The New USAID Grant To Support Greenhouse Development: Ambassador’s Remarks

The New USAID Grant To Support Greenhouse Development: Ambassador’s Remarks

Thursday, August 31, 2023

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Good morning, and thank you Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry Bolorchuluun for hosting the official launch of a both timely and exciting new project to support greater food security for Mongolia, a priority for both our nations. Thank you also to the many other interested stakeholders who have joined us today, from other Mongolian government ministries, the bilateral and multilateral donor community, U.N. agencies, industry representatives and others.

With good reason, food security has been a key concern for the government for quite some time. The challenges of a harsh climate, limited arable land, and a short growing season are difficult to overcome. In addition, Mongolia’s land-locked location means that it is overly dependent on China and Russia for a large portion of its food consumption. Recent supply chain disruptions, whether caused from Russia’s war in Ukraine or Chinese border closures during the pandemic, highlight this vulnerability.

The United States Agency for International Development, or USAID, is funding this project, which was developed following extensive consultations with the Mongolian government, the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, and other interested parties. My colleagues have worked hard to craft a project that will best meet Mongolia’s needs and build upon the work of other donors in this area.

This project will increase Mongolia’s domestic vegetable production by developing an enhanced network of greenhouses and related industries, such as storage and transportation.  We all know that efficiently growing and transporting vegetables to market in this environment presents a unique set of challenges. However, with the right practices and technologies, coupled with policies to encourage more investment in agriculture, year-round production and distribution can become a reality. This support from USAID will bring more locally grown produce into Mongolian homes, regardless of harsh winters or supply chain disruptions caused by neighboring countries.

At the same time, this project will address another of our shared goals – economic diversification. While this has been a focus area for USAID for many years, this project illustrates our commitment economic diversity, which Prime Minister Oyun-Erdene highlighted as a priority for future cooperation during his recent visit to Washington.  There are also some excellent opportunities to collaborate with USAID’s small business development program, known as BEST, which has already been assisting entrepreneurs in this sector with access to financing.

As I’ve said many times before, the United States and Mongolia enjoy a strong, long-standing partnership built on common interests and shared values. Our strategic third-neighbor partnership is more than just words on paper, it is about delivering real results. I believe this project is another example of that, and I am confident that it will deliver real results for the Mongolian people for years to come.

So with that, I want to again thank Minister Bolorchuluun, FAO Country Director Vinod Ahuja and my USAID colleagues for developing this project, and I look forward to its successful implementation.