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Sharing our knowledge with nomadic farmers in Mongolia

Thursday, 21 December, 2023

Mongolia Wool

Gallagher proudly announces its latest partnership with Share Mongolia, a not-for-profit group of farmers dedicated to improving economic outcomes for nomadic Mongolian sheep herders.

Share Mongolia, driven by the ethos of sharing knowledge, skills, and opportunities, aims to empower 150 Mongolian herders annually by providing them with the skills and equipment necessary to establish their own sustainable businesses. 

This initiative addresses critical challenges faced by Mongolian farmers, including limited skills and technology which lead to the waste of nine million kilograms of wool each year.

As land competition and climate change impacts increase year on year, these nomadic herder communities are facing an accelerated loss of land. Herders who would traditionally move their flock 3-4 times annually are now needing to move 6-7 times per year to find adequate feed for their sheep. This farm practice and is a contributor to the overgrazing of already scarce usable land. Approximately 3500 square kilometres of farmland is lost to the Gobi Desert annually.

The Share Mongolia initiative was started by Rabobank Agribusiness Finance Manager and good sort Paul Brough, who spotted an opportunity to help the locals while visiting Mongolia in 2019.

“I came across a group of farmers who were shearing a herd of about 900 using scissors, and they told me it would take them about a month to complete the job,” Mr Brough said.

“This really blew my mind given how much quicker this can be done with electronic equipment, and I thought to myself, there must be something I can do to help. So, once I got back to New Zealand, I had a few discussions with some work colleagues and clients, and we looked into running some training that would help develop Mongolian shearers skills with modern equipment.”

The initiative has grown since then, and Paul has secured strong partnerships with charitable organisations and businesses. Gallagher is honoured to stand alongside Paul and the team at Rabobank, as well as other partners such as the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, World Wildlife Fund, and the NZ Embassy. 

 While in New Zealand, the shearers will be working hard on sheep operations to generate income and upskill before entering the Golden Shears competition in February next year. Paul and the Share Mongolia team are hoping to raise enough funds to build a dedicated training facility in Mongolia to further share their knowledge with the locals upon their return home. The initiatives long-term vision is to create a sustainable industry for wool production in the country using modern techniques and equipment to create income stability for Mongolian herders.

Gallagher’s collaboration with Share Mongolia was officially announced last week by Lisbeth Jacobs, Chief Executive of Animal Management, marking one of the first initiatives under its Future of Farming Promise. This Promise, Lisbeth explains, is a commitment to support rural communities and help build resilience in global farming systems.

The Gallagher Animal Management team is energised by our renewed commitment to support farmers around the world, regardless of the farming system they deploy, to feed the world in the most sustainable way. There is no Planet B, and farmers are part of the solution.

To assist Share Mongolia in achieving its mission, the Gallagher team will share their knowledge on a range of farming topics, including effective pasture management to prevent further erosion, animal health and welfare insights for their herds, and animal exclusion tips for protecting herds from hungry wolves. A group of Mongolian shearers are currently in New Zealand on work exchange and during their visit Gallagher will host a portable fencing training day to share expertise and find solutions to the unique challenges faced by nomadic farmers in the region.

We’re excited to host Share Mongolia and do our bit to support their communities in whatever way we can. Central to this is sharing our knowledge and tools to help them more effectively manage their land and animals”, said Gallagher General Manager for NZ & Chile Darrell Jones

By contributing expertise and resources, Gallagher aims to make a positive impact on Mongolian herders' lives and, in doing so, uphold the values of the Future of Farming Promise, promoting a more profitable and sustainable future for global farming communities together

Stay tuned for further updates on our Share Mongolia partnership in the coming months.