Where did the quinoa go?

As we reach the end of the International Year of Quinoa, it’s declared a success. I can’t say that I noticed much happening about the tasty, wholesome neglected crop called quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa) this year but perhaps I didn’t look hard enough.

Quinoa is a pseudocereal. Here’s opinion published in Janurary 2013 about ‘quinoa wars’. Perhaps smallholders, who grow quinoa in the Andean mountains, were denied food sovereignty. That’s a fancy way for me, in the rich world, to suggest that people in the poor world may have been exploited for quinoa. Is that what happened?

Perhaps not. The United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), home of the International Year of Quinoa, says that this was just the beginning of quinoa’s rise in the fight against hunger. FAO told us about a symbolic quinoa harvest in October 2013. Peru’s First Lady and Special Ambassador for the International Year of Quinoa, Nadine Heredia, and Bolivian Minister of Rural Development and Lands, Nemecia Achacollo, spoke of what’s been achieved. And they spoke of their hopes for the future.

Ms Heredia said that she will continue to promote ‘this tiny multicolor grain during the International Year of Family Farming in 2014.’ Ms Achacollo agreed. ‘For us, this International Year doesn’t end here. It starts here. It’s essential to continue this work during the International Year of Family Farming… Bolivians are the keepers of a healthy and durable product, maintained for thousands of years, and we would like to share it with the world.’

FAO’s Director-General, José Graziano da Silva, called quinoa ‘our new ally against hunger.’ When I see news of the International Year of Family Farming I’ll tell you about it. [Edit] I found out: see pingback below.


About argylesock

I wrote a PhD about veterinary parasitology so that's the starting point for this blog. But I'm now branching out into other areas of biology and into popular science writing. I'll write here about science that happens in landscapes, particularly farmland, and about science involving interspecific interactions. Datasets and statistics get my attention. Exactly where this blog will lead? That's a journey that I'm on and I hope you'll come with me.
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4 Responses to Where did the quinoa go?

  1. EqFe says:

    I think the key words here are “small holders” Farmers growing food for their family are not going to sell food that their families need, unless they can get reasonable substitutes cheaper. My suspiction of this topic has long been that they sonld some quinoa and spent the money on oat meal which is cheaper in that part of the world, and also quite popular. It’s a fact free opinion of course.

    • argylesock says:

      Snork! for your ‘fact free opinion’. Seriously, I want to find out what was done to develop quinoa from a subsistence crop, with occasional value as a cash crop, towards being a commercial crop.

  2. Pingback: Where the quinoa went | Science on the Land

  3. Pingback: Family farming | Science on the Land

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