by Mehmet UgurGürkaynak, Milling and Grain
Population, political and administrative structure
Mongolia is located in Eastern and Central Asia and is completely surrounded by land. The country has borders with Russia in the North, China in the southeast and West. Approximately 45 percent of the population lives the capital city of Ulanbatur, which is also the country's largest city. It is one of the least densely populated countries in the world.
Mongoliahas made significant strides towards democratisation and transitioning to a free market economy in the last 20 years.
Mongolia is divided into 21 provinces. Elections are held every four years in the country. The Mongolian parliament consists of a single cabin with 76 members. The parliament has the right to determine the candidate for President. The president has two assistants.
According to the Constitution, the president is elected directly every four years by a vote of the people. The president has the authority to reject the candidate for prime minister indicated by the Parliament and to reject the laws adopted by the parliament.
Population and labour force
Mongolia's population was doubled between 1960 and 1990, but there are only 1.5 people per square kilometre. Although half of the population migrated to cities in 1990, high unemployment again caused rural migration. Currently, approximately a third of the total population lives in the capital of Ulan Bator.
Natural resources and environment
Mongolia's surface area is approximately a thousand square miles. The country consists of forests, mountains, steppes and deserts. Over eighty percent of the total area consists of grasslands and the harsh climate restricts agricultural activities. There is a shortage of water in the country.
Agriculture and animal husbandry
Agriculture's labour force share in Mongolia's economy is 35 percent. However, some climatic characteristics of the country, such as long winters, low humidity and changes in temperature, make agriculture difficult. The growth season of plants is between 90-110 days per year and the country's harsh climate is not suitable for many plants.
Among the most commonly grown agricultural products in Mongolia are wheat, corn, barley and potatoes. Animals such as goats, sheep, horses and camels are also preferred in livestock breeding. These animals are bred for their meat but are also valuable in terms of wool.
Until the 1970s, animal husbandry was an important source of income for the country's economy. After 1920, livestock became the raw material source for the industry and became its main export product. According to 1918 records, Mongolia had 13.8 million animals in 1924. In 1941, the number of animals reached 27.5 million, but in 1945, the tax rate increased and resultedina decrease in the number of animals, which fell to 20 million. Until now, this number varies between 20-24 million.
However, towards the end of the 1980s, livestock became one of the important elements of the national economy. In 1985, approximately 22.5 million animals (59 percent sheep, 10.7 percent cattle, 19 percent goat, 8.8 percent horse and 2.5 percent camel) were distributed. This year, there were also 271,300 head poultry. Other than for the purpose of meat, cattle, camels, sheep and goats were obtained for the use of milk, wool and hides.
At the end of the 1980s, livestock faced problems such as bad weather conditions, shortage of workers, and diseases, and the eighth plan dealt with some of these problems and tried to solve them. Measures such as high income, mechanisation, and better working conditions in rural areas have been applied to increase livestock labour again.
Techniques have been developed in order to increase meat, milk and wool production. Veterinary services have been improved to reduce the loss rate due to diseases and animal shelters have been constructed to protect animals from harsh winter conditions.
In 1941, the state established 10 farms and 26,000 hectares in the field of planting.
Studies have been initiated to promote agricultural product cultivation after World War II, to expand mechanisation and modern irrigation systems in agriculture. In 1960, 532 thousand hectares of arable land, while this ratio in 1985 was 1.2 million hectares.
With the support of the Soviet Union, the use of machinery on farms increased in the 1950s. For example, machines were used for all potatoes production and 85 percent of harvest in 1985, which were cultivated on state farms.
In 1941, grain production was carried out in 95 percent of the cultivated areas. In the 1960s, Mongolia became a self-sufficient country in the field of grain production. The main agricultural products are barley, wheat, oats, vegetables, potatoes, grass and green plants.
Mongolia has vast wooded areas. These lands, which are around 15 million hectares, are used for wood production and hunting. According to information from Mongolian sources, Forestry constituted a sixth of the country's GDP in 1984. Until December 1987, the use of these resources was under the Ministry of Forestry and was managed by The Forestry and Hunting Department.
After this period, this section was connected to the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. Unfortunately, a million hectares of forest land were destroyed in fires between 1980 and 1986, and the forest lands that were destroyed resulted in a decrease in water levels in resources that fed the Orhon and Selenga Rivers.
Lumber companies and sub-industries that operate in this sector contribute significantly to the Mongolian economy. Approximately 2.5 million cubic meters of wood is cut per year, 55 percent of it will be burned and the remaining 45 percent is used as raw material in the wood processing industry.
Lakes and rivers are full of fresh water fish in Mongolia. The country has a small but advanced fishing sector and exports canned fish.