The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $40 million in loans to support the modernization of government-owned irrigation networks and vegetable production in Mongolia.
"The project will promote income and employment generation in rural areas," said ADB Senior Natural Resources Economist Jan Hinrichs. "This will be achieved by diversifying traditional low-value grain crops into high-value vegetables."
Agriculture has become a priority for growth in Mongolia, in line with the government's focus to accelerate economic diversification and job creation. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood in rural areas, but is not sufficiently diversified and relies heavily on imports for vegetables and fodder. In 2008–2016, only about half of the country's vegetable demand was met by domestic production. Meanwhile, the country's irrigation systems are recognized as having low water productivity and lacking resilience to severe droughts and floods.
According to an article on devdiscourse.com, the project aims to install efficient and climate-resilient irrigation infrastructure and management systems, improve the sustainability of agriculture production systems, and strengthen technical, institutional, and management capacity and coordination.
Summer and winter greenhouses
The project design introduces innovative features such as high-efficiency irrigation technology in cold regions, summer and winter greenhouses, and an easy-to-use asset management system with remote-sensing technology. Such technology will help detect irrigation performance and resolve problems immediately.
The total cost of the project is $46.25 million, of which ADB is providing a concessional loan of $25.3 million and a regular loan of $14.7 million. The government will provide $4.25 million towards the project cost.