From: Cristina Pabón, SciDevNet, More from this Affiliate
Published March 13, 2013 06:08 AM

Quinoa Farming in Bolivia has significant impacts

Bolivian scientists have warned that growing international demand for quinoa is endangering local farming practices and the environment, as well as denying access to local consumers.


Their caution follows the UN's kick off last month (20 February) of a year-long series of cultural, artistic and academic activities — along with scientific research — to celebrate 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa.

Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa), a grain-like crop cultivated in the Andes for 7,000 years, has remarkable nutritional value and adapts well to a variety of growing environments.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said in a press release that quinoa offers an alternative food source for countries suffering from food insecurity as populations rise and the climate changes.

"In Kenya and Mali, the crop is already showing high yields," it states, adding that it holds promise for cultivation "in the Himalayas, the plains of northern India, the Sahel, Yemen and other arid regions of the world".

In recent decades, the increase of exports from Andean countries to countries such as Canada, France and the United States has made quinoa an important source of income for producers in the Southern Altiplano region of Bolivia.

Quinoa salad image via Shutterstock.

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