IDACA NEWS

NO.115

May 15, 2020

IDACA Executive Director’s Inaugural Message

REPORTS ON TRAINING COURSES

  1. FY2019 JICA Knowledge Co-Creation Program “Establishment and Development of Farmers’ Organizations” Course
     
    Report from a Former Participant after She Returned to Her Home Country
  2. FY2019 ICA-Japan Training Course on “Empowering Women in Business and Management of Agricultural Cooperatives”
  3. FY2019 Training Course on “Fostering Coordinators of Food Value Chain” under the Project for Supporting Capacity Building in the Agricultural Sector in ASEAN Countries
  4. FY2019 ICA-Japan Training Course on “Fostering Agricultural Cooperatives for Food Value Chain”

OVERSEAS BUSINESS TRIP REPORT

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OVERSEAS BUSINESS TRIP REPORT

FY2019 ICA/IDACA Follow-up Guidance and Survey Program (Mongolia)

This project, which is being carried out jointly with the International Cooperative Alliance Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP), is broadly divided into “on-site surveys” and “questionnaire surveys.” This is a report on an onsite survey that was held from September 30 to October 6 in Mongolia.

Targeting semi-developed countries in Southeast Asia where organizing agricultural cooperatives has relatively progressed, the above-titled training course was conducted from August 19, 2019 to September 11, 2019, with the marketing business, distribution system, and food value chain of agricultural cooperatives as the theme.

The point of contact was the National Association of Mongolian Agricultural Cooperatives (NAMAC), an agricultural cooperative organization at the national level in Mongolia; NAMAC supported coordination in various areas such as making arrangements and communicating with former participants. Most of the former participants from Mongolia who were the subjects of this survey have been implementing action plans in close cooperation with dairy cooperatives, veterinary cooperatives, and farmers’ groups, where they work, contributing to the promotion of the cooperative movement in addition to improving the income and livelihood of cooperative members by utilizing the knowledge and experience they gained through training courses.

1. Current state of cooperatives in Mongolia

The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry of Mongolia is in charge of cooperatives in Mongolia, and 4,377 cooperatives have been registered as of 2018. The majority of them are agricultural cooperatives and dairy cooperatives. The Law on Cooperatives was first drafted in 1995 and has been amended several times since then, existing in its current form today. During our visit this time, it was shortly after an amendment was submitted to the Mongolian parliament, so that cooperatives would find it easier to procure funding. In addition, the third phase of the national program on the development of cooperatives (2019-2024) was also just approved, and various events were being planned to increase awareness of cooperatives and increase production.


Former participants at NAMAC

Meanwhile, cooperative officials say that while they are aware of the difficulty in encouraging people constantly on the move seeking natural pastures due to Mongolia’s unique form of agriculture known as nomadic animal husbandry to form organizations, and that they believe that cooperatives will play an important role in achieving the “Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” the current situation is such that understanding of cooperatives has not progressed among officials in charge of cooperatives and at the private sector level.

Regarding NAMAC, the apex organization of agricultural cooperatives, it is the third largest NGO in Mongolia in terms of activity size and membership. Established in 1967, it was reorganized in 1992 after a transition from socialism to democracy, and it now has 22 branch associations, 10 secondary cooperatives, 630 primary cooperatives, and 150,000 individual members.

2. Interviews with Former Training Participants and Visits to Cooperatives / Farmers’ Groups (Excerpts)

• Visiting the Bayakhoshuu Farmers’ Group

Visiting the Bayakhoshuu group

This is a group consisting of 10 men and women who have gathered for the purpose of securing income after their retirement. The group, which was organized following a greenhouse project by Caritas Mongolia, an international NGO, is now engaged in cultivation, processing and selling agricultural products, as well as develops household goods such as clothes and shoes.

Mr. Giikhnaran, a former training participant, serves as a coordinator, using his knowledge and experience gained through ICA training to provide guidance to the group on farming, sales, and organizational operations. Specifically, it consists of looking at the market prices of harvested vegetables to determine when to sell them, and encourage farmers who have little income in winter to make soap using sheep oil.

In addition, Mr. Giikhnaran also gave guidance to the farmers’ group to develop this group as cooperative with nine or more members, which is a requirement for forming cooperatives, so that they can register as cooperatives in the future, and provided support for participation in events with the aim of increasing their sales capabilities. Members were saying that as a result, active exchanges started among the members, resulting in sharing information with each other to enhance their skills and abilities, and vegetable cultivation leading to savings and increasing income by about 1.5 times compared with before. In addition, they were saying that it became possible to educate children on agriculture, thus producing positive effects.

• Visit to Suun Dalai Tsaltsal Dairy Cooperative (hereinafter referred to as Suun Dairy Cooperative)

At Suun Dalai Tsaltsal Dairy Cooperative

Located two hours away from Ulaanbaatar, Suun Dairy Cooperative was organized as a producers’ group in 2009 and became a cooperative in 2013. It is operated by 16 members of the cooperative and four staff members, and mainly collects, processes and sells raw milk.

All raw milk brought in by the members of the cooperative as well as by nomads is processed into 8-12 types of dairy products, including ice cream and curd (dried dairy products), and sold to shops and schools in Ulaanbaatar and the neighborhood. This dairy cooperative was the target of the action plan of former training participants Ms. Tuul and Ms. Otgonbolor, and it is engaged in work to improve dairy product quality and sanitation control, creation of added value for dairy products, and expansion of sales opportunities. Ms. Tuul said, “In Japan, quality is considered important, and all members of the cooperatives follow rules in shipping agricultural products.” She conducted training by incorporating this idea, and sanitation control has been enhanced by working on increasing the production of raw milk and changing raw milk storage containers from plastic to metal. She also supported the establishment of a COOP shop for the purpose of expanding sales destinations.


At a “ger,” a traditional Mongolian portable residence (visiting a member of the cooperative)

According to Ms. Tseermaa, the cooperative’s president, “We were not well known when we were a producers’ group, and we had no sales outlets, but after we became cooperative, we were able to receive training, the capacity of the organization as a whole increased, and people started recognizing us. As a result, the sales volume of processed goods increased, and the income of the cooperative’s members has improved.”

In addition, we visited the Mongolian National Cooperative Association, which is an ICA member organization, the Cooperative Fair sponsored by the Mongolian Commodity Exchange, the “United Private Veterinary Clinics of Mongolia,” which is an organization to which the former participant belonged, and the Borjigon Tuya Herders’ Cooperative.