ULAN BATOR, Feb.8 (Xinhua) -- The Mongolian government on Tuesday approved a program to boost the cashmere industry and diversify a mining-dependent economy, Mongolian media said.
Mongolia's national news agency Montsame reported that the four-year program to be implemented in two stages will help create over 3,600 employment opportunities and maintain the 5,500 jobs at present in the cashmere sector.
In addition, the program, funded by state and local budgets as well as foreign loans and aid, is expected to increase Mongolia's production and final cashmere products nearly sixfold.
Mongolia is the world's second-largest producer of raw and washed cashmere with its goat population amounting to more than 27 million and an annual cashmere capacity of 9,400 tons.
However, about 90 percent of the cashmere is exported while the remaining 10 percent is made into final products.
It is estimated that Mongolia can export 19.8 million pieces of knitted and textile products annually worth upwards of 4.3 trillion Mongolian Tugriks, or roughly 1.78 billion U.S. dollars, if cashmere is fully processed at home.