For Mongolia, it is important to distinguish between building learning capabilities and having projects of competence building. Currently, Mongolia has conducted many capability-building projects, but these need to lead to a long-lasting and continuous learning system, rather than providing one-off benefits. In this regard, we make the following recommendations: “policy co-ordination,” “entrepreneurial learning” and “public awareness of food security.” Such recommendations for learning capabilities are not isolated, but overlap and are interdependent on one another in terms of their impact on Mongolian food security. These three learning dimensions can also be interpreted or analysed at the national, regional, community, firm and individual levels in various contexts.
Policy co-ordinations refer to how governments organise various roles, rules and norms of food security. Mongolia has conducted various research projects independently or with international collaboration. For example, the government recently had discussions for research on livestock with other countries, such as Germany. The United Nations (UN) and its agencies have directly conducted some studies on Mongolian food security. Now, however, Mongolia faces the unsolved question as to why these efforts and projects by Mongolia or international entities have only rarely led to the next stage for enhancing food security in the country. Indeed, the issue of food security is a problem not only in Mongolia, but also for many other countries. The lack of policy coordination can be summarised as having two effects on the food security system. First, it reduces the scale-up of the outcomes of pilot studies of food and agriculture. Second, it duplicates efforts as it rarely coordinates the many studies and projects on food security with many international aid projects.
In terms of policy co-ordination we need to focus on Mongolian policy at four levels: (1) to support the creation of a food economy and industry; (2) to co-ordinate foreign research and pilot projects for food security; (3) to raise the regulations and standards for food industry and food production; and (4) to support science and technology in food science and food production including educating the next generation of scientists.
Entrepreneurial learning refers to how industry, including government- owned companies and private companies, can take the initiative for the food and agriculture industry. No policy on food security can succeed without the industry’s voluntary participation. In order to attract industry into the food and agriculture industries, it is important to show business potential. Furthermore, it is critical to teach and show tangible business opportunities to business people and existing farmers and herders. By doing so, Mongolia can create a business momentum in the food and agriculture industry. These learning capabilities for food business opportunities can be obtained through collaboration with MNEs in the food industry. In an initial stage, Mongolian local firms can learn the food industry business by collaborating as one of the supply chains of MNEs (mainly as one of the food distributors). It takes a long time to build business ties based on trust with international collaborators.
Public awareness of food security for herders and farmers is high and suggests that notions of food security can penetrate successfully into the Mongolian public. This is important in three ways. First, without public support, government policy and practices often fail. Second, food security eventually depends on national food production capabilities and natural consumption trends, where public recognition is significant. Third, to enhance other aspects of food security, such as R&D and business opportunities, good skilled workers and high-quality business people are needed and will have to be trained and developed. The public will not be attracted if there are no opportunities. Therefore, it is important to show business opportunities in the food and agriculture industry to the public. Furthermore, local people who recognise the importance of food security will become voluntary monitoring powers to protect Mongolian food and agriculture markets. Additionally, it is anticipated that this raised public recognition will lead to the formation of NGOs for food security.