Monday, May 12, 2014

Mongolia Brief May 9, 2014 Part III



MIAT welcomes new plane
May 11 (UB Post) MIAT Mongolian Airlines welcomed a fresh-out of the factory Boeing 737-800 on Saturday at Chinggis Khaan International Airport.
The plane was named after Guyug Khaan, third ruler of the Mongol Empire and grandson of Chinggis Khaan.
“Mongolia plans to become a leading air transportation service provider in the region in the future. To reach this goal, the new plain will serve a critical role,” said a MIAT spokesperson upon welcoming the new plane.
The plane is the second of three that Mongolia is to receive from Boeing. In 2011, President of Mongolia Ts.Elbegdorj made a contract to purchase three planes from Boeing, during his visit to the USA. Mongolia’s first very own Boeing 767-300ER was delivered last year in May. MIAT previously leased all four of its planes from other airlines. According to the Director of MIAT, G.Jargalsaikhan, the new plane is being leased from Air Lease Corporation for a duration of 15 years, after which, it will become the property of MIAT.
The plane has capacity for 162 passengers, can fly up to 10 hours nonstop and is the fifth plane in MIAT’s fleet.
Deputy Minister of Transportation Kh.Erjan commented, “In relation to the state’s policy on air travel, MIAT was given national airline status, which means the state will support the company until 2020. By this time, we expect the fruits of this support to mature and not only the company, but our nation will be able to compete in the world through this sector. The new plane will not only add new routes but also ensure the comfort and safety of passengers and help reach our eventual goal.”
Currently, MIAT offers direct flights to Moscow, Beijing, Tokyo, Seoul, Berlin, Erlian and Hong Kong, and charters flights to Osaka, Jeju, Pyongyang, Singapore, Bangkok, Hanoi and Dubai. A direct flight to Frankfurt will launch from June 19 and a flight to Singapore will launch in October, according to G.Jargalsaikhan.


State consultation promotes contributions of young herders
May 11 (UB Post) The first ever state consultation of young herders was held on Friday at the Government Palace, bringing together 360 young herders (between the ages of 15 and 34) from 330 soums across all 21 provinces as representatives of over 110,000 young herders nationwide.
The Mongol Herder information agency held the event under the auspices of the Prime Minister of Mongolia. Prime Minister N.Altankhuyag officiated at the consultation and shared his support stating, “Mongolia’s 45 million livestock are healthily breeding thanks to the young herders.”
Herders who registered 2,000 to 3,800 livestock at the end of last year were specifically invited to the consultation. A total of 68 female herders were invited as well.
The consultation aimed to find solutions for the pressing problems of young herders, promote their work, motivate them, and raise public awareness of how they are contributing to the Mongolian economy.
During the consultation, several separate discussions took place on the issues of increasing income, education and health, labor relations and social security for herders. Requests generated during the discussions will be submitted to the Prime Minister for approval.
Organizers of the consultation met representatives of the herders beforehand and received their suggestions for the consultation’s agenda and future plans to keep the consultation effective as possible.
The consultation will be held once every two years, reported the Prime Minister.
The young herders also visited dairy, cashmere and leather factories, as well as an agricultural exchange.


