Khovsgol Dairy Project

The aim of the project is to build and establish a Dairy facility owned by an cooperative of nomadic herders in the area of the village Khatgal, Khovsgol province in the northern Mongolia. The aim is to improve the local herders possibility to produce milk products of a high quality that can be sold to a third party. As it is now, the herders can only sell their products locally and in a short period, because of the traditional and primitive storage and production methods. Building a Dairy facility with international standards for food safety and hygiene, will improve the possibility for the herders to sell their products outside the village to the bigger city’s where there are potential costumers. The products will mainly be traditional Mongolian milk products, supporting the Mongolian lifestyle and creating a livelihood and job opportunities for the local herders.

The project is a collaboration between Danish Architects without Borders, Dairy without Borders, ecoLeap Foundation and the cooperative of nomadic herders Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig.

The long-term aim of Khovsgol Dairy Project is to build and establish a Dairy facility owned and managed by a cooperative of nomadic herders Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig.

On the short term we want to improve Sarlagiin Saikhan Khishig cooperation´s possibility to produce dairy (products) of a high quality that can be sold to a third party.

In addition, the herders will be trained in hygiene and commodity handling of milk, which will increase the general health of the population and prevent diseases.

The project will create local jobs and provide a boost to the entire region, which can help reverse the trend of urban migration.

Read more about the project on the dedicated website: Khovsgol Dairy Project.


Mongolia is a country that has a very small production of food that meets the international standards. The nomads on the country lives of their animals. But in the cities, most food is imported from abroad. This means that food prices are very high in a country where wages have not kept pace with the cost of living. The vast majority of people have very few resources and still lives traditionally as nomads.

The country has a tradition of a great production of dairy products in the summer. However, because of the traditional and primitive production and storage methods, the nomads can only sell their products locally and for a limited period. The lack of infrastructure in the country makes it difficult to transport the products outside the regions of origin, making it difficult to export products to the cities or abroad, where there could be potential buyers. In addition, the products are manufactured under traditional methods that do not live up to the international standard of food safety and hygiene. The dairy products are of a very high quality, as the animals grass on pastures with high biodiversity without pollution or pesticides. The cattle are a mixture of cows, yaks and hybrids of the two races. This provides an unique milk with a very high fat content and a very delicate flavour.

I’ve spoken to a group shepherds to build a dairy in Khatgal. Khatgal is a larger village with approx. 3000 inhabitants in the northern Hovsgol province. The village is connected to the electricity network and located at Hovsgol lake shore. The Hovsgol lake contains about 5 % of the world’s fresh water, so the water and electricity supply will not be a problem. Most families who live as nomads in the area, moves to Khatgal winter. In summer, they spread out and live in summer camps around Hovsgol Lake and its surroundings. In the summer they sometimes work as guides on horse treks, but otherwise they do not have much income. They are all very interested in improving their living conditions by generating income opportunities. We talked about a dairy as they all have many animals, but few opportunities to sell products from the animals.

A dairy therefore seems obvious, as it supports their traditional lifestyle as shepherds and nomads.
The optimum would be to form an cooperation or association of shepherds who invest funds into the project through micro-loans. This gives them ownership of the project and a share in the profits, beside the money they will make by selling milk to the diary. The project should also apply for funding through foundations and development aid.


Some information on Mongolia, husbandry and the importance of diary products in Mongolia


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