PALD Working Paper No. 2

Transformation of a pastoral economy: a local view from Arhangai and Dornogobi provinces

Published on 1 August 1991

Mongolia is embarking on the liberalisation of agriculture as part of its overall
programme of economic transformation. The major part of the agricultural sector is
extensive livestock husbandry or semi-nomadic pastoralism, organised principally
through the agricultural cooperatives or negdels.
The purpose of this joint Mongolia-UK policy research and training project is: (i) to
build social science research capability in Mongolian research institutions; (ii) to
provide a description, and analysis of the Mongolian pastoral livelihood system,
focusing especially on production and distribution issues at household and local
level; and (iii) to generate information and skills to facilitate policy choices to be
made in the next five years, and monitor changes already underway. The three year
project focuses mainly on the negdels, since they make up the largest part of the
rural economy, although reference will also be made to other agricultural
enterprises and economic sectors.
The main research themes included in this project are: (i) household production and
marketing strategies, and vulnerability; (ii) seasonality, animal nutrition and grazing
management; (iii) land and natural resource tenure; and (iv) risk and risk
management. Secondary research themes include: (v) raising productivity; (vi)
livestock and livestock product marketing; and (vii) managing the economic
transition. Important guiding principles behind this project are to consider the
environmental sustainability of economic reforms; and their differential impacts
between ecological zones, between richer and poorer households, and between
different household members.
The project is being carried out by a joint UK-Mongolian research team drawn from
the three cooperating institutions: the Mongolian Research Institute of Animal
Husbandry (RIAH), the Mongolian Institute of Agricultural Economics (IAE), and
the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex, UK.
This working paper documents the findings of the initial phase of fieldwork during
July-August 1991. This phase included the training of Mongolian team members in
fieldwork methodology, especially the techniques of participatory or rapid rural
appraisal. The fieldwork was carried out in Arhangai province or aimag,
representing the forest/mountain steppe ecological zone; and Dornogobi aimag in
the Gobi zone. The research consisted primarily of case studies of two brigades, one
in each aimag, with extensive semi-structured interviewing conducted at household
level, and supplementary interviews at aimag and negdel levels. Of the research
themes listed above, attention during this phase focused on the first four.

Cite this publication

Policy Alternatives for Livestock Development in Mongolia (PALD) (Project) (1991) Transformation of a pastoral economy: a local view from Arhangai and Dornogobi provinces, PALD Working Paper No.2, Brighton: IDS

Publication details

published by
Policy Alternatives for Livestock Development in Mongolia (PALD) (Project)


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