D.Dulamsuren: Women make decisions for others’ happiness instead of theirs
May 11 (UB Post) Altan Duulga LLC grows wheat and flour and produces forage in Tarialan soum of Khuvsgul Province. It also has over 700 livestock. Women rarely run agricultural companies. However, this considerably large company in the country is run by Ms. D.Dulamsuren. Her skills are recognized by the people of the respective sector. The following is an interview highlighting important aspects of Altan Duulga’s operation and D.Dulamsuren’s work as the director.
How did you first enter the agricultural sector?
I am a Russian language and literature teacher. My brother introduced me to the agriculture business. Just a year after my family moved to the city, my brother said crop plantation was to be privatized so we should return to Khuvsgul Province and grow crops. After discussing, we took ownership of our plantation.
In April 1998, we came and settled in Tarialan soum of Khuvsgul Province. We only knew the basics of animal husbandry but nothing about plantation. When I first started working as a bookkeeper, I knew nothing and was often criticized. I learned everything including plantation, flour mill technology and its process from scratch and started working as the director in 2005.
The primary focus of our company is plantation. Apart from producing flour and forage and wheat, we also engage in livestock husbandry. We have a working field of 6,175 hectares. In a year, we plant and harvest crops in around 3,000 hectares of land and use it to supply our flour mill. The flour mill has a capability to mill around 100 tons of wheat and the forage factory can produce 10 tons of forage and 15 tons of mixed fodder in a day. This year, we’ll grow oat and colza in around 50 hectares of the 2,672 hectare field and grow wheat in the rest.
When I first got this work, crops were planted in a 250 hectare field. Furthermore, instead of wheat, it was covered in weed.  In the following year, we cultivated fallow in 1,200 hectares. The crop grew well but just before harvesting, hail hit the field and the next year, there was a drought. Just when I wanted to bring up this farm which was working with a deficit and under a debt, this happened so I was frustrated. My parents encouraged me by saying, “Such things happen in agriculture and someday, you’ll achieve what you want. There will be much more difficulties in the future. You don’t need to be discouraged just because the long awaited harvest was hit by hail. You can’t do anything about the environment and climate related problems. However, problems caused by one’s own fault such as coming across something you don’t know or are incapable of doing are much bigger troubles.”
They say that the government is indulging farmers a lot. Do you agree?
Rather than a lot, the government is giving little indulgence to farmers. From the sides, it looks as if crops are growing extremely well and giving a lot of profit. However, we’re working in conditions where harvest is unable to recover costs. We’re only able to work efficiently because we don’t only harvest crops but also produce flour and do livestock husbandry. With just crops, it’s not easy to make profit.
You have English stallions and French cows. For what purpose did you buy them?
Livestock husbandry is imprinted in Mongolians’ hearts, therefore we didn’t want to leave out livestock husbandry. We combined and raised our own livestock and the ones we received when we purchased the collective farm and got around 2,000 livestock. Raising livestock isn’t the main purpose so we sold around 1,000. Currently, if we combine cows and horses, we have around 700 livestock. My father is famous horse trainer G.Dorjpurev and a big fan of horses. In the last eight to nine years, our family has aspired to raise our own native horse breed. Our horses have raced very well in state and provincial events. In a year, they came in first place five times and won six ayrag (fermented horse milk) festivals in provinces. We bought French cows and English stallions three years ago. Although they need special care, we are adapting them to Mongolian environment. My father and brother first bought them to improve horse genetics, and breeds faster horses by mixing breeds.
When did you begin producing flour?
Ever since we built a small flour mill in 2000, we started producing flour. In 2011, we started commissioning a dry comprehensive mechanized warehouse of the mill for storing 4,000 tons of wheat. Through domestic investments, our own financial resources and loans from banks, we purchased flour mill equipment for one trillion MNT and built a crop warehouse for two billion MNT.
The flour mill seems to be not working at full capacity. Is there a large enough market to produce at full capacity here?
Our mill only uses 30 percent of its full capacity. From last year’s marketing research, it showed that we were able to supply 40 percent of Khuvsgul Province’s market. There is demand even if the mill works at its full capacity. Most importantly, wheat supply is insufficient. Our motto is to produce organic products. When producing flour, we don’t use any mixtures or other artificial means.
Do you purchase wheat from farmers to supply the flour mill?
We are an enterprise. Other than giving grains, we give them technical support, crop and harvest their wheat. By doing so, they also combine their wheat with ours. We have the opportunity to purchase wheat of those engaged in agriculture and supply raw material to our flour mill. However, we get cash stringency when we harvest in autumn. We aren’t capable of purchasing enough wheat from crop farmers. Consequently, we aren’t able to fully supply raw materials. There is no other reason for us not working at full capacity, crop farmers are willing to sell their crop.
Do you have plans to manufacture flour-based products in the future?
Of course, but in rural areas, there is a difficulty of being farther from the market. In Khuvsgul Province, there are plenty of food and fine pastry manufacturers. It’s difficult for us to compete with them. I think it’s best to help them in making high quality products by providing high quality flour. Manufacturing noodles, bread and fine pastry is overall a good idea. At the moment, we are producing necessities for our workers. It’ll be good to enter big markets in Ulaanbaatar, Darkhan-Uul and Orkhon Provinces. It’s not actualized due to high transportation fees. We have many plans and ambition. The biggest difficulty is personnel issues. If we try to expand, there will be an inadequacy in personnel. Our education sector is in bad shape so we cannot educate people. Capable personnel who’ve studied abroad choose to work in large companies, instead of working in rural areas. It’s hard to find people willing to work in rural areas.
Is it difficult for a woman to run a business? Do you think that you are treated differently than other people in similar positions because you are a woman?
It isn’t difficult. If you commit yourself to your work, nothing is difficult. People engaged in agriculture support female directors. Sometimes, I do think that women may be too soft-hearted and gentle. Due to this personality, we tend to get deceived and make decisions more profitable for the other party.
How does your flour differ from others?
Before when people said certain flour tasted delicious, I question about what exactly was so special about it because they’re all flour and produced by the same method so it should be exactly the same. But now, I can instantly recognize flour produced by our mill. Nutrients of Tarialan soum are absorbed in our flour.
Can you describe the taste?
There’s this distinct taste of ginseng and a similar taste of roots. Our locals are well familiar with the taste.
When you see a well grown crop field, what do think of?
A lot of things come to my mind. The best thing about seeing a well grown field is that I become more relaxed and cleanse my mind especially when I’m depressed. I think to myself how wonderfully and fertile our land and earth is. If it fitted in my arms, I would hug it.
What motivates you to continue working and expanding?
The main goal of our company is to become a leading business in the country. We’re getting closer to it step by step. I want to make our crop production reach the same level as major companies in Canada. Since I went there myself, I can only imagine theirs. In a year, I want to plant crops in a 6,000 hectare field and become a modern business.


