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FAO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean

Quinoa: An ancient crop to contribute to world food security

The technical report "Quinoa, an ancient crop to contribute to world food security" produced by PROINPA is an updated and detailed compilation of the nutritional benefits and agricultural versatility of quinoa; the expansion of the crop to other continents and showing that it is a crop with high potential to contribute to food security in various Regions worldwide, especially in those countries where the population does not have access to protein sources or where production conditions are limited by low humidity, reduced availability of inputs, and aridity.

This report was submitted by the Multinational State of Bolivia to the 37th FAO Conference in support of the declaration of the "International Year of quinoa", which was approved, declaring 2013 the International Year of quinoa.

Quinoa is the only plant food that contains all the essential amino acids, trace elements and vitamins and contains no gluten. Essential amino acids are found in the nucleus of the grain, unlike other cereals, like rice or wheat, in which they are located in their exosperm or hull.

Furthermore, the crop has a remarkable adaptability to different agro-ecological regions. It can grow at relative humidity from 40% to 88%, and withstands temperatures from -4 ° C to 38 ° C. It is a highly water efficient plant, is tolerant and resistant to lack of soil moisture, and produces acceptable yields with rainfall of 100 to 200 mm.

There are more than three thousand varieties or ecotypes of quinoa both cultivated and wild which can be grouped in five basic categories according to the altitudinal gradient: ecotypes from sea level, the valleys, the Yungas, the Salt flats and the Altiplano (high plain).

While the main producers are Bolivia, Peru and the United States, quinoa production is expanding to other continents and it is currently being cultivated in several countries in Europe and Asia with good yields. This report contributes to improving knowledge and dissemination of this ancient crop, which has a significant strategic value for the food and nutritional security of humanity.

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