Mongolia exported 54900 tonnes of meat and meat products in 2018 – a 20 year high. But because of bungled management, the population of Ulaanbaatar, where half of Mongolians live, is experiencing meat shortages. Prices have simply skyrocketed beyond what people can afford. For a nation of meat-eaters, this is hard to cope with!
In order to solve this problem, the cabinet is planning to impose quotas on lamb and goat meat exports due to the shortages in the capital. Ironically, the number of livestock in Mongolia reached 85 million head this year; however, people in Ulaanbaatar can no longer afford to eat meat on a daily basis because of the prohibitive prices.
Currently, the price of beef has reached MNT 16,000 per kg at the big markets in Ulaanbaatar. The Mongolian government’s effort for stabilizing meats price has become ineffective: last autumn, for example it stockpiled a total of only four tonnes of meat – the previous year it had been 15 tonnes; this was quickly sold at 127 sites in Ulaanbaatar city. Stockpiled meat costs 40 percent less than market prices.
The policy to boost meat exports and, thus, generate revenue is having other negative effects. The record numbers of livestock in Mongolia are putting a strain on grazing and pasture land, which combined with climate change, could have very detrimental effects for traditional livelihoods.