (iii) sale animals through the soum livestock quality examination and certification point; (iv) reduce the herd size according to set annual targets apply for eco loans at 12% annual interest rate. The interest rate will revert to higher rate for those households who fail to reduce the herd size according to set targets. The project assists herders in benefiting from eco loans.

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