EBRD to provide USD 100 million in promoting agriculture and land-farming

Press and Public Relations Department of President

2017-09-29 10:44 GMT+8

ULAANBAATAR (GoGo Mongolia) - On September 27, President of Mongolia Khaltmaagiin Battulga received First Vice President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Philip Bennett, EBRD Governing Board member representing Mongolia, the Netherlands, Macedonia and China Frans Weekers and EBRD Senior Banker in charge of infrastructure matters Svetlana Radchenko. 

Beginning the meeting, EBRD’s First Vice President Philip Bennett said it has been more than a decade since the Bank started operating in Mongolia, and the amount of investment from EBRD to Mongolia has reached about USD 1.6 billion. 100 percent of EBRD investment went to the private sector. Mr. Bennett wanted to highlight that investment to Oyu Tolgoi was one of the largest. 

He underlined that EBRD set out four priorities in the strategy for Mongolia, and the priorities revolve around promoting non-extractive sectors. Investment of approximately USD 100 million was dedicated to promoting agriculture and land-farming, especially, to milk and dairy production. EBRD has also been supporting cashmere production by acting as the main investor for Gobi Cashmere Company. 

Another focus is placed on renewable energy, especially on commissioning of windmills, he noted. 

Mr. Bennett shared that he has discussed with the Mayor of Ulaanbaatar about cooperating in urban development, solid waste procession, air pollution reduction, upgrading public transport, improving water treatment equipment, heat distribution, and urban planning. Thus, EBRD is considering involvement in government-administered actions in addition to investing in the private sector.

The EBRD First Vice President reported on the Bank’s ongoing operations in promoting small and medium enterprises, healthcare and finance. 

President of Mongolia Kh.Battulga shared information about the projects, which were initiated during his time as the Minister for Food and Agriculture and Minister for Road, Transport and Urban Development. 

He said, “Unemployment and poverty are the foremost priorities for our discussion. In order to improve the situation, we should support the expansion of national businesses. Each year, Mongolians export a total of 10 million pieces of raw hides to China. Value of three pieces of sheepskin has fallen down to an equal amount to that of a cup of instant noodles. This is a tragedy. A major economic sector – Agriculture is being left out. The economy is revolving around mining. 

When I was the Minister for Food and Agriculture, we developed a project which would have a piece of animal hide the added value of up to USD 300. The project was about producing final products from animal hides with the utilization of Spanish technology. The idea has been tested successfully. The 10 million pieces of hiding are the source of income for Mongolian livestock herders. 

Air pollution problem can be settled by separating the capital city into two sections: an administrative town and a satellite city. While working as the Minister for Road, Transport, Construction and Urban Development, I initiated a project which would train citizens in the field of civil engineering and allow mortgage loans for apartments. Drawing of the model satellite city was developed by German architects. 

The next priority is food. We organized a national forum about this issue. A part of Chinggis Bond investment went to financing greenhouse-farming, which resulted in increased harvest, during my term as the Minister for Food and Agriculture. 

It is possible for Mongolia to carry parts of ever-increasing trade turnover between Russia and China by building 1,100 kilometer long highway connecting Altanbulag and Zamyn-Uud. There is also a railway project. A number of workplaces should be increased dramatically in order to reduce unemployment and eradicate poverty.”

Mr. Bennett recalled his visit to Oyu Tolgoi while being in Mongolia, and said the Bank will focus on the issue of providing the mine personnel with food, uniforms and other needs produced by national companies. President Battulga agreed that this is entirely possible. 
The sides declared that their interests intersect in many areas. 

EBRD First Vice President Philip Bennett said he is pleased with the fact that someone who is experienced in quite a few sectors has been elected the President of Mongolia, and expressed his confidence in fruitful cooperation in the future. 

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