On Thursday, December 13, Mercy Corps’ Country Director to Mongolia, Wendy Guyot, signed a partnership agreement with XacBank CEO Bold Magvan. The signing marked the beginning of a year-long pasture restoration and herder livelihoods project, called the Green Pasture Pilot, that Mercy Corps will be implementing in partnership with XacBank in Bayan-Ovoo soum, Khentii. Through the project XacBank will be deploying a new eco-loan product that provides lower rates for herders who meet their “pasture friendly” criteria.

Mercy Corps and XacBank began discussions on potential collaboration in 2017 when the two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the need for a diverse range of financial services and products to be available for the agricultural sector. Throughout 2018 both organizations worked with other key livestock sector stakeholders to develop the Green Pasture Pilot.

The pilot aims to address the issues of pasture degradation and livestock overstocking in rural Mongolia through incentivizing herders to reduce their herd sizes and adopt more sustainable livestock production practices. The pilot will be implemented in Bayan-Ovoo soum from December 2018 to December 2019 and participation will be open to any herder households living in that area. Participating households will be included in capacity building trainings, have the opportunity to apply for XacBank’s new eco-loan product and will also have access to a fund established by the pilot for livestock procurement activities such as animal collection, examination, and delivery to buyers. If the pilot is successful Mercy Corps and XacBank hope to expand its implementation to new additional soums.

The Green Pasture Pilot aims to show that herders can better increase their income through improved livestock productivity rather than increasing the amount of livestock they own. Both Mercy Corps and XacBank acknowledge the need for such a project and the excitement they have at being involved in its implementation.

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