Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry of Mongolia

It is my great pleasure to greet all milk producers in Asia.

Dairy Asia’s multi-sectoral platform was initiated by Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations in 2014. Currently 13 countries in Asia, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Indonesia, China, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Philippines, Sri-Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam have joined this platform.

In order to sustain and expand activities of Dairy Asia platform, to increase number of member countries, to support development of production and consumption of milk and dairy products, the Mongolian Government cabinet has approved the order #11, an official document to establish a Dairy Asia Secretariat office in Ulaanbaatar.

The Dairy Asia Secretariat office was launched in Ulaanbaatar on 10th June this year. On this occasion, I would like to express our gratitude for active support and cooperation by the Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations, Global Agenda for Sustainable livestock, Animal Production and Health Commission for Asia and the Pacific and other international organizations.

The people of Mongolia have unique tradition and culture of utilizing and preserving milk from 5 main species of livestock. The honourable guest is welcomed with “Khadag” and milk in silver bowl and blessed with milk for farewell and a successful further journey. 

Milk is defined as ‘Strategic Food’ by Mongolian Food Law. Therefore, I would specify importance of milk production and consumption for the country with nomadic culture and dominated pastoral husbandry system.

Mongolians have a proverb “even little help strengthens the cord”. Thus the establishment of Dairy Asia Secretariat Office in Ulaanbaatar provides an opportunity for Asian countries on mutual exchange of knowledge and best practices. Mongolia is ready to learn from other countries and share own experiences and knowledge.

The Asian region is home for more than 60% of world population and produces close to 40 percent of the global milk production. There are 48 countries in Asian Continent, and we are calling other counties who haven’t done yet joined Dairy Asia. Based on multilateral foreign policy and active collaboration in agriculture sector, Mongolia will work on increasing membership of Dairy Asia platform with countries in Central, North-East and Western Asian countries as well as to expand and organize Secretariat Office’s activities.

The Mongolian Government will actively work with Dairy Asia Secretariat in supporting sustainable intensification of dairy farming, as well as work towards development of non-cow milk production, including camel, yak, mare, ewe, goat, introducing appropriate combination of modern farming system with traditional pastoral husbandry system, sustainable raw milk procurement and value-added production in the region.

The sustainable dairy production in Asia will play important role in rural poverty alleviation, livelihood support, improving nutrition and quality of food, providing food security, and protecting the environment.

Hope all Asian countries will join hands and collaborate actively towards sustainable development of dairy sector in the region.

Wish blossom up for each good thing!

Vinod Ahuja,

FAO Representative in Mongolia

Milk production has been among the most celebrated success stories in Asia. This success story has been written by millions of small farmers scattered across the region. The region now produces close to 40 percent of the global milk production compared to less than 20 percent just three decades ago.

But dairy is more than just about producing and selling milk. Dairy is about supporting poor peoples’ livelihoods. Dairy is about nutrition and cognitive development of children. Dairy is about empowerment of women and Dairy is about unleashing the potential for rural economic growth.

The projected growing consumer demand for milk and dairy development in the region provide an excellent opportunity to boost the local dairy sector to strengthen food security, alleviate poverty alleviation and contribute to overall social equity.

While the sector faces challenges it is also rich in social and technical innovations. Sharing experiences and lessons around these innovations can be a powerful source of change in support of sustainability agenda. This requires joining hands. And that is what defines the spirit of Dairy Asia.

Linkages established since the launch of Dairy Asia are already spurring partnerships and collaborations.


 During its last meeting in 2018 in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, it became evident that Dairy Asia is prepared to enter the next stage, which will require more regional ownership and an independent secretariat along with increased financial resources and stronger private sector engagement. To that end, Mongolia has submitted the proposal, which is supported by the Dairy Asia steering committee, the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry of Mongolia (MoFALI) as well as the FAO and Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock (GASL). On 8 January 2020 the Mongolian cabinet has approved the order #11 that lays the ground for establishing a Secretariat office for “Dairy Asia” in Ulaanbaatar.

And we need many more. We must work together to bring changes to the lives of people who struggle day in and day out to make their ends meet; and I urge all the members of Dairy Asia to give their hundred percent for putting the Asian Dairy sector on a the path of economic, social and ecological sustainability.