Quinoa: A Future Sown Thousands of Years Ago
By The Editors
The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has officially declared the year 2013 “The International Year of the Quinoa” to serve as a catalyst for increased production and consumption of quinoa.
The Andean indigenous peoples have maintained, controlled, protected and preserved quinoa as food for present and future generations through ancestral practices of living in harmony with nature.
Like the potato, quinoa was one of the main foods of the Andean peoples before the Incas. Traditionally, quinoa grain are roasted and then made to flour, with which different types of breads are baked. It can also be cooked, added to soups, used as a cereal, made into pasta and even fermented to beer or chicha, the traditional drink of the Andes. When cooked, it takes on a nut-like flavor.
Quinoa can be found natively in all countries of the Andean region, from Colombia to the north of Argentina and the south of Chile. The main producing countries are Bolivia, Peru and the United States. The cultivation of quinoa has transcended continental boundaries: it is being cultivated in France, England, Sweden, Denmark, Holland and Italy. In the United States it is being grown in Colorado and Nevada, and in Canada in the fields of Ontario. In Kenya it has shown high yields. The crop can also develop successfully in the Himalayas and the plains of northern India.
Quinoa can play a significant role in the eradication of hunger due to its nutritional qualities and agronomical versatility.
The International Year of the Quinoa constitutes the first step in an ongoing process to focus world attention on the nutritional value of quinoa and the role that quinoa plays in providing food security.