Old Grey Goose to perform in Mongolia
May 11 (UB Post) The U.S. Embassy in Ulaanbaatar and Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the U.S. Department of State announced that they will introduce an arts envoy to Mongolia, Old Grey Goose International.
Old Grey Goose is a musical band that will perform in Mongolia from May 13 to 22 to introduce Mongolia to a truly American musical genre old-time country music, a precursor to bluegrass. The band also teaches old-time country dancing and features the fiddle tunes that accompany the dances.
Bluegrass, which shares roots with American country music, is engaging, has a sense of timelessness, and urges people to clap to the rhythm, get up and dance, and sing along. During their visit, Old Grey Goose will be performing and sharing their musical knowledge with budding Mongolian musicians, dancers, and artists.
Old Grey Goose will hold two free public concerts featuring budding Mongolian performers. The first will be on May 18 in cooperation with Mongolian Selenge Dolgio National Song & Dance Ensemble in Selenge Province and the second will be on May 21 at the State Philharmonic in Ulaanbaatar. The concerts will be a culturally enriching experience and a rare opportunity to see this American music performed live in Mongolia.
The musicians are international artists who have had extremely successful performances with traditional artists in Central Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Europe, and Africa.
Old Grey Goose is experienced in composing and arranging collaborative musical scores designed uniquely for each host country and presenting educational workshops. They will be active in cultural exchange activities throughout their visit.


