Saturday, February 7, 2015

Mongolia Brief February 6, 2015 Part II

Management changes at Erdenes Mongol LLC
February 6 ( At the plenary meeting of the Government, on February 4, B.Byambasaikhan of Newcom LLC was appointed Executive Director of Erdenes Mongol LLC, a state-owned company.

Today he has officially received his duties. O.Sainbuyan handed-over the stamp of the company and wished the new Executive Director success in his future work.
B.Byambasaikhan served as Head of the Economic Council under the jurisdiction of the Prime Minister during the governance of N.Altankhuyag's Innovation Government.
Erdenes Mongol is the nation's biggest state-owned company and owns 100 percent of Erdenes Tavan Tolgoi Co., Ltd, 34 percent of Oyu Tolgoi LLC, 51 percent of Erdenet Mining, 90 percent of Shivee Ovoo Co., Ltd, and 75 percent of Baganuur Co., Ltd.

Mining Sector 2025 II discussion scheduled
February 6 ( Mining Sector 2025-II, a public discussion, will be held on February 13 at the Parliament House. The discussion will be organized by the Ministry of Mining of Mongolia. 
The discussion will be organized under the slogan “Mineral resources are our opportunity”.
The discussion will be organized in two parts: “Impact of the mineral sector on the Mongolian economy” and “Competition capability of the mining sector”.
Nearly 300 representatives from non-governmental organizations, ministries, agencies and professional associations, and representatives from the private sector will participate in the discussion. 

National producers make sales of 1 billion MNT
February 6 ( The Made in Mongolia Tsagaan Sar 2015 exhibition was organized at Misheel Expo's exhibition hall for seven days. Almost 700 enterprises participated at the exhibition last year, and this year the number of participants was increased and reached 800.
Organizers of the exhibition stressed that the sales were not bad, and reached almost 1 billion MNT. Last year, 950 million MNT in sales was achieved.
Several companies and enterprises which participated in the exhibition were awarded prizes. Special prizes were given to MTOT, Milko, Zyrvas, and citizen Munkhtuvshin. For best enterprise Erdeniin Goyol, Nom Khur, Gobi, and Erdenet Carpet were awarded prizes.
The Made in Mongolia exhibition was organized under the auspices of the Prime Minister of Mongolia for the 8th time.
Tsagaan Sar exhibitions have also been organized in six districts of Ulaanbaatar and will continue until the Tsagaan Sar holiday.

What do small stickers on apples tell us?
By G. Odgarav
February 6 ( With previous article "No American Apples ever crossed the borders" we have tried to answer the question whether the origin of the apples available in markets in Mongolia really match what the reseller claim to be.
This time we are focusing on the small stickers on apples that probably everyone wondered about. In consultation with Senior Inspector PhD. Ts Itgel of Special Inspection Authority we have unveiled what information those small stickers might be telling us.
The apple tree (Malus domestica) is a deciduous tree in the rose family best known for its sweet, pomaceous fruit, the apple. There are over 30 types of species in the family and the most cultivated is the Malus domestica Borkh. There are over 10,000 sorts of apples worldwide.
For Mongolian climate mainly Russian sorts are more considered to have big harvests for bigger apples such as Papirov, Borovinka, Antonovka and etc as for small sized apples Ranetka apples are more famous.
About 69 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2010, with China producing almost half of this total. The United States is the second-leading producer, with more than 6% of world production. The largest exporters of apples were ChinaU.S.,TurkeyPolandItalyIran, and India while the biggest importers in the same year were Russia, Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.
According to the FAOSTAT about 76.3 million tons of apples were grown worldwide in 2012 and China alone produced 37 million tons and US came up second with 4.1 million tons.
Apple is rich in vitamins B, C, and E and other minerals and has the low content of proteins and carbohydrates, therefore is considered to be good for health and the most favorite sorts used worldwide are:
·      Red Delicious
·      Golden Delicious
·      Fuji
·      Empire
·      Jonathan
·      Rhode Island Greening
·      New York Pippin
·      Idopid
·      Gravenstein
·      Rome Beauty
·      Granny Smith
·      Macintosh
·      Cortland and more.
Have you ever wondered what those small stickers say to us? What information can we get from those?
If we look close we can notice country of origin and number with 4-5 digits.
But what those numbers say to us?
According to the International Federation for Produce Standards the codes have been in use since 1990, and there are over 1400 PLU codes assigned as of 2012.
Price look-up codes, commonly called PLU codes, or produce labels, are identification numbers affixed to produce in grocery stores and supermarkets to make check-out and inventory control easier, faster, and more accurate.
Fruits and berries have their specific 4 digit PLU codes and for instance number 4011 will identify a banana.
As of apples:
If the code starts with “3 or 4” and contains four digits: it means that pesticides were used in growing the particular fruit or berry.
If the code starts with “8” and contains five digits: it means the fruit is a GMO – genetically modified organism, which is lately have been considered as having potential threat on human body.
If the code starts with “9” and contains five digits: it means that the produce is 100 percent organic. For instance 94011 code means that banana is organic.
In order to check if organic apples are sold on Mongolian market we have visited Bars market, Sky Department store and Mercury market. Our observations revealed that only apples labeled with PLU codes starting with 3 and 4 are sold in Mongolia.
There were no apples with codes starting with 8 or 9. Does it mean that there are no organic fruits and berries are sold in Mongolia? Probably many businesses would label their imported produce as organic. This is our assumption.
It is important to know what information those small stickers say to us, therefore next time doing your grocery shopping we recommend to read the labels carefully.
Consumption of pesticide and its health impact
Most of the fruits, berries and produce imported and sold in Mongolian market have labels starting with numbers 3 and 4, which means the produce was grown using pesticides.
Meaning we are consuming those pesticides as well.
What effect do pesticides have on health?
Authors U.Tserendolgor, J.Batjargal, J.Khalzankhuu, B.Davaadulam, N.Saijaa and B.Burmaa have explained in their work Consumption of Pesticide and its Health Impacts in more detail.
Even though the use and production of polychlorinated biphyls (PCBs) and organochlorine (OC) pesticides have been regulated worldwide, in agreement with the Stockholm convention in 2001, they are still posing serious environmental threat both to wildlife and humans. These lipophilic compounds, with high resistance to degradation and long half- lives in humans, have been confirmed to bioaccumulate in fatty tissues of biological specimens such as blood, breast milk, and adipose tissues through dietary intake. The analysis of these tissues reveals the rate of exposure and distribution in the environment.
Senior Inspector PhD. Ts Itgel of Special Inspection Authority specified that special coating for fruits and sometimes on vegetables is done in order to prevent water loss and therefore reduce the spoilage and improve appearance.  In other words, it can be understood as supplemental and usually wax coating is used in accordance with international standards.
However, professional agency officials did not specifically recommend to peel the apple before consumption, therefore it is more on the personal preference.
Apples require specific conditions to be adhered after its harvesting such as cooling, sorting, packing, transportation, storage and at the selling point.
Mongolia has adopted standard on apples knows under Apple General Requirements MNS CAC 299:2014.
Main bacteria or spoiling factors for apples are attributed to the infected trees and leaves, which transfer to fruits and can spoil the fruit during its transportation and storage.
In this regard, Mongolia has adopted standard on fruits storage known under Trading Warehouse General Requirements MNS 5364-2011, main provisions of which are:
·      Basic processing should be done before the apples reach the storage facilities.
·      Fruits should be stored in wooden or paper boxes in layers and fruits should not be touching each other.
·      Boxed fruits should be stored on special shelves, not touching the floor.
·      Storage should have humidity levels at 90-95% and temperatures at 0-4 C /fridge temperature/, while some specific apple sorts require temperatures to be at 0-2C.
·      Depending on the apple sorts the storage life for apples range between 120-210 days and most of the apples are good at 180-210 days.
China and USA are leading in apple production
·      Small stickers on apples can give us information whether apples are organic, GMO or used pesticides
·      In Mongolia there are no organic apples and mostly there are apples labeled with 3 or 4.
·      Pesticides have negative effect on health such as allergies, cause of cancer and etc.
·      Coating on apples are special wax used to prevent the loss of water and prolong the storage life and experts at Special Inspection Authority haven’t mentioned on peeling being obligatory.
·      Apples should be stored at temperature of 0-4C and no more than 120-210 days. 

