According to the World Bank around 20 per cent of Mongolia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is derived from livestock herding and about 40 per cent of the workforce is directly dependent on the sector. A more recent report suggests that the agricultural sector employs about 34 per cent of the workforce. These statistics imply that value adding in the sector is low as is labour productivity. The World Bank classifies herders into several categories:
- Wealthy households with in excess of 500 livestock with good access to pastures and water. Herding provides full time employment for household members. This category represents around six per cent of households.
- Full time herders with expanding herds of between 200 and 500 animals. This category represents about 25 per cent of herder households.
- Full time herders with less than 200 animals (and often less than 100 livestock) constitute the remainder. These households are poor subsistence herders who are vulnerable to natural disasters.