e-Mongolia
May 11 (UB Post) A historic opportunity to achieve great development can be seized if countries like Mongolia, which have a small population but large territory, can truly utilize the cyberspace we have today. On the other hand, if Mongolians do not start taking advantage of modern communications technology, it will become harder for us to develop and catch up with other countries. We have no choice but to enter cyberspace, adapt our lives and work accordingly, and increase individual competitiveness.
Today, nations are creating e-societies, which allow people to vote in elections without leaving their home, access all kinds of reports, applications and information, and sign agreements and contracts through their cell phone. Furthermore, people are registering their newly established companies in a matter of minutes, checking financial and legal information on their phone, and selling their products and services on the internet in a secure way. Government organizations have started linking their databases together and providing online services to citizens. It is making bureaucracy fade away into the past.
Those countries that have successfully created an e-society established a decentralized, open information and communications infrastructure, with various interconnected databases available. As new industries and products are created over time, such communications infrastructure expands itself and becomes able to meet emerging needs and demands.
Estonia, a country building one of the world’s most efficient e-societies, has successfully created an e-environment where the transparency and openness of public governance have been ensured, and the exchange of information between citizens, businesses and government is allowed in a highly secure cyberspace. Estonia’s e-society allows its citizens to receive social services faster than ever and enjoy improved healthcare. It has significantly increased the average life expectancy of the nation. Their education sector has also seen positive changes and is acquiring more competitiveness internationally.
Estonia has developed their technology universities into knowledge transfer centers with Ericsson and Samsung laboratories, and Mitsubishi electric car research facilities. As a result of such new projects and programs, Estonia is attracting the most skilled engineers and technology gurus in Northern Europe. Having an improved business environment and a knowledge economy, Estonia has been leading Europe in its socio-economic development for the last ten years.
Mongolians are nomads who naturally possess a sense of curiosity, which makes us always try to find out the reason why something is happening. We are also quick learners when it comes to foreign languages. Also, Mongolians can adapt to a new environment easily. If we compare the total number of Mongolians who are residing abroad to our local population, the percentage will be relatively higher than that of other countries. However, these factors are simply not sufficient to take full advantage of the cyberspace we find ourselves in today. What we need today is a good business environment that encourages innovation and new initiatives, and an information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure supported by transparent government policy.
In the 2014 Global Information Technology Report released by the World Economic Forum, Mongolia was ranked 61st out of 144 countries, which was two places lower than the year before. The criteria of the ranking included dozens of factors such as internet access, download speed, adult education, use of mobile phones, and the number of investors in the information and communications industry. In the 2014 Global Information Technology Report, Finland, Singapore, and Sweden were ranked in the top three, and Hong Kong and South Korea were other Asian countries in the top ten. These countries were superior to others in many aspects including having a good business environment, advanced ICT infrastructure, and a more tech-savvy population. For example, Finland has one of the best education systems in the world, has become the hub of international e-initiatives, acquired the most number of ICT patents in proportion to its total population, and 90 percent of its households are connected to the internet (the figures are 85 percent in England, 70 percent in the United States, and 14 percent in Mongolia).
Mongolia was ranked 95th in importance of ICTs to government vision, 45th for its government online services index, and 103rd in its government’s success in ICT promotion.
The transformation into an e-society allows economic growth and the creation of new jobs. Digitization is a term that describes the act of connecting smart databases based on ICT and converting data into digital formats. Booz and Company, which ranks countries on a scale from one to 100 using a digitization index, discovered that an increase of 10 percent in a country’s digitization score creates a 0.75 percent growth in its GDP per capita, and reduces the unemployment rate by 1.02 percent. In this digitization index, Mongolia scored 35-50 out of 100, the range of points shared by transition economies. Establishment of an e-society (developing and implementing an e-Mongolia project) will be essential to reducing economic dependence on the mining industry, carrying out economic diversification, and building a knowledge economy.
About 27 percent of our total population is under 14 years old and 20 percent are 15-24 years old, which means that almost half of our population is young people under 25 years old who are learning and developing. One could say that most of our younger generation never knew how life was without the digital world, mobile phones, and the internet. If all Mongolians become bilingual by learning English, and are presented with a good opportunity to learn other languages along with advanced development of ICT, our country can achieve rapid development in a short amount of time.
In order to achieve that goal, our ICT infrastructure must be highly secure so that the confidentiality of personal, business, and government information is well protected. However, it does not mean that there should be restrictions on internet use due to security reasons. Every person must have the right to access the internet. Protection of personal information and internet freedom has become one of the biggest challenges that needs to be tackled by democratic countries to achieve development today. It was recently discussed by about 400 delegates from 64 countries at the Fourth Conference of the Freedom Online Coalition that took place in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia.
Mongolia was elected to chair the Freedom Online Coalition’s next conference to be held in Ulaanbaatar next year. It is a clear indicator that Mongolia is a democratic country that protects internet freedom. It should be noted that, thanks to this coalition and conference, Mongolians now have a great opportunity to learn from and cooperate with the other member countries, and supporting companies such as Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft to create an e-society. Ban Ki-moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and John Kerry, the United States Secretary of State gave speeches at the Tallinn Conference along with the President of Estonia, President of Georgia, Speaker of the National Assembly of Kenya, and foreign ministers of other member countries. The Tallinn recommendations for Freedom Online were approved at the conference and measures to be taken under the goal of “delivering free and secure internet to everyone” were agreed upon.
It is time for our government, civil society, private sector, and people to understand that creating an e-Mongolia is one of our foremost objectives, as well as our responsibility, for future generations. Therefore, we need to carefully develop and successfully implement an e-Mongolia project.
Translated by B.AMAR


M.Urantsetseg wins gold at Judo Grand Slam in Baku
May 11 (UB Post) Azerbaijan’s capital Baku hosted the 2014 Judo Grand Slam from Friday to Sunday.
Mongolian female judoka M.Urantsetseg won a gold medal in the women’s 48 kg weight category on the first day. Her opponent in the finals was Amelie Rosseneu of Israel.
M.Urantsetseg is the current world judo champion in her weight category and State Honored Athlete of Mongolia. She secured the gold medal without a single defeat.
Other Mongolian judokas did not do as well as M.Urantsetseg. A.Tsolmon, G.Kherlen, Kh.Tsagaanbaatar, B.Khishigbayar, S.Nyam-Ochir and N.Tuvshinbayar were not able to win any medals from this year’s event.
A total of 90 female and 157 male judokas from 41 countries competed in the Baku Grand Slam. Seven Mongolian judokas partook in the Grand Slam this year.

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