An encounter with Sukhbat
By Allyson Seaborn
February 6 ( Last summer I was in the remote Western Mongolian town of Khovd where I attended a spectacular, traditional Mongolian song and dance concert at the theatre. Content with what I had seen and heard, I planned on a relaxing sleep back to UB in the airplane. Khovd is a town, but also one of Mongolia’s 21 Provinces and is about 1500 kilometers west of UB – about a three hour flight. So I find myself in Khovd on the way back to UB, sitting on the tarmac in an airplane waiting for takeoff. I’m tired, bored, hungry and cranky. It was the end of a long trip for the kids who joined me on my adventure.
I love Mongolian wrestling and have known about the best wrestlers, who is who, where they are from etc. They wear the “shirtless sleeves” - the colours and traditions surrounding Mongolian wrestling have always fascinated me. ANYWAY I’m waiting, waiting, the kids are screaming and complaining “Hey Mom when are we taking off?” and “Can I order a coke?” “NO” I holler. "Stop fighting this instant or I’ll leave you in Khovd and Coke is bad for your teeth!” 
Well anyway, the reason we're delayed is because the pilots are still waiting for someone important. Very important. I feel myself getting agitated, but at least there is a spare seat next to me so I don’t have to be cramped. “C’mon hurry up…” I find myself cursing under my breath at this last minute passenger. 
Eventually, in walks none other than Sukhbat - the most famous Mongolian wrestler whom I of course, know all about. People gasp with delight and get out their cameras – me included. Mothers come up to him with babies, “Hold my baby!, ” grown men standing proud next to him, the flight attendants. Basically everyone on the plane wants a photo with this big, handsome wrestler who wants nothing more than to sit back and relax. But he politely obliges.
He had been on a fishing trip in Khovd it turns out. I find myself not in need of a nap anymore. I find myself rather overjoyed at the late arrival of this important passenger. AND OH MY GOD I HAVE A SPARE SEAT NEXT TO ME!! YAY!!
He smiles at me – I smile at him and say something embarrassing and stupid like “Hi I’m your biggest fan!!” I am a little sweaty and giggling like a teenager. He sits next to me and I shyly take my camera out and say “Would you mind if I had a photo with you?” Thank you God, this is the best flight ever! He cracks a HUGE smile and grins for the camera. Click. I then proceed to try and impress him with my limited Mongolian…forgetting all about my screaming kids and the nap. We take off and the kids start fighting. I glance over at them with a deadly stare like “Shhhh…don’t interrupt mummy right now for crying out loud!” and “Have another coke – have 10 of them!” 
“I have no idea who those children are” I joke with Sukhbat. So here is my photo with the most famous Mongolian wrestler. It was a great trip to Khovd but more importantly the flight back was awesome.
Link to article

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