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Beekeeping development in Mongolia

Togtokhbayar Norovsambuu, Head of Professor’s Team, School of Animal Sciences and Biotechnology, Mongolian University of Life Sciences, Ulaanbaator, Mongolia

Beekeeping is one of the important and indispensable sectors for the creation of ‘green’ jobs and the reduction of rural poverty.

Issues and resolutions

To increase the volume and quality of honey by strengthening the professional capacity of beekeepers, as well as increasing their income, many projects and programmes were implemented with international donor organisations.

Project implementation

The Asian Development Bank supported the Agricultural Value Chain Project to improve the technical and marketing capacity of bee sector enterprises, the technical capacity of farmers and herders, and the processors. The Project aimed to establish a process for brand development and management that is sustainable and replicable by institutions.

It aimed to facilitate matchmaking between selected Mongolian enterprises and international brands, and to establish brand partnership agreements between at least three Project enterprises and international brands.

The Project entered into cooperation agreements with Gachuurt, Mihachi, Permakultur development, and Ikh Ord Aurag companies which receive honey from beekeepers. In this framework, ten module training courses were organised to improve the technical knowledge and skills of the beekeepers – there were 322 participants (147 men and 175 women).

The training included best practice procedures for beekeeping, how to evaluate and identify business needs, make business plans, write proposals and adopt good agricultural practices to produce good quality honey to meet international standards and export requirements. After the training, 54 beekeepers were awarded Certificates of Competence.

Veterinarians play an important role in the bee sector establishing a traceability system to verify bee products and 130 (55 men and 75 women) also undertook training. This included colony structure and inspection methods, diagnosis, prevention and treatment of bee diseases and the services provided by province and soum veterinary units, and the requirements of good agricultural practices. Those who completed five modules were awarded with a certificate.

To create a honey tracking system implemented by JICA, veterinary service units have signed cooperation agreements and continued work for discussion and approval of the veterinary and sanitary certificates of origin by the meeting of the Representatives of the Citizens of the soum. These documents have been approved in Bayan-Undur soum of Orkhonaimag, Khalkhgol, soum of Dornodaimag, Batshireet and Binder soums of Khentiiaimag, with the relevant contracts signed with beekeepers.

Other training courses including beekeeping technology, teaching methods, internal audit, consulting, and capacity building for beekeepers were organised for advisors and workers in honey packing factories.

Outcomes

In addition to the training, the Project published six books and, in co-operation with the Mongolian Beekeepers Association, a series of 15 short films on Beekeeping Technology and Management were created and distributed to beekeeper trainers.

During the three years of the Project, beekeepers have been applying what they have learned, growing the number of bee colonies and increasing the amount of honey produced. As a result, Mongolia now produces high-quality honey for supply to both domestic and international markets.

Training included best practice for beekeeping
The author (left) with agronomists learning about strawberry pollination by bees Strawberry plants and hive in place ready for pollination!
Strawberry plants and hive in place ready for pollination!
Veterinarians on their training course