Wrapping up this series on Mongolian industries, we have agriculture! Mongolia did not practice agriculture historically due in large part to their nomadic pastoralism so agriculture is a more recent endeavor. In addition, the climate and geography of the country do not easily lend themselves to agricultural pursuits. Agriculture today relies on technological advancements and perseverence.
Mongolians did not commit themselves to farming until they had joined the USSR in the early part of the 20th century. By WWII, Mongolia had a number of established state farms and continued to add more state farms over the next couple of decades. In the transition from socialism to a free market society in 1990, the state farms transitioned to being operated by agricultural companies and private farmers. Today, about 1% of Mongolia’s land is used in farming.
Due to the long, harsh winters, there is only one growing season for most crops. (Exceptions would be for what can be grown in greenhouses.) Most of the crops raised are cereals like wheat, barley, and oats. Vegetables that do well in this climate are potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic, and cabbage. Fruits that are grown locally include apples, seabuckthorn, and melons. What Mongolia cannot produce locally, it imports from Europe, other parts of Asia, and parts of the Middle East. However, what is grown locally is quite cheap by American standards while still being a good quality.